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learn blockchain

6 reasons why you should learn blockchain today

The world develops at a very fast pace. Technology does too. We are sure you’ve heard a lot about blockchain recently. But what is all that buzz about? Does blockchain really have any good to do to the world? Or is it just a hype that will pass some time later? Should you start investigating that field or not? 

The short answer will be: no, blockchain is not just hype and is totally worth learning. To know more, continue reading this post about why blockchain should be your next skill to develop and what are its main advanced features that can be of help to the world.

But before we get to why blockchain deserves your attention, let’s see shortly what blockchain is.

Blockchain is a shared, trusted, public ledger of transactions available to everyone but not controlled by any single identity. The consecutive string of every block ever executed makes up a blockchain. It is a distributed database of chronologically ordered transactions. You can take a look at our Blockchain Glossary for a more thorough explanation.

Now that we know a little more about blockchain let’s get to this article’s main topic!

1. Job opportunities and high salary

Undoubtedly, blockchain has brought a number of new professions to the job market that have become the most demanded ones. In fact, blockchain was announced by LinkedIn as the most in-demand skill of 2020. Some examples of such professions are back-end blockchain developers, smart contract engineers, dApp developers, cryptocurrency analysts, traders, mining technicians, etc.

Since 2017, these occupations’ salaries have risen significantly, and now the annual average is $70K for entry-level to $175K for more experienced professionals. Though it might seem scary to shift your career to the blockchain, it requires very little time and effort in reality. Specialized courses will help you with the process, no matter if you are a beginner or a more experienced specialist. You can learn more about how software developers, particularly, enter the blockchain industry with this article

2. One of the core technologies of the future

As of 2018, only 0.5% of the world was using blockchain technology. However, it is estimated that in 2024 blockchain will gain mass adoption. Moreover, the blockchain market is expected to climb to over 39 billion U.S. dollars in size by 2025, according to Statista. It is one of the most cutting edge technologies nowadays. Thus if you want to not fall behind the world, you better start learning blockchain already today. Furthermore, as the quote says, “The early bird gets the worm.” The early adopters of the technology will have significant advantages when the rest of the world starts using blockchain.

3. Smarter cryptocurrency investments

The most widespread use cases of blockchain are indeed cryptocurrencies. If you are interested in crypto investments, you have to know the principles of blockchain and DLTs to make better and smarter investments. Moreover, that knowledge will help you better understand the ICOs and master the rules of the crypto world.

4. Blockchain’s impact on other industries

There is a false assumption that blockchain can be used only in the finance sector. Of course, it can bring many advantages to finance and banking; however, other industries can benefit from blockchain as well. Those industries range from real estate to healthcare, from fashion to food, from education to Horeca, and more. Many big companies have already started using blockchain, such as CarrefourNestleWalmartIBMAmazon, etc.. Furthermore, blockchain absolutely disrupts the supply chain by making everything faster, lessening the possibilities of fraud, and saving finances by removing intermediaries. So if you think that blockchain won’t get to your industry, we can prove you wrong.

Now let’s have a look at the advanced features of the underlying technology that is totally worth everyone’s attention and can be the solutions to the present-day issues of the world. Below we will introduce a couple of them.

5. Digital identity and Cybersecurity

It’s a well-known fact that a lot of our information is available online and can easily be a matter of hacking and fraud. With blockchain, all the information is fully secured with a strict cryptographic system, which is impossible to hack. And the owner of the data has control over who can get access to it. Moreover, the user’s identity will always stay anonymous. Blockchain enables more secure storage and management of our digital identities by providing an interoperable, tamper-proof, and unified infrastructure. 

6. Integration with other systems

Another significant advantage of blockchain is that it offers a universal infrastructure that can be integrated with any technology and system, regardless of whether it is old or new. Besides, the whole concept of blockchain and the DLT system works amazingly with the Internet-of-things (IoT). And very soon, we will witness the remarkable influence of blockchain, AI, and IoTs on our everyday lives. 

Summary

One thing is certain. In several years blockchain is going to disrupt many industries. In order to go with the development of the world, you would rather start learning it today both for professional and personal purposes. If you don’t know where to start, Nooor is here to help you. Take a look at the courses we provide to beginners and more experienced specialists. If you prefer self-learning, take a look at our Blockchain Glossary with the easy explanations of blockchain terms and Nooor’s quizzes to check your knowledge. Have fun!

bitcoinhalving

Bitcoin Halving

We have prepared a short review of the main news and concerns regarding the Bitcoin Halving so that you can have the whole picture of what is going on in the market these days and what to expect afterward.

What is Bitcoin Halving?

Firstly, let’s explain what the Bitcoin Halving is. As we know Bitcoin miners are being rewarded for processing a transaction and every 210,000 blocks, or roughly 4 years, the reward is being halved. In 2009 the reward for the mined block was 50 bitcoins. Then, after the very first halving it became 25, then 12.5, and today on May 11, in just several hours from the time of writing, it will become 6.25 Bitcoins per block.

It’s important to note that Bitcoin forks halve a month before the main chain (BTC) does. Here is the chronological order of the events.

  • The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) block halving occurred on April 8, so consequently, the event decreased block rewards for miners from 12.5 to 6.25 for each block.
  • The first halving of Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (BSV), which was forked from BCH in 2018,  took place on April 10. By the way, both BSV and BCH have 21 million coin supplies, as Bitcoin (BTC) has.
  • Finally, Bitcoin Gold (BTG), has been the next fork which halved after BSV on April 18.

 

Price predictions

Now let’s move on to bitcoin price predictions and how the market will respond. In fact, halving takes too much attention because people believe that it will increase the bitcoin price and that’s why many traders have already started betting for the future price of Bitcoin. Here is the list of some predictions from experts.

  • TradeBlock, a blockchain analyst company, predicted that the price per Bitcoin will be $12,500 after the halving.
  • Salah-Eddine Bouhmidi, the financial market analyst at DailyFX, told Cointelegraph: “After the halving, I can imagine a new attack on the $14,000 by 2021. Of course, not only the halving plays a role here — but other external factors can also lead to positive effects on the cryptocurrency market.”
  • Paolo Ardoino, the CFO of Bitfinex, said: “By the end of 2020, I think the Bitcoin price will be at least $20,000.”
  • Fundstrat’s Tom Lee believes Bitcoin could reach $27,000 by August of 2020. 
  • Rekt Capital took the most optimistic position by writing on Twitter: “Price of one $BTC will be $385,000–$400,000.”
  • PlanB, a pseudonymous analyst, says he expects the halving will lead to a considerable rise in the price over the next few years. He thinks if BTC doesn’t strike $70,000 by May of 2022, the stock to flow model will be invalidated. 

 

What experts think

So now you have the picture of what Bitcoin Halving is, let us also see what kind of ideas the industry leaders share and very soon we will see if the buzz created around the event is just a hype or this is something that will bring a real change to the industry.

  • Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex said, “I don’t expect Bitcoin to drop below $6,000. We might see some FUD before the Bitcoin halving. By the end of 2020, I think the Bitcoin price will be at least $20,000.”
  • Robert Schwertner, Founder & CEO of CryptoRobby commented,  “Can I predict the Bitcoin price at the end of 2020? Sure, to the third decimal place! 7,000 euros — plus/minus 5,000 euros. I see no future for Bitcoin. It is not suitable as a means of payment — who wants to spend 10 minutes at the checkout in the supermarket for verification…”
  • “Historically, we have seen a price surge in the 1.5 years after the halving, so it’s highly possible we’ll see new entrants in the market,” said Dave Ripley, COO of Kraken.
  • Lennix Lai, OKEx’s director of financial markets, noted, that bitcoin halving could be understood as “quantitative tightening” on crypto.
  • Other exchanges said bitcoin halving could be an insignificant event if the COVID-19 continues.

 

Seems everyone is too concerned about the Bitcoin Halving event and many of them want a drastic change in the price. The good news is today is THE DAY of the historic event and we can witness the reaction of the market and see who has been closer to reality.

Stay healthy and stay tuned!

Take a look at our blogposts here.

Blockchain and covid

Code Red: is there a place for blockchain to save the situation with COVID-19

Working in the tech industry tends to become more challenging after the COVID-19 outbreak… feeling the weight of responsibility on how we can direct the technological capacity to “stitch” the world together.

Our team works on different projects and initiatives related to blockchain mostly inspired by the idea to make this world a better place to live in. And here is the question: how fast is changing the place that we want to improve and where we can put our effort to save what we have today and to reshape the outcomes we plan for the future.

One thing is certain, the technological revolution is “obliged” to happen now: we are witnessing a restructuring of the global economic order that could lead to an entirely new civilization where technological advancement is the new normal.

In my previous article on the blockchain role in the healthcare industry, we have explored a number of interesting projects that plan to disrupt the space and provide the user with more secure, transparent and decentralized solutions. We didn’t expect plan changes, so in this article, I would like to reflect on some ideas on the role of blockchain during and after the COVID-19 outbreak when we are in the cusp of digital transformation and socio-economic crisis.

So let’s figure out what this pandemic brings to the table for blockchain?

Disruption of supply chains in the healthcare industry

Counterfeit facemasks and medical devices, substandard hand sanitizers, and unauthorized antiviral medication… you definitely can continue the list.

Bringing some numbers here: under the Operation Pangea XIII (3 – 10 March 2020) potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals worth more than USD 14 million, as well as 37,000 unauthorized and counterfeit medical devices were seized by the authorities of involved countries. As pharmaceutical and medical device supply chains are intricate enough including a number of activities that happen at the same place, the coronavirus outbreak paves the platform for the criminals to flourish their businesses and initiatives.  A pure opportunity to welcome counterfeit and defective products in the markets, when everyone is focused on saving lives. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every part of supply chains within the healthcare industry, once again exposing the vulnerabilities of many organizations.  

Urte Jakimaviciute, MSc, Senior Director of Market Research at GlobalData states: “Lack of supply chain efficiency, transparency and authenticity has been an ongoing issue and the root of many challenges faced by the healthcare companies. While most organizations have supply chain risk management strategies in place, the current outbreak is not a typical event. The COVID-19 crisis is a huge stress test for the industry once again reiterating the need for change.” 

It is obvious that transparency is a necessity for each point of the supply chain because, at this crucial moment when each resource counts, we do not want to face counterfeit or faulty products to enter our markets. While the companies rethink their risk management policies and plan to reshape their supply chains, we see the rise of blockchain technology that is designed to improve the traceability, to ensure the authenticity of the products and to enhance the efficiency of supply chain processes. Blockchain applications have a lot to perform here. Although we witness a number of challenges with real implications of the technology in this industry, there are many promising solutions that grant us with a ray of hope. 

Odds and ends of data privacy and the game our governments play

Yes! Our society has never been this equipped with the novelties of surveillance and data sourcing. Outrage for a failing healthcare system at global proportions, misinformation, biased data interpretations have created the perfect context for governments to implement mass surveillance programs, hand in hand with tech companies. The “perfect narrative” of COVID-19  justifies all the means and strategies undertaken by the governments to prevent the society from the reverse impact of the pandemic.

Governments respond to the pandemic in different ways, but one thing is certain: urgent adoption of mass surveillance programs to track the sensitive personally identifiable information (medical records, identity, location) is one of the essential issues that we need to cope with. 

When talking about mass surveillance, we can imagine the techniques in the sci-fi movies, but now it is a pure reality: making use of AI, facial recognition, tracking devices, a database of tracked data, identity authentication. This became the modus operandi for most of the countries that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. You imagine China, but the other democratic countries are not an exception by implementing surveillance techniques overnight, mostly relying on GPS data, cell phone tracking and tracing, etc.

These so-called contact-tracing apps help public health officials get ahead of the spread of COVID-19, which may in turn allow an easing of social distancing requirements.

One of the important questions to discuss is whether privacy will survive the coronavirus. More than ever before our personal data is under attack and the security programs do not fully prevent data breaches and ensure us from the usage of our personal data for other purposes.

In the times of transformation of the geopolitical and regulatory landscape, we look again into the eyes of the technology that can solve the issue of data confidentiality, data integrity, authentication, validation, and much more.

There are a number of interesting solutions in this regard which provide the expected outcomes through cryptographic protocols. The application of smart contracts and storage of the collected information on the blockchain can become the remedy for the privacy issue. Below you can see some projects developed by the giants like IBM, WHO, MIT, so the hope gets bigger that the attention of the core players is in the right direction.

MIT’s PrivateKit – the app will enable users to match the personal diary of location data on their smartphones with anonymized, redacted, and blurred location history of infected patients. The digital contact tracing uses overlapped GPS and Bluetooth trails that allow an individual to check if they have crossed paths with someone who was later diagnosed positive for the virus. 

SafeTrace – Tor Bair’s Enigma, a data encryption firm, has developed a platform to facilitate privacy-preserving contact tracing for COVID-19. SafeTrace lets users share sensitive location and health data with other users and officials, without compromising the privacy of that data. This service enables users to safely and privately share location data and their infection status. The objective of this tool is to help track social infection vectors.

MiPasa is utilizing data analytics and privacy tools that were previously only available to elite financial institutions and adapted them for a public health context

Becoming that cashless society

People tend to change their behavior slowly – but the pandemic can serve as a catalyst to adjust to the new reality. Let’s get some ideas on how crypto can serve for good in the “era of COVID-19”. 

Donations

When the world is locked down and most of the countries need support, sending donations and payments becomes critical. Here is where blockchain shines above all else and we become the spectators of some very nice use cases. 

