Blockchain, typically associated with financial services and volatile cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, is now being touted as the next big thing in disruptive enterprise technology. Simply put, blockchain is a distributed database that exists on multiple computers at the same time. With each new transaction, a block is added with a timestamp and a link to the previous block, and then shared with all the computers in the network. The system is highly resistant to tampering, as there are multiple copies of the same data on the network.
Enterprises are currently exploring how the technology can help them increase transparency, potentially save on costs, and speed up business processes. Forbes recently released its first ever Blockchain 50, identifying billion dollar companies that are currently actively exploring using blockchain technology. While there were a number of financial organisations in the list, a range of industries and sectors were represented, with heavyweight names including Amazon, IBM, BP, HTC, Nestle, Microsoft and Walmart.
Optimising the supply chain
Although the technology is far from mature, one area where it’s already having a concrete impact is in manufacturing and the supply chain. A recent survey by Capgemini Research Institute found that more than half of organisations were currently experimenting with or implementing blockchain to improve manufacturing and the supply chain. The technology can provide manufacturers, shipping and logistics companies with a secure, paperless solution for tracking products through every stage of their lifecycle, offering organisations greater operational transparency and control.
Blockchain can be used to enable organisations to track a product efficiently and securely, as it passes through multiple stages and even locations, over several months. This detailed audit trail introduces the potential of huge cost and time savings by making several processes transparent and paperless. This includes releasing products through customs, tracking fresh produce to identify the source of contamination, and even tracing the movements of highly valuable and sensitive items.
Going beyond the hypothetical
Many companies are already using blockchain technology to enhance their supply chains. CargoX, an independent supplier of blockchain-based smart bill of lading (B/L) solutions, is one such example. The company provides a way to process B/Ls anywhere in the world. Based on the Ethereum network, their platform dramatically reduces B/L processing time from 5-10 days to just 20 seconds, by simply eliminating cumbersome, inefficient manual processes.
FedEx recently incorporated blockchain technology to track high-value cargo, with plans o expand the solution to eventually track the majority of their shipments. To further enhance the supply chain, a new blockchain system from IBM and Maersk aims to manage and track the paper trail of tens of millions of shipping containers, saving valuable time and resources.
Viant, an Ethereum blockchain-based platform for building supply chains partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to track tuna from the moment it’s caught, up until it reaches the shop floor. With the industry rife with corruption and criticism over how the fish are caught, being able to track the process from start to finish on transparent supply chains is a huge step forward to reducing the human and environmental cost of fishing.
What does blockchain mean for ERP?
Because blockchain has the potential to unite a large supply chain network using a decentralised system, by integrating blockchain solutions into an existing ERP system, the two can potentially work together to improve supply chain automation. This means that every company can maintain their own internal ERP system, while joining one rule-enforced blockchain network. In fact, two of the most highly publicised blockchain pilot technologies were implemented by embedding the technology inside ERP systems.
After a two-year pilot project, Walmart announced that it will use blockchain software developed by IBM to help grocers keep track of every head of lettuce or bag of spinach, to reduce the amount of spoiled and contaminated produce on their shelves. As its proof-of-concept, Walmart’s ERP system used blockchain technology to track the journey of a mango in a matter of seconds, from the very tree it was picked, to the packing house, cold storage facility and distribution centre, through to its final destination on the retailer’s shelves.
It’s important to remember that blockchain is an additive technology. It’s not going to replace the need for internal ERP, now or in the future. Instead, ERP systems and blockchain will work together to strengthen the integrity and automation of the supply chain.
The benefits of blockchain technology to streamline the supply chain is resulting in new organisations, standards and pilots with leaders in the industry. Although it may take years to iron out standards and interoperability issues, as blockchain technology matures, ERP systems will be the natural place to use this technology to optimise the supply chain, increasing efficiency, compliance and profitability.
