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Libra picks former HSBC brass as CFO

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The Libra Association, which oversees the as-yet unreleased Libra cryptocurrency, has chosen a chief financial officer and chief risk officer for the project. 

Ian Jenkins, who touts experience from HSBC, Santander, and Credit Suisse, will supervise the Libra Network’s finances and risk management, according to an Oct. 15 announcement.

The news comes only days after the multi governmental group G7 explained that the project needed proper regulatory measures in place prior to launch. 

“The G7 continues to maintain that no global stablecoin project should begin operation until it adequately addresses relevant legal, regulatory, and oversight requirements through appropriate design and by adhering to applicable standards,” said a draft of the G7’s concerns.

This story is developing and will be updated.



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Siemens-backed blockchain energy platform showcases in Germany

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A blockchain-based energy trading platform backed by German tech giant Siemens is being publicly demonstrated in a Bavarian municipality today.

The so-called “Pebbles” project — short for “peer-to-peer energy trading based on blockchains” — is holding a virtual demo of its blockchain-based marketplace platform for optimized electricity trading. The demo was officially announced by the project on Oct. 22.

The public demonstration of Pebbles’ energy platform in the town of Wildpoldsried in Bavarian marks a major milestone after the project was launched in March 2018.

Funded by German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Pebbles is a joint initiative by the regional utility Allgäuer Überlandwerk, grid operator AllgäuNetz and Siemens. The project is also supported by the University of Applied Sciences at Kempten and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology.

The initiative aims to provide a platform to enable private energy producers to market their electricity directly to local consumers without the need for middlemen or traditional grid operators. The platform also intends to provide flexible power from battery storage for electric vehicles. Blockchain implementation is designed to ensure that all information regarding market transactions is immutable and transparent.

Pebbles is not the only blockchain-based energy project being developed in Germany. In February 2020, the BMWi published an analysis of major blockchain implementations in energy trading, highlighting four related projects including BloGPV, SMECS, ETIBLOGG, as well as Pebbles.

In October 2020, Germany’s major governmental group responsible for energy innovation in Germany — Deutsche Energie-Agentur, or DENA, — claimed that the authority is looking to move its energy ecosystem to a decentralized database.



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DLT security standards may turn legacy industries into blockchain innovators

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Tokenization has given rise to the “Internet of Value,” an era in which financial assets — or any assets with underlying value — can be easily transferred peer-to-peer over the internet. While revolutionary, tokenization has largely remained a concept embedded strictly within the cryptocurrency space. Yet as the need for digitized processes continues to impact multiple sectors, tokenization could become a game changer for global digitalization.

In order to drive mainstream adoption, the InterWork Alliance — a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating global standards for tokenized ecosystems — has announced the formation of two new member-led business working groups. The Distributed Ledger Technology Security and the Global Trade and Supply Chain, both of which will focus on creating standards for the security of tokens being used in financial services.

Security standards needed

Paul DiMarzio, marketing director for the IWA, told Cointelegraph that the new business working groups aim to ensure that the standards driving tokenized services for financial use cases reflect the security needs of an entirely digitized financial sector:

“The concern is that traditional security measures developed for transactional systems may not be adequate when applied to tokenized services deployed to distributed ledger technologies. At present, the distributed ledger technology landscape is filled with fragmentary standards and guidance with respect to security considerations.”

To ensure an efficient security framework, the IWA security working group has appointed Bill Izzo as its chair. Izzo also serves as the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation’s director of security technology team, which recently published a white paper on the security of DLT networks.

According to Izzo, distributed ledger technologies are rapidly being applied within the global financial services industry, a market valued at over $22 billion. Izzo further mentioned that tokenization is an important element to ensure that financial use cases relying on DLT systems are secure.

Electronic bills of lading tokenized

Izzo hopes that the DLT security business working group will create a series of use cases for tokenization across the financial sector to reduce risk, decrease costs and increase DLT security capabilities. The DTCC white paper further states that financial sectors using DLT-based systems can achieve “strengthened identity measures, improvements in information preservation and data integrity, processing efficiencies, increased operational capacity, and compliance effectiveness.”