In a bid to accentuate the relief process for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Italian and Dutch Red Cross society is increasing its modes of accepting payment, with the latest development introducing support for the premier cryptocurrency – Bitcoin. Hopefully, very soon this will become a norm. 

The pandemic created a base for many projects to upvoice their initiatives and be noticed by the community. For example, I came across the Helperbit platform, which offers to raise money for charitable causes. COVID-19 was not an exception. 

Another very important aspect comes to be donation tracking. Alipay, the payment processing platform managed by Alibaba, introduced a solution that runs on blockchain in order to allow donors and charitable organizations to better cooperate in a more transparent manner. 

Crypto as a payment mean

The traditional payments ecosystem exposes countless people to the risk of a COVID-19 infection (paper money, ATMs, credit cards, POS terminals, you name the next one). With this in mind, are we ready to finally adopt the digital wallets? It seems to me, the answer is obvious. Moreover, as the traditional financial system weakens, the role of Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, crypto assets, stablecoins, and the emerging DeFi platforms rises day after day, with the mission to provide consumers with credible alternatives to existing financial services. 

On the other hand with the burdens attached to traditional cashless payments, such as high transaction fees, slow settlement times, and increased cybersecurity risks, there will be an increased demand for alternative solutions. And through the power of decentralized blockchain systems, crypto payments may be the answer. 

We need to do what it takes to grasp the opportunity of wide adoption of blockchain technology and crypto. The reality is we are on the outfall of digitalization and lots of challenges are coming on our way. The COVID-19 brought to the stage the issues that were evident but many refused to see. There is no option for putting band-aids on the problems that our society fights against every day, we better utilize the technology to find the real solutions. 

Resources:

https://blog.goodaudience.com/leftovers-of-privacy-in-the-era-of-covid-19-encryption-and-cryptography-1f77c753e50c

https://www.wired.com/story/covid-19-contact-tracing-apps-cryptography/ 

https://www.ledgerinsights.com/ibm-oracle-launch-blockchain-to-integrate-covid-19-data-from-world-health-organization-cdc/

https://hackernoon.com/crypto-weekly-3-how-the-world-will-change-after-a-pandemic-and-blockchains-role-in-it-at543274

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/covid-19-economic-crisis-recession-economists

https://www.ledgerinsights.com/uae-uses-blockchain-digital-identity-to-battle-covid-19/

https://thefinancialbrand.com/93845/coronavirus-crisis-covid19-sarscov2-cash-checks-crypto-solution-card-digital-payment/

blockchain in healthcare

Blockchain in Healthcare

The technological disruption changes our lives drastically and we don’t even manage to notice how we face the necessity of tech solutions in each and every aspect of our life. We seek better customer care, we look for the most qualified doctors, the fastest medical support, and of course, we all need that at the very moment, immediately. The healthcare system has gone through a long journey to become what it is now and through the time we have advanced in almost everything, disruptive innovations for operations, the development of biomedics, genomics, which transfer the reality that we have today, the transformation of the pharma industry and much more, so why do we need that? To put it in one word: to save more lives, to defeat the horror diseases, to create better conditions for people all over the globe and yes, technology has its say here.

It is difficult to find a concise definition of Digital Health. Its scope is very wide. There are a number of definitions that may describe the e-health concept outlining the whole complexity. Simply saying, Digital Health refers to the information and processes, and technologies and systems that enable a person to make informed choices about their own health, take action to improve it, and monitor their progress to realize what works for them and what doesn’t. By contributing their own biological and behavioral data to the health system, people can give permission to carefully selected organizations and people in the system to anticipate and respond to their health and care needs, help good things happen, and, where possible, prevent bad things from happening.

Digital healthcare trends are largely driven by the need for better patient care, faster and more accurate analysis, and on-demand access to medical data. The pace of innovation in digital healthcare began gaining momentum with artificial intelligence (AI), and it is set to further accelerate as the industry turns to blockchain technology.

Global blockchain technology complements healthcare artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) — based marketplace offerings and is expected to cross $500 million by 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CARG) of 61.4 percent, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report.

What is wrong about the digital health system? Do we need some “blockchain magic powder”? Let us dive into the industry challenges to find out where the blockchain applications can be of use.

Patient data management

Currently, the HIE (health electronic exchange) serves as the intermediary that facilitates the peer-to-peer exchange of electronic health records (EHR) among member participants. The system also acts as a ledger that tracks what data was exchanged. However, the model has little incentive to offer except the fact that it’s a state-designated body. With blockchain, members or healthcare industry participants have the opportunity to benefit from a distributed ledger to securely access and exchange electronic healthcare information without having to deal with a rather complex system of brokered trust. Another major problem is concerned with the master-patient index (MPI). It involves linking the health records and transactions of patients with their varied “identities” as they interact with various healthcare providers and other entities. The challenge is only becoming more complex and expensive with every passing day. This is also why patient data integrity remains a key concern, as it may become subject to risks such as data selling, data leakage, and fraudulent mismanagement.

To alleviate these limitations and risks, a blockchain-based approach could leverage cryptography to validate patient identity and strengthen data probity, too. Blockchain records can be shared among licensed participants who can add to — but not delete or alter — the transaction logs. The blockchain ensures all the transactions are encrypted and must be verified by the network. It also allows for introducing standardization in building an MPI-like list. For example, instead of allowing multiple ways to input data, the blockchain makes it certain that every participant enters/adds data in a specified way. Blockchain would thus provide much stronger data security and integrity of records and a highly standardized method to maintain data.

Use cases to check

BurstIQ — The company uses blockchain to improve the way medical data is shared and used

Factom — Factom employs blockchain technology to securely store digital health records

MedicalChain — Medicalchain’s blockchain-based platform maintains a record of the origin and protects the patient identity

Cost efficiency

Unlike the existing central system that fails to see significant volumes of transactions, thereby staying expensive, the use of blockchain would enable an evident reduction in overhead costs, giving participating groups greater incentive for a sustainable business case. Moreover, with near-real-time processing of requests, a platform underpinned by blockchain would facilitate much faster, more secure, and more efficient transitions/exchanges of health records between related parties.

The application of smart contracts in digital health projects will create a new level for the no-intermediary system. The healthcare system today is fraught with excess overhead costs, bureaucracy, and third-party intermediaries — all of which add to cost and complexity. The existing centralized system used to facilitate interoperability and transactions among participants also suffers from inconsistent rules and permissions, which makes it difficult for the member health organization to access the right patient data at the right time. Blockchain enables increased trust among participating parties. By making available smart contracts, the technology helps members to solely rely on contracts that are automatically enforced when certain security conditions are met.

Moreover, by empowering member health organizations to buy, sell and transfer value (e.g., medical claims data, cryptocurrency payments, intellectual property, etc.) without an intermediary or third-party companies, blockchain would facilitate much-needed transparency between pharmacies, insurers, health payers, hospitals, physicians health plans and the overall healthcare ecosystem in general.

