Blockchain: Developing standards for universal application in the mobility sector

… intended to promote and develop common standards for applying blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) in the mobility industry.

From 14 – 15 February, members of the consortium co-founded by the BMW Group will be meeting with representatives of well-known technology companies from around the world, plus blockchain start-ups and specialists, at the BMW Group IT Centre in Munich. As well as serving as a platform for sharing knowledge and experience, the two-day event is primarily intended to promote and develop common standards for applying blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) in the mobility industry.

Blockchain: technology with a bright future.

This new technology holds great potential for the automotive and mobility industry. “The hype surrounding blockchain has died down, and it is even met with occasional scepticism now. We are convinced, however, that blockchains represent a real opportunity and will eventually break up the established, centralised market by making it possible to create more decentralised platforms and so give consumers more control over their data,” explained Andre Luckow, who heads the department responsible for blockchain and distributed ledger technologies at the BMW Group. “Plus, secure transactions can also be facilitated without intermediaries, paving the way for trialling new business models.” Last year, the company conducted a proof of concept that demonstrated how customers can use the VerifyCar app to keep track of their vehicle’s mileage, for example, verify it and share it with third parties – all driven by blockchain technology.

“Added to this, blockchains enable us to improve cross-organisational and cross-industry collaboration by increasing efficiency and transparency,” continued Luckow. Conceivable blockchain applications exist throughout the automotive value chain. Blockchains can be used in production and supply chain management to help improve traceability, security and operative efficiency. In complex supply chains, for instance, complete transparency can be achieved with the help of blockchain technology allowing the origin of individual parts and components being traced back via the various partners involved. This principle was successfully tested by the BMW Group in an additional proof of concept, followed by a pilot project which has been launched at Plant Spartanburg (USA) to conduct a detailed examination of a multi-tiered international supply chain. It is due to deliver its first concrete results before the end of this year and could potentially underpin more extensive implementation in the BMW Group’s purchasing and supplier network. The long-term objective is to jointly develop an open, independent platform as part of the BMW Group’s consortium work that would enable industry-wide application.

Please click here to view the full press release.


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The FDA is considering blockchain to track prescription medications

The FDA is considering blockchain to track prescription medications … to a distributed ledger to capture it on the blockchain and monitor the movement …

This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence IoT Briefing subscribers hours before it appeared on Business Insider. To be the first to know, please click here.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering adopting a blockchain-based solution to better track prescription medications, from creation to distribution, according to Engadget.

Business Insider Intelligence

The goals of such a program would be to ensure that hospitals and pharmacies are receiving and dispensing authentic medication and to more precisely track highly controlled substances — like opioids — throughout the supply chain.

The FDA is currently soliciting bids from vendors to participate in a pilot program, with an aim to more broadly roll out a system in 2023.

A blockchain-based prescription tracking solution would likely follow the model of other blockchain supply chain management tools.

These sorts of systems typically use items such as RFID tags to identify the containers holding the goods to be tracked, recording the tags’ unique IDs to a distributed ledger to capture it on the blockchain and monitor the movement of containers.

As goods are shipped to different packaging and distribution centers, their tags will be scanned, and their updated location and status will be recorded to the blockchain. Business Insider Intelligence recently spoke with Eric Piscini, the CEO of blockchain supply chain tracking startup Citizens Reserve, about the company’s solution, which can provide a number of useful lessons on how to approach a blockchain-based supply chain management solution.

With prescription medication, blockchain would offer both critical benefits but also potential drawbacks that could push the FDA to other types of solutions.

  • Beneficially, a blockchain-based solution would be decentralized and easily shareable. The extent of a blockchain solution’s openness varies case-by-case, but moving prescription medication from the factory to the hospital — and eventually the patient — involves a number of interested parties. The supply chain can include the pharmaceutical company, the purchaser, the logistics company, and FDA regulators, for instance. Blockchain is useful in this type of scenario, as it lets every stakeholder see what’s happening to the shipment — within the confines of regulatory permissions — while also creating an immutable trail to follow so that shipments are traceable, preventing them from going missing without explanation.
  • But some blockchain solutions could face issues. One problem that public blockchains face is that as they grow larger, the amount of computing power needed to append a new entry to the ledger grows. That creates a need for more powerful hardware and also drives up energy costs. Citizens Reserve gets around this issue by employing a combination of public and private blockchains, as private chains have fewer entries and thus require less power, but such a tactic isn’t infallible. Also, a blockchain solution can only provide as much information as its sensors. While it can tell when a box tagged as transporting medication is received at a facility, it can’t do anything to verify the actual contents, which could undermine the whole goal of the system.

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Predictions that Would Lead To Resurgence of Blockchain

Blockchain, on the other hand, is distributed ledger secured with encryption, immutability, and authentication ensuring complete security of the stored …

Cryptocurrencies have undergone a tremendous value fall in the last year, which raised questions on the adoption of blockchain technology. Many believe that existing investors will step back from the development projects of the technology. But for the matter of the fact blockchain has allured various established entities that recognize its potential as a standalone technology. Blockchain is independent of cryptocurrencies—they are just one of the successful application the technology—and has found research grounds in various verticals for its development. The intrigue and need of overcoming present drawbacks, has resulted in hefty investments made.

Out of many, few futuristic applications of blockchain have been discussed below that assure its expansion in the market.

Convergence with IoT

Currently, IoT technology is also in its early stages but has comparably vast adoption then blockchain. Still, IoT experiences a major drawback of cybersecurity as in present it utilizes centralized storage system that is highly vulnerable to cyber threats. In addition to it, IoT devices themselves serve as an easy point for hackers to crack in. Blockchain, on the other hand, is distributed ledger secured with encryption, immutability, and authentication ensuring complete security of the stored data. Merging both the technologies would provide a secure environment for data sharing and boost secure automation.