Contributed article by Andres Richter, CEO, Priority Software
NFT Sales Heat Up as Rarible Marketplace Passes $5M in Volume
While decentralized finance (DeFi) has grabbed most of the recent headlines, the non-fungible token (NFT) market has quietly picked up steam over the summer. According to a Sept. 16 report from crypto asset data website Messari, Rarible, an NFT marketplace, has passed $5 million in sales so far this month—more than quadrupling sales numbers from August. […]
The post NFT Sales Heat Up as Rarible Marketplace Passes $5M in Volume appeared first on BeInCrypto.
According to a Sept. 16 report from crypto asset data website Messari, Rarible, an NFT marketplace, has passed $5 million in sales so far this month—more than quadrupling sales numbers from August. The report also noted that $1.5 million of this new volume came on a single day, on Sept. 14.
Rarible is a place where you can create, buy, and sell digital collectibles and, as such, is the beneficiary of surging NFT popularity, driven mostly by digital art. On Sept. 21, the news of a record-breaking digital art NFT sale was announced, with a piece called “Right Place & Right Time” selling for more than $100,000.
Rarible’s numbers, and the general buzz surrounding digital art, have caught the attention of a few big names in crypto. Morgan Creek Digital co-founders Anthony Pompliano and Jason Williams have reportedly made a “big bet” on digital art.
As outlined in Pompliano’s daily newsletter, the bet is based on the idea that digital art will become bigger than traditional art, a market that has had a cap of “$65 billion for the last few years.” By comparison, digital art’s current market cap is around $10 million.
Never one to shy away from a controversial stance, Pompliano went on to state, “my confidence level that we see a future 6,000x increase in the digital art market cap is fairly high.” Because of this, “we [Pompliano and Williams] plan to invest heavily in the space over the coming months and years” he said.
Others, however, were slightly less bullish. The CEO of crypto derivatives exchange FTX and Alameda Research, Sam Bankman-Fried, tweeted a more skeptical take.
The tweet prompted a debate over the value of art, the ease with which “unique” digital art can be copied, and the future NFTs may or may not have.
Adam Back, the well-known cryptographer and founder of Hashcash, chimed in, encouraging Bankman-Fried to consider buying digital art NFTs as art patronage, “you could photocopy it, but then you’re not a patron.”
Digital art is, of course, just one piece of the NFT pie. The fantasy soccer game Sorare, which allows players to collect “limited edition digital collectibles” while also managing a team, has also seen an increase—recording sales of around $750,000 this month, almost half its all-time total.
Iran to Provide Crypto Miners With More Electricity Subsidies
The Iranian government has continued its crusade to support the country’s fledging crypto mining space. In its latest show of help, Tehran has announced a program that will allow miners to access a significant surplus of energy.
A Great Time to be an Iranian Crypto Miner
According to reports from local news media, the Iranian Thermal Power Plant Holding Company (TPPH) has announced a plan to provide three power plants’ electricity output to miners in the country. The program, which will be conducted after a tender, improves miners’ access to one of their most fundamental resources, thus improving their overhead efficiency.
Mohsen Tarztalab, the agency’s head noted that the country’s struggling economy had been a concern for the government. It now seeks to create an enabling work environment that will benefit companies and provide employment opportunities. The country’s electricity has also seen a significant gap between revenues and expenses, and the government sees crypto mining as a means to improve revenues and provide income for the state.
However, the initiative comes with a condition, as miners will only be able to get the output from expansion turbines in plants. According to Tarztalab, this process won’t include any consumption of liquid fuels. By using just natural gas, the government is hoping to make the process as green as possible.
Tarztalab noted that the expansion turbines are independent and don’t participate in the national grid’s electricity production process. So, the government will be able to conduct this electricity transfer without necessarily affecting the country’s electricity production capacity.
A Structured Mining Industry Yields Results
So far, Iran has done a laudable job of legitimizing the crypto mining industry and providing an enabling environment for players. So far, the process has yielded some positive results. In July, local media house Mehr News Agency reported that the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade had issued 14 mining licenses to foreign companies, as investments in the country continued to surge.