Use cases to check

SimplyVital Health — SimplyVital uses blockchain to create an open-source database so healthcare providers can access patient information and coordinate care

Robomed — combines AI and blockchain to offer patients a single point of care. The company deploys chatbots, wearable diagnostic tools, and telemedicine sessions to gather patient information and share it with the patient’s medical team

Patientory — Patientory’s end-to-end encryption ensures that patient data is shared safely and efficiently. Patientory helps the healthcare industry to move more quickly by housing all patient information under one roof.

Pharmacy — stopping drug counterfeit

Blockchains can provide a reliable method for tracking pharmaceuticals through the entire manufacturing and distribution process, thus cutting down on the widespread problem of drug counterfeiting. In conjunction with IoT devices used to measure factors such as temperature, blockchain technology could also be used to verify proper storage and shipping conditions or to authenticate drug quality. However, since each participant of the supply chain i.e. the manufacturer, the logistics company, the stores, and the pharmacies, etc, maintain their own separate ledger, a problem within any particular segment of the supply chain is difficult to track. Blockchain technology provides the pharmaceutical supply chain a better way to add compliance and governance within the supply chain.

Due to its inherent transparency, immutability, and distributed nature, Blockchain technology provides a mechanism that allows any participant in the supply chain to ensure that the supply chain logistics and transportation guidelines (including handling and storage conditions of the drugs), were adhered to.

Additionally, smart contracts can be programmed that automatically execute when compliance conditions are not met, thereby alerting the relevant parties in the supply chain.

Use cases to check

FarmaTrust — FarmaTrust provides future-proof blockchain and AI-based provenance systems for the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector

Chronicled — The networks help pharma companies make sure their medicines arrive efficiently, and they enable law enforcement to review any suspicious activity — like drug trafficking

Blockpharma — By scanning the supply chain and verifying all points of shipment, the company’s app lets patients know if they are taking falsified medicines With the help of a blockchain-based SCM system, Blockpharma weeds out the 15% of all medicines in the world that are fake.

Insurance fraud protection

Blockchain could also be used to combat medical insurance fraud, a problem that is estimated to cost the American healthcare system around $68 billion each year. Immutable records stored on blockchains and shared with an insurance provider can prevent some of the most common types of fraud, including billing for procedures that never took place and charging for unnecessary services.

Clinical Trials recruiting

Since the passage of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act in 1992 (which allowed the FDA to receive funding from pharmaceutical companies), the FDA has collected $7.67 billion in user fees from pharmaceutical manufacturers. This trend of annual funding to the FDA from drug manufacturers is expected to continue to increase.

Patients and physicians have begun to question the current standards for Clinical Trial funding, leading to growing concerns due to the conflict of interest and the high stakes involved.

With this, we can also discuss how blockchain can improve the quality and effectiveness of clinical trials. Medical data on blockchains could be used by trial recruiters to identify patients who could benefit from the drugs being tested. Such a recruitment system could greatly improve clinical trial enrollment, as many patients are never made aware of relevant drug trials and therefore are never given an opportunity to participate in them. While trials are conducted, blockchains can be used to ensure the integrity of the data being collected.

Use cases to check

Exochain — this pharma startup manages secure storage of patient health information on the blockchain. Exochain allows individuals to control how clinical trial researchers may interact with their medical data

The transformation we haven’t noticed. What to expect?

There is no doubt in stating that blockchain represents and promises a revolutionary future of healthcare and medicine. Moreover, we can clearly see the ties that the representatives of future tech have together: the combined applications of blockchain, AI, and IoT will bring the development of digital health to the next level.

With all these positive aspects, there are still some limitations that do not allow the industry to scale. Let us name some of them.

  • Do the projects really comply with existing regulations?

The startups and companies who are trying to excel in their new product development process meet the biggest challenge of compliance in terms of data regulation, standards, and requirements that each and every country and region has. There are a number of projects implemented by EU countries

  • Blockchain is costly, guys!

On the provider end, blockchain solutions are likely to involve a high initial investment, a fact that certainly prevents wider adoption. In addition, distributed systems tend to be significantly slower than centralized ones in terms of transactions per second. A big blockchain network, with numerous nodes, would probably need more time to transmit and synchronize data when compared to centralized systems. This is especially concerning for huge databases that would eventually need to store and track information of millions of patients. The problem would be even worse for large-sized image files, such as computed tomography or MRI scans.

References

https://builtin.com/blockchain/blockchain-healthcare-applications-companies

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/06/18/blockchain-in-healthcare-how-it-could-make-digital-healthcare-safer-and-more-innovative/#6e871a43e5a1

https://www.binance.vision/blockchain/blockchain-use-cases-healthcare

armenia as next R&D hub

Why Armenia is becoming a Global Blockchain hub?

Potential investors in the tech industry should take a closer look at Armenia. The country has a flourishing tech sector and has been making some noise because of its enormous expertise in the IT sector. This development has attracted a new wave of potential investors. Therefore, it is no surprise that the World Congress on Information Technology is taking place in Armenia.

Blockchain R&D Hub Armenia

Through its reputation as an innovation hub, the country earned the nickname “Silicon Valley of the ex-Soviet Union”. Actually, the country has a long history of technology. Before 1990, 40 percent of mainframe computers were produced for the Soviet military.

Apart from that, the country convinces many investors with its geographical condition. Armenia has many well educated and highly skilled workers. The capital Yerevan even has a secret building in which computer research is conducted. Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia has managed very well to focus on its competitive advantage regarding software development, IT and more.

The IT sector is making up a big part of the nation’s economy, more than 7% of its GDP. Those numbers are not bad when considering the fact that the small country has only 3 million people of which 18,000 of them are working in the tech sector. Currently, over 7,000 students are enrolled in higher education institutions to study advanced technologies.

Thus, it is no surprise that the global network for R&D is using Armenia’s talents to create a global source for blockchain facilitation.

In fact, the prime minister of Armenia claimed that the future of the country is in technology. He also said that it is necessary to determine how science, education and the country can benefit from each other to foster growth and increase In fact, the government intends to finance projects that advance and accelerate Armenia’s economic development.

Since the country has a need to transform traditional approaches, reshape business and reduce levels of corruption, it can be concluded that Armenia has the best requirements to adopt blockchain technology.

The important role of the Nooor Blockchain Armenia

The mission of the Nooor Blockchain Armenia is to develop and promote blockchain technology in Armenia. Further, the organization partners with more than 40 countries and is accelerating the development and integration of blockchain-based projects. Thus, Nooor will promote Armenia to become a global hub and center of blockchain expertise.

According to Viktoria Khechumyan, COO of the Nooor Blockchain Armenia, blockchain technology can improve government services and increase transparency. At the same time, blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt the healthcare industry.