Features to Support Regulations and Applications

Blockchain’s features such as transparency, liquidity, and security token are anticipated to be beneficial in several industrial processes. From logistics to finance, leaders of the sector find the technology of great use in positioning transparency at the core of transaction operations. Distributed ledger automatically records all transactions data in forms of blocks giving a complete track which ensures hundred percent transparency among network entities.

This feature would also help in maintaining data regulations like GDPR. Security tokens can be used for secure authentication for existing applications instead of developing new blockchain application—integration of technology to existing is quite easy.

Growing Influx of Cryptocurrencies

Although, crypto has fallen and still lacks wide adoption to rely on but is evident to expand in future. In the age of digitalization, digital currencies are inevitable; sooner or later they will dominate the trade. Blockchain in those scenarios will be the most optimized technology as there is no market bigger than the market for money.

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Swiss Company WISeKey Sets Up Blockchain Center In Geneva

The centers will be focused on cooperation with the companies, training of staff and exchange of the best practices of use of distributed ledger …

Swiss company WISeKey specialized in safe authorization and personality identification with the help of cryptography tool Root of Trust also pays attention IoT and blockchain technologies. The company announced launch of Blockchain center in Geneva.

New blockchain center will provide support to various startups developing solutions based on blockchain and also research and promote distributed ledger technology. In addition, it will contribute to blockchain technology adoption both in public and private sector.

Opening of a new center is a part of joint project of the company with Blockchain research institute (BRI). It is planned to set up the centers in ISA, Latin America, China, India and Africa in the future. The centers will be focused on cooperation with the companies, training of staff and exchange of the best practices of use of distributed ledger technology.

Each center will be specialized in some particular area. Thus, the center in Geneva will be specialized in financial technology, and Buenos Aires department will be responsible for an anti-fraud and anti-fake platform.

Last week, the company set up a center in Malaysia, together with a local holding Censof. Also, WISeKey cooperates with a non-commercial fund Race for Water, which is eager to clear the ocean of plastic pollution. Each plastic product will be marked and then its cycle will be monitored until it reaches recycling stage with the help of blockchain.

Note that the government of Indian state – Andhra Pradesh – which is situated in the south of the country – announced coming to an agreement with WISeKey company in 2017. The cooperation aim is protection of Indian user data with the help of blockchain technology.

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Could Blockchain Revolutionise the Grain Industry?

There has been a growing buzz around blockchain in the food industry, especially when it comes to the traceability of food products. Most notably, last …

This is a contributed article from Primetics, an agribusiness software company that develops and provides solutions for the grain, seed, feed, milling and malting sectors.

There has been a growing buzz around blockchain in the food industry, especially when it comes to the traceability of food products. Most notably, last year Walmart decided in was going to use blockchain technology to track its vegetables, following a contaminated lettuce scare. Working with IBM and 11 other food companies, they aimed to ensure that it was easy to accurately pinpoint the farm of origin of any vegetable found in any of their stores.

In the grain industry, traceability is just as important. Grains are very sensitive to moisture and contamination and can be exposed to both at various points along the supply chain. Currently, information on the origins and quality of grains is kept in spreadsheets, which can lead to inaccurate and out-of-date information. Some believe that blockchain technology, with its resistance to the duplication and tampering of information, its natural timestamping and its accessibility by all parties at any time, could be a solution to this. Others, however, have their reservations about the feasibility of widely implementing blockchain in the agriculture industry.

One example of blockchain being used in the grain industry is in the form of a blockchain business network in Brazil. This was set up by the Brazilian Grain Exporters Business Network (GEBN) to aggregate data on grains, to be shared amongst the different business partners involved in the network. According to a case study carried out on the network, this blockchain implementation has generally been successful and beneficial to the parties involved. The system used blockchain smart contracts to ensure a better flow of information between members, replace multiple binary business relationships and eliminate the need for intermediaries in some business processes. This has resulted in a reduction of information asymmetries and, in turn, a reduction of disputes between the parties. Having a single shared version of the truth improved trust between all members of the network.

Experts from agribusiness software company Primetics, however, have their reservations about whether widespread implementation of blockchain in the agriculture industry would work. In the UK, attempts to implement a widespread, centralised electronic system for tracking grain data, the “eGrain passport”, ended up being unsuccessful after different parties were unable to agree on which data would have to be shared on a compulsory basis. This difficulty in aligning various conflicting interests is just one potential barrier to the implementation of an industry-wide blockchain network.

While the Brazilian GEBN Blockchain business network was generally successful, it was not an industry-wide project. Leigh Roberts, General Manager at agribusiness software provider Primetics, says that blockchain “has generated significant interest from various industries and does fit the supply chain industry model well, but the complexity around deployment, requiring a top down all or nothing approach to be truly beneficial, is a limiting factor to its long term success across multiple industries. Agriculture, for instance, is a highly complex industry with varying degrees of software requirements and with a wide variety of stakeholders who would find it extremely difficult to get behind one technology.” While he comments that if “B2C companies, who can have a big influence on the whole market, worked in collaboration to kick-start a blockchain revolution then blockchain would have a chance,” he also notes that this would require significant initial investment, which companies may be tentative to offer up for an experimental project.

In conclusion, while there is certainly potential for the use of blockchain for quality control in the grain industry, it is yet to be seen whether a big industry force will get behind the technology to explore and exploit its full potential.

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