News Roundup – Blockchain Innovations and Developments

News Roundup

Following are some of the latest innovations and novel developments being reported in the world of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies:

IBM and Columbia University create new accelerator programmes for blockchain startups

IBM and New York’s Columbia University have joined up to create two new accelerator programmes to help boost the next generation of blockchain innovation. The IBM Blockchain Accelerator is designed for later-stage growth companies, while the Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator is aimed at pre-seed, idea-stage companies. Startups will have access to agile design workshops from IBM, an experienced network of business and technical support, connections to the Columbia research community and talent pools and access to IBM cloud technology. And both programmes will give companies access to technology and services valued at approximately $400,000 per company. In a press release, IBM said the goal of the accelerators is to help companies build scalable solutions and foster meaningful enterprise blockchain adoption.

SWIFT India and fintech MonetaGo launch blockchain project for Indian banks

SWIFT India has partnered with New York fintech company MonetaGo on a pilot project to provide a shared distributed ledger network to improve the efficiency and security of the financial products and procedures of Indian banks. The project will be based on MonetaGo’s financial services network technology integrated through standardised SWIFT financial messages. In a press release, Kiran Shetty, CEO of SWIFT India, said: "SWIFT India is committed to provide significant value to the Indian financial community through digitisation of trade. MonetaGo's expertise in providing fraud mitigation solutions to avoid double-financing and check authenticity of e-way Bill gave us the confidence to partner with them."

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) completes trial of open source blockchain digital ID project

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has completed a five-week blockchain pilot project around record-keeping requirements for railway workers. The project built on the success of a blockchain-based digital ID trial in the city of Zug and set out a simple solution that verified the identity of a worker, verified their credentials and recorded it in a tamper-proof ledger. Working with Linum Labs and using uPort, SBB built an open source solution on the public blockchain ledger Rinkeby Ethereum with fully functioning GDPR-compliant self-sovereign identities. In a post on its blog, Linum Labs said: “This pilot could be a part of the broader Swiss ID and digital identity discussion in Switzerland and serve as a model use case for issuing and verifying all types of organisational credentials.”

Japanese card industry consortium looks to blockchain to combat card fraud

DLT-based payment platform SBI Ripple Asia and the Japan Payment Card Consortium have launched a proof-of-concept (PoC) on sharing fraud information using blockchain technology. The project includes the nine major credit card issuers in the Japan Payment Card Consortium and the technology companies Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and TIS. According to a press release, the companies will aim to combat fraud by sharing information between related parties on a real-time basis using blockchain. The PoC will be conducted on R3’s blockchain platform, Corda. The nodes will be secured by Corda, ensuring data is shared only with those with a need to know. The consortium will also use the HPE mission-critical DLT lab as the secure test environment.

German government plans to use blockchain in fight against tax fraud

Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is reportedly exploring the use of blockchain to clamp down on tax fraud and make tax transactions more traceable. Cointelegraph, citing a report by German news outlet WirtschaftsWoche, says that following the major European tax fraud scheme CumEx-Files, the BMWi believes DLT is capable of improving fraud prevention. It has been reported that the German economy suffered losses of $63 billion through the CumEx-Files tax fraud scheme that was discovered in 2017. BMWi Parliamentary State Secretary Christian Hirte said blockchain could ensure tax shares are “traceable…at any time”.

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