People with an interest in building tech and blockchain-based startups are welcome to become a member of the Nooor blockchain community. The organization not only educates but also provides legal and strategic support to blockchain-powered companies or to those that intend to transform Armenia with blockchain technology.

Furthermore, Nooor can help interested people in the following ways:

  • Organizing community meetups: Educating blockchain enthusiasts by organizing meetups and events.
  • Educating and inspiring: Proving educational programs to students, executives, and managers.
  • Cooperating with governments: Liaising with the government and encouraging transparency to create business environments that foster growth.
  • Providing strategic support: Providing support to blockchain-powered companies, startups, and entrepreneurs.
  • Assisting companies in tokenization: Assisting companies in the process of tokenization and providing consulting for cryptocurrencies and smart contracts.
  • Fostering networks: Growing a strong network of experts, enthusiasts, and developers to share knowledge through training, special events, and conferences.

The organization has developed some tailored solutions to help users that have an interest in learning more about this new technology. Those are demonstrated as follows:

ChainPoint 19

This year Nooor Blockchain Armenia was hosting ChainPoint 19, which is an international blockchain conference and is held annually. The international conference proved that Armenia is becoming a global hub for blockchain expertise.

Moreover, the minister has always emphasized the importance of strengthening the Armenian tech ecosystem. A conference like ChainPoint 19 contributes significantly to the development of the national tech ecosystem.

At ChainPoint 19, investors were able to explore business opportunities of the regional tech ecosystem. The conference hosted 50 speakers and 500 attendees from 30 countries.

The key outcome

Armenia is fulfilling the requirements to become the next global blockchain hub. The government has explicitly stated that disruptions in technology are prerequisites to modernize infrastructure and improve quality of life. Nooor Blockchain Armenia has become the main engine in Armenia for developing and implementing blockchain technology in society. As a result, research is increased and more blockchain-based startups are emerging.

Sources

https://wcit2019.org/blog/armenia-tech-hub-and-investor-goldmine

https://www.loc.gov/law/help/cryptocurrency/world-survey.php

https://jam-news.net/armenian-pm-countrys-future-lies-in-high-tech-industry/

https://www.aitimejournal.com/interview-with-viktoria-khechumyan-coo-of-nooor-blockchain-armenia

http://www.unlock-bc.com/news/2018-11-22/armenia-to-become-a-hub-for-blockchain-expertise

Contributor: Justin Krakenbuerger

The founder of Zenoctus, Content Strategist, and Developer. You can connect with Justin by email.

blockchain applications in hrm

Blockchain applications in HRM

We are in an era where everything develops too quickly. So we are going to tell you about the Blockchain in the HR sector and before starting the main part let’s discuss: What is blockchain technology?

The blockchain is a unique technology for storing data. The information is stored on the devices of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people. Blockchain has two core advantages: publicity, reliability and security. Decentralized data storage, virtually unhackable due to the algorithm. With blockchain, it is impossible to collect all the information from different accounts into one place. It is decentralized, and only you are the king of your data.

Addressing HR pain-points

Let’s figure out what are the business processes that HR goes through that are painful, and involve lots of people, shared data, time, and risk? Four areas of greatest impact for blockchain include:

  • cross-border payments and mobility;
  • talent sourcing and management;
  • productivity gains;
  • cybersecurity/fraud prevention.

Today HR specialists have to deal with the uncertainty in resumes, the reliability of recommendation letters and the overall problem with the trustworthiness of candidates. This situation has to change, and blockchain has the potential to create a new ecosystem where achievements can speak for themselves.

Blockchain absolutely has the power to create disruption in the HR space. In fact, it might just revolutionize the ways in which HR pros approach many of their daily tasks.

1. Blockchain Can Protect HR from Cyber Criminals

When a Boeing HR employee sent a work-related spreadsheet to his spouse in November 2016, he just wanted formatting advice. But he had also endangered the identities of nearly 36,000 Boeing employees in four states — 8,000 had their data stolen.

Human resources management involves dealing with a lot of very sensitive personal and financial data like this. HR departments may receive and store information relating to pay, health insurance, finance and banking, disciplinary records, and more. All of this is at risk of being exploited. With blockchain, the ability of criminals to gain access to that data is reduced. In many cases, it’s virtually eliminated. Because records stored on the blockchain are decentralized, there’s no single place where hackers to access and corrupt data. In addition to this, any changes that are made must be authorized and verified.

Companies Trying to Solve This Problem

Chronobank — Speeding up HR processes while reducing risk by leveraging blockchain

Fourdx — Blockchain secured eDelivery and document exchange

2. The Recruiting and Hiring Process Will Be Transformed by Blockchain

Standard methods of seeking out candidates, determining whether or not they are worth pursuing, conducting the pre-hire verification process can be painfully slow. Potential hires may tweak their resumes according to the requirements of each job that interests them. Hiring managers may wait days before hearing back from references, and some companies are reluctant to provide any detailed information on past employees due to liability purposes.

Now, imagine if employee records were stored on the blockchain. Applicants could provide potential employers with permission to access their blockchain-based employment data. This could include employment history, letters of recommendation, educational records, and more.

Companies Trying to Solve This Problem

Recruit Tech — Vietnam based project building recruitment solutions on the blockchain

3. Employee Life-Cycle

The whole employee life-cycle would be disrupted by the implementation of blockchain technology as the current procedure to hire and onboard a new recruit can be lengthy. From conducting the interviews, checking qualifications, validating work background and gathering references, or applying for the necessary security checks — it all takes time.

This process continues throughout employment (for example, if the role changes, further qualifications are obtained or different management is assigned during a handover) until eventually the employee exits the company. Then you may be requested to forward some of this data to potential new employers for their checks on that individual and alongside this the whole process renews again. As blockchain would already hold all of this validated information, it would significantly reduce the time and energy spent on this process, simplifying the whole HR experience.

4. Companies Can pay workers in cryptocurrencies

According to DistruptorDaily in America, 54 percent of employers stated their current payroll processes have room for improvement. A reported one-third of small business owners pay at least $500 per month in payroll service fees. That seems a bit high for such a routine process. Payroll services could see a new layer of automation and convenience by implementing cryptocurrency technology.

However, with businesses that hire on a global scale, paying in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other cryptocurrencies can make sense. Workers want to be able to access their money, move it, and use it to buy goods and services with ease. For someone who lives in a nation where the currency is devalued, banking systems are untrustworthy, or the government has caused other roadblocks, this isn’t the case. By offering crypto-based payroll systems that are backed by blockchain technology, businesses can attract more workers on a global scale.

Companies Trying to Solve This Problem

Bitwage — Blockchain solutions for outsourcing

4th Pillar — Full-service HR solutions on the blockchain

5. Automate taxes & mitigate the strain of audits

Taxation plays a critical role in the life of a business or an individual. For HR professionals, constantly evolving tax laws and regulations across jurisdictions ensure they often have their hands full properly issuing taxes. Payroll taxes are then only further complicated by other factors like bonuses, commissions, overtime pay, back pay, accumulated sick time pay, human resources expenses, and beyond.

