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Agriculture giants team up on blockchain platform to track grains in Brazil

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The world’s largest grains and oilseeds companies, American giants Bunge and Cargill, have joined together to create the joint venture Covantis, which will use blockchain technology in the agricultural sector in Brazil.

The unprecedented project foresees the exchange of information between all members of Covantis, which also includes the participation of other agribusiness giants such as the French Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), the Chinese state-owned company Cofco International and the Dutch multinational Glencore Agriculture.

Together the companies that make up Covantis move around 550 million tons of grains and oilseeds every year.

The goal of the partnership is to unify the sector’s data and facilitate communication between all participants, improving the logistics processes at the ports, among other things, all using blockchain. The official platform is expected to be launched next year.

Companies negotiate around 500 thousand contracts for purchase and sale each year in Brazil and the first tests for the platform were carried out at the Port of Santos between July and August this year and involved 11 companies, including trading companies, originators and grain producers. Covantis CEO Petya Sechanova said:

“Covantis should become the leader of operations in our sector and will be able to streamline processes, modernize and digitize them.”

According to the CEO, the choice of Brazil was due to the complexity of its market. Speaking to the Valor publication, Sechanova said the country saw “chain sales” or “string sales” taking place, in which dozens of intermediaries needed to act for the shipments to happen, even though only final buyers and senders have contact with the physical shipment.

Marcos Amorim is the director of the contracts committee of the National Association of Cereal Exporters (Anec), whose associated trading companies are actively working with Covantis. He said it’s a complicated and difficult process:

“Imagine that each shipment has both a purchase contract and a sales contract, that there are phytosanitary certificates attached to them and a series of other documents required by different countries. And that ships form lines and must have a certain loading rate. This greatly escalates the operation at the port and the delay at any end implies losses for the entire chain.”

Within the trading companies, the process generates a somewhat messy work flow, that is currently managed by email, phone and WhatsApp. Arrival and departure dates, ship flags and cargo volumes circulate non-stop, especially during peak seasons. But with mistakes happening daily, so too expenses and fines mount up.

But with Covantis all this information circulates using blockchain technology, which, according to its participants, helps the flow of information, prevents fraud and ensures the security of shared data.

Sechanova also says that Covantis’ ambition is to gradually bring together all the grains and oilseeds shipments in bulk from its founding companies in the world.

Argentina and the United States are the next countries in which Covantis plans to use its blockchain solution.



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17M Chinese tourists verify health using blockchain to visit Macau

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Chinese non-profit blockchain consortium FISCO BCOS, reports that blockchain-based health records have successfully enabled China to resume mainland tourism to Macau.

From May, Macau’s blockchain-powered medical data system has recognized the ID codes of the Guangdong health system of the mainland, allowing mainland Chinese tourists to verify their health status using the DLT-powered system when entering the autonomous region.

To date, more than 17 million tourists have cleared customs between Macau and China’s mainland using Macau’s blockchain health code. The announcement boasts that it takes just 100 seconds for mainland Chinese to generate a Guangdong health code for the first time, and roughly three seconds for future health verification when traveling through customs:

“The establishment of Macau blockchain health code and the mutual recognition mechanism with Guangdong health code greatly improves the efficiency and accuracy of information verification across borders. It proves to be an effective solution to bring travel between Chinese mainland and Macau back to normal.”

The system encrypts medical data to the FISCO BCOS consortium blockchain, which is immutably signed by issuing authorities. WeChat’s ‘WeIdentity’ solution is used to transfer data between Macau and Guangdong in adherence to Macau’s data protection regulations.

Macau’s health code system was introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which saw the territory suspend travel from mainland China in January.

The blockchain-powered “digital health passport” was developed by the Singaporean government-owned investment firm SGInnovate and local startup Accredify. The firms began working on the system in May to increase the efficiency of workflows among medical workers fighting the pandemic.

At the end of September, it was announced that the system had been used to verify coronavirus discharge records more than 1.5 million times.

Last week, local media revealed that the Chinese island province of Hainan is also seeking to trial a blockchain-powered rewards program to boost tourism as China’s economy reopens. Hainan was selected last year to host a regulatory sandbox for blockchain innovation.



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Nine Chilean cargo shipping companies approved to develop joint blockchain platform

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Chile’s National Economic Prosecutor’s Office, or FNE, has granted approval to nine national freight maritime cargo companies to establish a joint venture to develop a blockchain platform, the first of its kind in the region.

According to MundoMaritimo.cl, the platform will be named Global Shipping Business Network, or GSBN. It aims to handle all the processes related to maritime cargo such as document issuance and cargo clearance, among other services.

The solution is also expected to be offered to other companies in the industry and not just those involved in its development. As per the resolution issued by the FNE, CMA CGM, Cosco Shipping Lines, Cosco Shipping Ports, SIPG, Hapag-Lloyd, Hutchison Ports, OOCL, PSA, and Qingdao Port will be in charge of the GSBN’s development. The budget for the blockchain platform’s development was not disclosed.

Commercially sensitive information is not expected to be transferred through the GSBN blockchain platform, and Cointelegraph Spanish reported this meant it was possible to rule out the concern the use of the GSBN platform could facilitate “coordination” between the Shipping Constituents.

The project has been presented to the competition agencies of the United States, South Korea, Poland, and Ukraine, but there are no reports about their opinions about the platform as of press time.

Companies involved in the project were advised by Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría (PPU) which is led by the Free Competition partner Ignacio Larraín together with the associates Álvaro Espinosa, Gabriel Budnik, and Matías Palma, who are well-known players in the local’s cargo industry.

Recently, the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands launched a blockchain-based pilot with some of the world’s leading shipping companies to improve the safety and efficiency of millions of containers that are unloaded in the port every year.



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Peer-to-peer NFT sales surge as average purchase price increases 7X

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Non-fungible tokens and digital collectibles have been selling like hotcakes over the past couple of months as volumes on peer-to-peer marketplaces surge.

From NFTs representing NBA finals moments to crypto industry character cards, the total lifetime NFT volume on the Ethereum blockchain alone has exceeded $120 million, according to crypto research firm Messari.

Messari’s research tracked the demand for NFTs, which includes digital art, collectibles and in-game items, over the third quarter. It found the cumulative number of users who interacted with peer-to-peer NFT marketplace OpenSea surpassed 25,000, and that the platform saw a record $2 million in total volume in September;

Some of the most popular items on the marketplace include cards featuring popular crypto industry insiders such as Uniswap’s Hayden Adams and Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin.

The average NFT purchase price has also significantly increased over the third quarter reaching an average of $161, which is the highest since the early days of CryptoKitties in 2017 and seven times the historical average. Messari stated:

“Average spending on NFTs has beaten the historical average of $23 for 150 consecutive days.”

The research noted that digital art marketplace Rarible had launched its own liquidity mining incentives in the third quarter which caused volumes to surge to more than $10 million as traders bought and sold NFTs to earn RARI tokens.

Non-fungible token maker, Dapper Labs, has also had a highly successful week with its NBA Top Shot collectibles which have been selling out within minutes. The most recent set called “The Finals” included nine rare moments from the 2020 NBA finals which culminated with a Los Angeles Lakers win.

The sets of digitally verified rare collectibles, including trading cards and digital clips, sold for $230 per pack. When launched, The Finals sold $163,530 worth of NFTs in roughly two mins and the top buyers spent over $5,000 each on NFTs, according to cryptoslam.io.

A recent blog post noted that almost 8,600 NBA collectibles have been sold P2P for a combined sum of around $330,000 over the last two weeks.

NBA Top Shot, launched in full earlier this month after clocking over $2 million in revenue in private beta.





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