Iran’s mining license requirement began earlier this year, as Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri issued a directive to that effect. To get a license, miners would need to disclose information on their officials, the mining equipment they use, and the size of their operations. A report from the country’s Banking and Economic System Reference Media (IBENA) back in January confirmed that over a thousand companies already got their licenses.
Another incentive for registered miners is a reduced power rate, with Mehr News Agency reporting that miners are now getting charged as low as $0.11per kilowatt-hour (kWh). For peak summer season (June to September), however, they will have to pay $0.46 per kWh.
The government has also set up a process that rewards citizens for blowing the lid on illegal mining facilities. Last month, Tavanir, the state power company, announced that it had shut down 1,100 of such criminal outfits already. Per reports, every whistleblower gets a 100 million rial ($480) reward for their help.
IoT Startup Helium Floats New Hardware Device for Mining Its HNT Crypto Tokens
Helium’s plan to create a decentralized wireless network may be about to gain altitude.
The company, which aims to create a token-powered wireless network for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, announced Tuesday it’s no longer the sole manufacturer of Helium hotspots, which create the Helium network by mining the project’s HNT cryptocurrency.
RAK Wireless, a China-based manufacturer of IoT hardware will begin selling a new, cheaper version of the hotspot, potentially giving the whole enterprise a lift.
Quick refresher: Helium aims to create a new kind of wireless network, one that’s suited for data from low-power applications like tracking location, but also is completely separate and independent from existing telecom networks. While Helium maintains the network, it’s peer-to-peer, meaning it’s created by individuals owning and operating their own nodes.
Enter the Helium hotspot. For over a year, individuals have been able to buy and deploy one of the bologna-sandwich-sized hotspots, which both acts as a node in the network (via low-bandwidth wireless tech called LongFi) and rewards the owner by mining HNT crypto tokens.
Until now, the only way to get a hotspot was to buy one from Helium for $495 apiece. The RAK Hotspot Miner, available today in North America and coming “soon” to Europe and Asia, costs $249, or roughly half. It’ll be sold exclusively through Cal-Chip, an online vendor of IoT devices. The components are nearly identical to Helium’s model, according to the company, but RAK can offer a lower price since it can take advantage of economies of scale that Helium can’t.
“This is the first of what we hope will be many third parties building compatible hardware,” Helium CEO Amir Haleem said in an interview. “It’s an enormous step for us because up until now, we’ve been the only manufacturer and we’ve been the bottleneck. We can’t be the only entity contributing to [the network], both from a price point of view but also it doesn’t speak well to the decentralization story.”
The buyers of Helium’s hotspots have typically been enthusiasts who see the value in a low-power network or companies that want to leverage the technology itself.
A company that wants to use the network to, say, track the location of its rental scooters can exchange HNT for data credits, which Helium also manages, and have a fixed price in dollars. The more hotspots in an area, the better the tracking – which also would likely fuel demand for HNT, which was trading at $1.75 as of press time, according to Messari.
You can see where this is going. With the RAK Hotspot lowering the bar to entry, more Helium owners may start to purchase them just to mine the cryptocurrency. If that happens, and those people are spread out in enough different places, Helium’s dream of decentralized wireless (which it calls, with a straight face, “DeWi”) might start to solidify, turning all those hotspots into valuable investments.
“Building wireless infrastructure this way and having access to the internet be decentralized and not controlled by one entity is a must-have step in the evolution of the internet,” said Haleem. The existing universe of low-power access points and gateways is, quite frankly, a clusterf**k. So it’s great to have a third party start to get involved in the foundational infrastructure.”
Helium’s technology is promising, but far from ubiquitous. The company says it’s sold about 12,000 hotspots, although public network stats say only 8,641 are active. And while that still sounds like a lot, it takes between 100-200 hotspots to bring a single city “online.”
A few well-known companies, including Lime and Salesforce, have used Helium’s tech, but it’s early days.
In short, Helium needs to rise a lot further to reach its decentralized wireless utopia in the clouds, and its bubble could pop anytime. But at least with RAK Wireless coming on board, the weight of that journey is a little lighter.
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