Blockchain’s keen ability to record and update employee tax considerations and provisions automatically is catching the attention of the HR industry. By wielding the capability to streamline and secure the taxation process, it is likely that blockchain-powered platforms will become the record of choice for HR departments around the globe.

Speaking of taxes, no business wants to be hit with an audit but it does happen. Audits are so daunting that it has actually held back countless businesses that only feel comfortable maintaining physical record systems, despite the time, energy, and money they require to properly upkeep.

The blockchain makes it easier for a business to sustain an audit because it can securely share its records with regulators in near real-time. The time and cost spent for document collection is subsequently reduced drastically.

Now is the time to sum up how really blockchain will be beneficial for HRM. It will help:

  • Employees with a perfect reputation to find work faster.
  • Companies save time and money by hiring employees.
  • Quickly assess the competence and professionalism of people.

In this case, such a system has to meet the following conditions:

  • Data transparency. Anytime any participant can have access to the initial data to make sure that they are right.
  • Data reliability. Not any company or person can change the data to their advantage.
  • Automation of processes. The system should work on mathematical algorithms without intermediaries to exclude or reduce to a minimum the human factor.
  • Independence. Do not belong to any company to maintain objectivity.

And as a bonus here are the startups which are trying to solve HR problems with blockchain: https://www.disruptordaily.com/blockchain-market-map-human-resources/

Links:

blockchain in aviation image

Blockchain in Aviation: looking for transparency in the transparent?

“The blockchain does one thing: It replaces third-party trust with mathematical proof that something happened. — Adam Draper

Airplanes. Airports. Cities. Countries.

Being a young girl with a fueled imagination I used to think that there is some kind of magic, which leads those huge metal birds into the air.

Spending a summer vacays in motherland may become impossible for a diaspora kid growing up in another country without those special buildings with distinct and entangled metamorphoses going around in it.

Growing up, understanding that under “magic” there is a much more likely a constructive explanation I’ve started to look closer every time I’ve got an opportunity to came back to the airports always buzzing with noises, goodbyes and serious people in ties.

On my way of becoming older with a constant appearings in the buildings, I’ve started to notice much more ways of the improvement of this special place

Working in an IT company, involved in the progress of the blockchain technology for more than a year, I’ve started to wonder, how DLT can change the efficiency of the Airport and make the traveling for people even more transparent, safe and easy.

So, please, fasten your seatbelt, dear reader, we are going on an adventure in the future of aviation!

Saying NO to the Overbooking

When Dr. David Dao was forcibly removed from his seat and dragged off of a United Airlines flight in April 2017, it was easy to blame the three Chicago police officers who did it as the primary culprits. The video was horrific, and the three officers eventually lost their jobs later that year. But was it really their fault, or were they simply doing their jobs? After all, it was United Airlines that overbooked the flight, not the police officers. After the investigation, it was found that the ticket was overbooked by 4 passengers.

Smart contracts and tokenized tickets may help ensure that a truly fixed number of tickets are issued. Airlines will often sell an excess number of tickets, banking on late cancellations, passengers missing their flights, or any other number of possibilities that could result in a plane flying at less than capacity. An empty seat is lost revenue for the airline, but when everybody shows up, someone’s plans have to change. Currently, airlines can feign ignorance as to why or how the flight was overbooked, but with tokenized ticket-issuance systems, more advanced features like flight-delay insurance and ticket bidding can help ensure that all parties make out economically without the need to overbook a flight.

Companies willing to make a change:

Flight Records Systems Security

“What the aerospace industry doesn’t know about its planes is costing it serious money.”

When Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March 2014, it immediately became one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. With 239 people on board, a bizarre change in the flight pattern, and still no indication of where the wreckage may actually be, countless friends and family members still don’t know what happened. Even though one of the men on board was an IBM executive, and another was an actor cast in Netflix’s Marco Polo, the lack of solid information surrounding the flight continues to astound.

In the wake of the disappearance, Malaysia’s official response was slammed as “inaccurate, or at least incomplete” by a Chinese media organization, and it’s difficult to argue with the assessment. The lack of details about where the flight was headed and where it maybe is a prime example that better oversight systems for such critical information are still needed.

Data pertaining to a given flight — manifests, baggage onboarding, flight path, and the like — carry varying degrees of importance. Some information may save serious time and effort, like tracking down a lost bag more efficiently. Other information — like who was on a flight, where they sat, and where the flight was headed — could be the key to solving mysteries in the unfortunate event that a flight doesn’t reach its destination. Regardless of a piece of information’s use or relative importance, securing all flight-related intel remotely on a blockchain backup record would be an added measure of security to the centralized systems of today.

Companies willing to make a change:
SITA, British Airways, Heathrow Airport — Partnered to create a blockchain-secured data-sharing model — Flight Chain

Identity management

In the airline sector, forging identities of individuals comes with serious threats, including the possibility of terrorist activity at airports or on flights. The adoption of blockchain in aviation will eliminate the pain and hassle of passengers waiting for long hours to verify their documents.

Passenger details like biometric data, required documents, and the ticket will be stored on a blockchain network. People while entering the airport can enter the unique code, for verifying themselves. The airport authorities, who are a member of the network, will be able to enter the check-in details for passenger’s further references.

The introduction of smart contracts automates paper-based airline operations, allowing airport authorities to take up other roles. As a result of this, increased productivity, accuracy, and efficiency will be achieved.

Companies willing to make a change:

Vchain — a patented blockchain SaaS solution for digital identity management.

Baggage Tracking

Every baggage will comprise of a unique code, which will be encrypted and stored on a blockchain network. During the check-in process, the luggage will be scanned and the location of it will be updated to the system in real-time. Every detail about the baggage, ranging from its unique code to the current location, will be updated on the blockchain network. The authorities and passengers can easily locate their luggage if gone missing.

Companies willing to make a change:

BagX — a neutral blockchain platform for baggage handling developed by a Swiss-port team. This will make the process completely documentable and transparent across all the involved stakeholders.

Maintenance Transparency

Whether you own one plane or an entire airline, aircraft maintenance is neither cheap nor easy. The average hangar cost is $275 per month, plus an additional $100 for tie-downs. Annual inspections can cost as much as $1,200 for small aircraft, and far more for commercial airliners (which must be inspected far more frequently). Then there are factors such as gas and oil, part depreciation, and insurance to consider. Airliners have much steeper costs associated with them, an average of $1,430 in maintenance per flight hour. Supply chain costs related to aircraft maintenance accounted for 80% of direct maintenance spending in 2009 and is likely higher now.