More specifically, tokenization has started to transform paper-based supply chains and global trade processes. Alex Bausch, co-chair of the Global Trade and Supply Chain group and executive chairman at 2tokens — an organization dedicated to driving tokenization — told Cointelegraph that although the working groups are a new initiative, members have already started working on applying security standards to a tokenization use case for electronic bills of lading:

“The newly formed IWA working groups will take an active role in the implementation of the existing electronic bill of lading token through real-life pilots, while actively engaging with authorities to promote the legal acceptance of digital tokens.”

According to Bausch, the electronic bill of lading use case builds upon the TradeTrust project initiated and being used by the Port of Rotterdam, Port of Singapore, Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore, and Blocklab. Bausch explained that IWA’s Global Trade and Supply Chain group will set out to create a token taxonomy framework for this use case, along with establishing a set of legal regulations.

This can be extremely beneficial, as findings from 2tokens show that an electronic bill of lading could facilitate a more resilient supply chain, reducing the need for manual, paper-based processes. This can also result in revenue gains. The Digital Container Shipping Association estimates that the industry could potentially save more than $4 billion per year if electronic bill of lading adoption reaches 50%.

Challenges hamper mainstream adoption

Ultimately, mainstream adoption for tokenized business use cases have been complicated due to a lack of standards and regulations, according to James Rilett, senior director of innovation and digital strategy at S&P Global Platts — a division of S&P Global that provides energy and commodities information to customers in over 150 countries. He told Cointelegraph that while it makes sense to tokenize a bill of lading, regulations must first be considered:

“It may be difficult for a company or individual to carry a DLT warrant through the current legal system that was established years ago. There is still an old-fashioned way of doing things that is governed by paper processes. Bills of lading and maritime case laws are already in place and people want to continue to follow those.”

In order to successfully combat current regulatory challenges, DiMarzio explained that the new IWA working groups will follow a standard process of articulating and defining the elements of a specific use case under study. “The starting point for this process is establishing the business specifications of the items of value within that use case that will be tokenized,” he said.

DiMarzio also shared that the working groups will look to examine the contracts that are expected to be written across specific tokens, defining these in a workflow-like format. Finally, any valuable insights that might be produced from an analysis of the shared data across these contracts are identified. IWA will then look to take the findings and turn them into standards, which will be returned to the business working groups for validation. He added: “The business working group will also involve regulators in the standard creation process to make it more cohesive and create trust with the regulatory bodies.”



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China’s Ant Group releases digital copyright platform on AntChain

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Chinese fintech Ant Group — which is now poised to launch what could be the world’s largest initial public offering — has announced a new platform via its blockchain business. 

Ant Group spun out from e-commerce giant Alibaba and is the parent company of China’s largest digital payments service Alipay. 

Ant Group’s blockchain business, AntChain, has today rolled out a new digital copyright services platform. It combines blockchain technology with AI to enable creators to securely authenticate and verify all kinds of original content — whether video, image-based or written material.

The platform generates a unique, tamper-proof digital copyright certification and notary stamp for each work that is uploaded into its database. The certifications are designed to be valid for use in copyright infringement and tort cases. The company claims that these services can save their users 95% in costs typically associated with obtaining copyright registration and certification.

In addition, AntChain’s platform incorporates digital ID and search services to help creators more efficiently track and detect possible copyright infringement. Some 10 million original works are already being uploaded and certified each day on the new platform, according to AntChain.  

One of the early partners in the new platform, which joined during its trial period, is the digital music score copyright distribution network, Shanghai C.C. Music Culture. AntChain’s platform generates smart contracts that record and automatically distribute revenue due to the network’s musicians and rights distributors.

Since 2015, when it began to work with blockchain solutions, Ant Group has developed its own increasingly sophisticated platforms that join the technology with AI and the Internet of Things, as well as backing blockchain research and development overseas.

Notwithstanding its serious commitment to blockchain, the company also has rebranded AntChain with a fair bit of humor and panache.





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