Blockchain and Cryptocurrency news summary from October 2020
The world is witnessing complex geopolitical events including a pandemic. Businesses and society are undergoing a profound transformation. Naturally, technology plays a key part in this transformation. There’s plenty of focus on cutting-edge technologies like blockchain. Blockchain is making waves around the world consistently, and October 2020 wasn’t an exception. We present a roundup of key blockchain-cryptocurrency news in October 2020 from around the world.
The continued role of blockchain in combating the COVID-19 pandemic
Governments, businesses, education institutions, and non-governmental organizations continue to strive to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Blockchain is playing a key role. Several countries like the USA and India are using blockchain to manage pandemic-related data.
New researches continue to highlight the role of blockchain in this regard. Recently, a team of researchers has published a paper demonstrating the applicability of blockchain to combat this pandemic. The research team has members from the University of Oulu, Finland, Manipal University, India, and the University College, Dublin, Ireland.
Blockchain & Cryptocurrency news from North America
We are seeing a profound change in how countries wage wars. Cutting-edge technologies are making a big difference here, and blockchain has entered this space. The United States Department of Defense has organized a competition in October 2020. SIMBA Chain, a blockchain platform created by the University of Notre Dame and ITMACO has won this competition. It’s a smart contract-as-a-service platform. The competition involved developing a war game solution in 6 days. Additive manufacturing, securing the communication network, and securing the delivery network were the main focus areas. SIMBA Chain built a solution involving blockchain, which beat competitors like Boeing. The leadership team of SIMBA Chain believes that blockchain will be part of the futuristic weapons systems in the US military.
Visa is expanding its footprints in the cryptocurrency space. Coinbase, the well-known American cryptocurrency exchange has recently announced a key project with Visa. The exchange stated that it will launch a cryptocurrency debit card in the USA powered by Visa. Users will be able to make payments and withdraw money, and the debit card will support popular cryptocurrencies.
The first public Bitcoin fund in Canada has achieved the significant milestone of $100 million market cap in October 2020. This fund is known as “The Bitcoin Fund”, and it’s listed on the Toronto stock exchange. The fund was offered by 3iQ, a Canada-based digital asset management company. Gemini, the American crypto exchange founded by the Winklevoss brothers provides the crypto custodian services for this fund. The Bitcoin Fund started trading in September 2020.
Blockchain & Crypto news from Europe
Many observers have commented on the risks faced by retail investors from cryptocurrency-based investment assets. They feel that retail investors lack knowledge of crypto-based assets, and the cryptocurrency-based assets are too volatile. Some experts feel that there’s no reliable framework to assess the value of crypto-based assets. Financial regulators in many countries are seriously looking at these viewpoints. In October 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the regulator in the UK has banned all cryptocurrency derivatives. The order covers crypto-based products like futures, options, and exchange-traded notes. The regulator claims to have taken this action to protect retail investors, and the order will be effective from January 6th, 2021.
Industry observers have persistently commented about the lack of regulatory clarity about blockchain and cryptocurrencies in many countries. They have cautioned that this uncertainty will slow down the adoption of blockchain. Some countries have been more proactive though, and Switzerland is one of them. The country has encouraged the growth of blockchain/cryptocurrency-based businesses by offering pragmatic regulations. Switzerland is planning to get even better at this though. The Federal Department of Finance in Switzerland has started a consultation process, and the objective is to bring a unified legal framework for the blockchain/crypto space. The country plans to roll out this legal framework in August 2021. An improved legal framework should help Switzerland to create more jobs in this sector.
Blockchain has key uses in energy trading. Its transparency and immutable records make energy trading easier, and several countries are exploring this use case. In Germany, Siemens has demonstrated a blockchain-powered energy trading platform in October 2020. The project is called “Pebbles”, and Siemens has worked with utility provider Allgäuer Überlandwerk and grid operator AllgäuNetz for this. The University of Applied Sciences at Kempten and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology support it too. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds this project, and the demonstration took place in Wildpoldsried, Bavaria. This platform will enable private energy producers to sell electricity to consumers directly.
Cryptocurrency & Blockchain news from Oceania
Blockchain has prominent use cases in the supply chain industry. The distributed ledger and security of blockchain helps to improve supply chain traceability. Manbulloo, an Australian mango producer found the utility of blockchain after a recently-concluded pilot project. Manbulloo worked with Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) and Trust Provenance, a blockchain start-up in this pilot project.
It tested a blockchain-powered supply chain management program. The company found it much easier to track its mango supply chain in Queensland and Northern Territory, thanks to the blockchain platform. Manbullo plans to increase the use of blockchain for this purpose.
Blockchain & Cryptocurrency news from Asia
Urban governance is an area where blockchain can make a positive impact. Several local governments in various cities across the world are exploring this use case. The local government in Chengdu, the Chinese city is one of them. The local authorities in Chengdu recently unveiled a “Chengdu Blockchain Application Scenario Supply Action Plan”. The plan covers several areas like urban governance, smart manufacturing, cross-border trade, etc., and the duration of the plan is 2 years. The city government will consider 30 new blockchain applications as a part of this plan.
When we talk about blockchain, we mostly think of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, etc. Enterprise blockchain frameworks like Hyperledger Fabric and R3 Corda are popular too. There’s another blockchain-like technology called “Directed Acyclic Graph” (DAG). It makes scaling easier, which makes it suitable for use cases in the IoT (Internet of Things) space. IoT applications involve many devices and transactions. If you use a blockchain in this space, then it must scale very well. DAG meets this requirement. IOTA Foundation has created its cryptocurrency named IOTA, which uses “Tangle”, an implementation of DAG. Organizations trying to secure communications on IoT networks increasingly prefer IOTA. In October 2020, IOTA Foundation has started to work with the Japanese government in the industrial infrastructure landscape. Best Materia and IMC, two key Japanese maintenance companies have initiated a project to improve risk-based maintenance systems using cutting-edge technologies. The Japanese government and IOTA Foundation are working with them too.
As the world witnesses a massive shift in how society functions and organizations work, modern technologies like blockchain are making their mark. We expect blockchain to help organizations and societies achieve a higher degree of effectiveness and efficiency. Watch this space for more exciting news on blockchain and cryptocurrencies.