We’ve all experienced the dreaded “creeping delay” at the airport. It seems to get longer and longer due to some unspecified maintenance issues. These delays cost countless amounts of money and are responsible for much of airline travel’s poor reputation. Between June 2015 and June 2016, more than 1 million flights were delayed, with those delays chewing up approximately 64 million minutes worth of their passengers’ time. About 50% of those delays are due to controllable factors, like aircraft maintenance.

Several industry leaders are in the works developing systems by which maintenance issues can be more easily foreseen and dealt with using blockchain distributed ledger technology. Tracing individual parts to gauge their fitness for flight and anticipate declines in their quality is one use of the technology, as is providing a more connected record for maintenance-related departments to rely upon. These uses could cut down on the one thing that gives airlines and passengers the most consistent trouble: delays.

Companies willing to make a change:

  • Accenture — Prototype for aviation manufacturing and parts provenance.
  • Aeron — Better data traceability and management for aviation firms.
  • Lufthansa — Launched blockchain innovation challenge to tackle transparency issues.
  • 500labs — a decentralized data network for the global aviation industry to mitigate the effects of flight delays, among other things.

Airline Alliance Revenue Sharing

The first airline alliance was established over 21 years ago, and while the nature of revenue sharing between partnered airlines has evolved over the years, it remains an integral part of the commercial aviation sector. Today, there are three major airline alliances: Star Alliance, SkyTeam, and Oneworld.

Star Alliance was founded by member airlines United, Scandinavian, Thai, Lufthansa, and Air Canada, and has expanded to a roster of 27 airlines, covering 18,800 daily flights to 1,300 destinations across 193 countries. SkyTeam is the newest of the alliances, founded in 2000 by Delta, Aeromexico, Air France, and Korea Air, totaling 20 members with a reach not far off of Star’s. Last but not least, Oneworld, founded by American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, and Canadian Airlines, teamed up in 1999 to provide a more intelligent revenue-sharing model and a greater array of connection options for passengers of its airlines. These alliances have necessitated revenue-sharing algorithms, but they remain flawed. They lack measures to prevent inter-airline squabbles and time delays that defeat the purpose of cooperation among member airlines.

Cooperation among airlines can make sense economically, especially in terms of the less quantifiable PR aspect. When a flight is cancelled or international connections run thin, the ability to tap into partner airlines to accommodate passengers is invaluable, both in terms of preserving revenue for the airline and ensuring that passengers don’t miss critical plans or meetings. That said, revenue sharing systems remain complex and fragmented. The ability to rely upon a unified system that could use algorithms to immediately settle predetermined revenue shares among cooperating airlines would reduce costs, improve timeliness, and result in more customers reaching their destinations in a reasonably timely manner.

Streamlined Frequent Flyer Programs

Many airlines have frequent flyer programs (FFPs) that allow airlines customers to accumulate points that can then be redeemed for air travel. Members of loyalty programs that travel with a partner airline may want to have their points or miles reconciled at their customer account which can be a time-consuming and error-prone process.

One way that airlines could take better advantage of customer loyalty is to merge alliance member airlines to provide a more appealing frequent flyer package. This would foster a greater likelihood that passengers would actually redeem their accrued miles, therefore being incentivized to earn them in the first place. With a wider array of airlines to choose from, frequent flyer programs could become more appealing than they already are, and the blockchain could serve as a platform to seamlessly integrate revenue sharing and automated point redemption in a cost-effective manner.

Companies willing to make a change:

  • Singapore Airlines — Tokenizing frequent flyer programs.
  • Loyyal — Smart contract-based loyalty solutions
  • Sweetbridge: a virtual blockchain-based marketplace with a scalable solution for multi-vendor loyalty programs.

Multi-Tier Oversight in Private and Commercial Flights

Fortunately, flight, and commercial aviation especially, has become a safe proposition. According to many metrics, 2017 was the safest year in the history of commercial air travel. When hijackings, suicide, and sabotage are accounted for, 59 people died worldwide as a result of commercial aircraft accidents or malfunctions, which is a modest number considering the sheer volume of daily flights spanning the world.

However, these statistics, though low, cannot be assessed lightly — each life is a life, after all. No story brings that fact to life quite like the case of the Brazilian Chapecoense soccer team, who were on their way to an unlikely championship match when their plane crashed into a mountainside in Medellin, Colombia, killing 71 of the 77 passengers. The pilot had chosen not to refuel in an effort to save money — precisely the sort of decision that should be taken out of the hands of humans with an inordinate financial stake in such choices.

One of blockchain technology’s primary benefits is the ability for several parties to access the ledger, regardless of their location. This decentralized facet could set in place a system of checks and balances that would regulate pilots and owners of private airlines, who may otherwise be tempted to cut corners in order to save money. Whether this involves regulatory agencies, specific airports, or organizations will be determined on a case-by-case basis, but if blockchain can help prevent another Chapecoense, it is a cause well worth pursuing.

Companies willing to make a change:

  • Avinoc — a freely available, transparent database for the coordination of private business flights — without a third party intermediary.
  • 14bls — Supply Tracking a blockchain technology that allows the supply chain of aircraft components to be documented thoroughly and with absolute transparency.
  • Sorablocks — a blockchain-based platform for the aviation industry, which brings transparency to the management of kerosene across all airlines and airports.
  • Skyy network — a blockchain-based solution that consolidates the aviation management of drones in a decentralized and clearly regulated system, enabling the rule-based and automated operations of drones.

I would like to conclude with the stress of your attention to the research made by IATA (The International Air Transport Association). The document explores blockchain, its potential, and the challenges, though the focus is on public blockchains. It outlines a substantial vision in both breadth and depth.

Reference:

https://www.disruptordaily.com/blockchain-use-cases-aviation/

https://blockchain-x.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/flightchain-whitepaper.pdf

https://hackernoon.com/5-global-domains-that-will-transform-blockchain-in-aviation-by-2025-2j1cx3v08

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ie/Documents/Tax/ie-blockchain-a-game-changer-in-aircraft-leasing.pdf

https://www.bbntimes.com/en/technology/blockchain-in-the-aviation-industry

https://www.ledgerinsights.com/sita-blockchain-changing-air-industry/

https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/aerospace-defence/assets/data-for-the-life-of-the-aircraft.pdf

https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/aerospace-defence/publications/blockchain-in-aerospace.html

https://www.asiablockchainreview.com/blockchain-effect-on-sea-aviation/

https://www.iata.org/publications/Pages/blockchain.aspx

Anton Mozgovoy at ChainPoint

Nooor talks with Anton Mozgovoy

ChainPoint 19 Conference — an international blockchain conference that we at Nooor hosted earlier in October become a platform for people involved in the industry to get acquainted with the ones who strive to make a change and share the ideas of disruptive nature of the distributed ledger technology as much in masses as possible.

Anton Mozgovoy was one of our speakers during the ChainPoint 19 Conference. Being a really promising young man, an interesting individual, public speaker — he has the exact mindset to become the one that will catch your eye and make you wonder of how you wouldn’t think of the possibilities that the blockchain technology can serve in a synergy with other technologies and the way it possibly can change our world for the better.

Not forget to mention, Anton is currently a Head of a product called Jthereum — software that gives you an opportunity to write and deploy Ethereum smart contracts in Java (kudos to the developers here!), and is one of our lecturers during our educational course — The Blockchain Challenger vol.3!

Nooor talks, 5 Questions, and Anton Mozgovoy. Here we go!

  1. How important is education in the blockchain, and what will it take to undergo a complete adoption?

That is a very contradicting question. On one hand, education is a vital part of any emerging technology adoption. On the other hand, mass adoption does not depend on people’s understanding of how blockchain works. After all, most people will resist change or the need to learn new ideas. Therefore, the more subtle the changes they have to make the more likely they will adopt new technology.

That leads us to the point that Blockchain as a consumer-oriented technology still needs to pass through numerous iterations in order to become user friendly.

2. What fascinates you personally about Distributed Ledger Technology in the context of technology, economy and society?

Unfortunately, today the majority of blockchain projects are aimed at raising funds and generating profits with meaningless products. Yet, two main areas of DLT development excites me the most are stable coins and social impact. I wrote articles on both, and you can read more about stable coins and social impact.

To me, the biggest hidden gem about Blockchain is the ability to design technology to help those in need, through joint efforts of the community, solve acute social problems and conduct non-commercial activities in the fields of ecology, health, and education.

3. If I am a 6 y/o how would you explain to me what blockchain is?

To be honest, today’s 6-year olds are so tech-savvy, that probably as they grow up DeFi will feel so natural to them, they won’t even bother. But let me try to explain what is blockchain. Remember the game when each kid writes a word on a paper, and then scrolls it and passes to the next kid so on and so on? So, in the end, we roll up the paper and read those funny gibberish sentences? Well, blockchain is a tool that will allow us to see if anyone changed their word after they already wrote it. If they did — we’ll know who exactly was that and what was the initial word. That is blockchain.

4. In which areas do developers in the community and IT industry still have to accelerate their efforts?

Regulation. The first thing that comes to my mind is regulation. To drive Blockchain adoption, the industry needs to mature. One of the ways to do that is to create a clear and precise regulatory framework. It is a joint effort from both regulators, and industry players.

5. As you were a part of ChainPoint 19 Conference, what can be the feedback about Armenia and its potential to become a leader in the blockchain space?

Blockchain is still an emerging global market. Just recently China has announced a nation-wide Blockchain development program. This move alone will create a massive race between countries. Armenia has a very strong position and an opportunity to be among the Blockchain leading countries. ChainPoint 19 Conference is exactly what Armenia needs to attract not only international leaders but also local great minds.

Many thanks to Anton Mozgovoy for this engaging interview. If you want to read our Nooor talks with other leading representatives of the blockchain industry go here.

Blockchain in fashion industry

Blockchain in Fashion: the insights you never had

Spotted: your clothes coming right from Bangladesh, no authenticity for the brands you choose, exploitation of human power… what does blockchain have to do with this??

Blockchain is right there to make the nightmare disappear!

In most cases, when we talk about blockchain, Bitcoin is the first thing to come to one’s mind, but let us be clear, blockchain is revolutionizing almost all the industries one by one. Having a passion for the fashion industry and having an understanding of how the blockchain technology works, I decided to dig deeper and find out the benefits of the technology for the industry players. Long story short, let us uncover the main challenges and problems that the fashion industry faces today.

  • Supply Chain Transparency

According to Fabio Cesari, the head of research and development at YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, a company that is consistently at the forefront of technological advancements in retail, supply chain management represents “one of the [fashion industry’s] biggest challenges”.

Even very diligent brands experience difficulties in terms of oversight and transparency due to the trans-national nature and inherent complexities of modern-day sourcing and manufacturing.

Transparency in fashion is close to non-existent, and the only tool customers have to look up a source of where the garment was produced is a simple “made in” label, which can also be deceiving. The majority of garment production can be done elsewhere and then the items will be shipped 80% complete to their local city to finish it there, which would allow the producers to put “Made In ___” cool-sounding city to appeal to their customers. Blockchain technology could allow brands and their customers to review every step of production and be assured that the information is accurate since it’s protected by this secure, decentralized data storage solution.

One of the most discussed use cases is the collaboration of London designer Martine Jarlgaard and the blockchain company Provenance, who took the initiative to produce the unprecedented “smart labels” in 2017. The consumer can scan the clothing item to see every step in the production process ranging from raw material to final product. This kind of transparency will likely be a selling point for consumers who increasingly want to know how and where their clothes are made.

  • Product Authentication

It is clear that product authentication is a natural extension of transparency. Once a brand incorporates supply chain tracking with blockchain, it will be able to offer their customers insight into the complete journey of a product, and fakes will cease to exist, as those companies won’t be able to hack into the secure blockchain network or to mimic the complex and detailed production journey of a real item.

There are still very few blockchain experiments that focus on the issue of fashion counterfeits. Fashion brand Babyghost played around with BitSE and VeChain. BitSE is a blockchain company and VeChain is a product management solution which is integrated with blockchain technology. Each product from the Spring/Summer 2017 collection was embedded with VeChain Chips, having unique identity codes that were stored on Blockchain. This allowed potential customers to learn about the story behind the garment and gauge the proof of product authenticity via a special phone app.

Digmus is a Russian-based startup that claims they developed an authentication technology applicable to any industry.

  • Inventory Control  

We have already entered the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The understanding we have about the fashion industry is gone forever because the technology is here to make the necessary improvements. Customer feedback going straight to the manufacturer, smart warehouses, transparent and trustful delivery systems, etc. This all can be a reality very soon. What we need is to give the technology a try. With the mixture of AI, machine learning, and IoT, blockchain can become a very important ingredient that will boost the transformation of the industry.

In centralized systems, that most inventory management technologies use, there’s only limited visibility and insight into where all products are at any given moment. With a distributed system, each transaction is monitored and distributed, which prevents data from leaking, being tampered with, or removed without this transaction being tracked across the whole system. This also allows agile and secure data collection, immediate data extraction for product insights, and seamless and transparent communication between the retailer, supplier, and manufacturer.

  • Creative Intellectual Property

When digging through this topic, I ran into a termin evidence of creatorship, which, in my opinion, is one of the most important things that blockchain can ensure for the fashion industry. Here is a very impressive company- Bernstein, that aims to secure IP in fashion and design,

  • Ethics behind fashion

There are so many social activist groups going against big fashion brands for harming animals, the environment, or for unethical practices. A lot of consumers are also chary of buying anything that is made of animal skin. So, how about a concept where users know where exactly their purchased product is coming from?

On the other hand, today we see how many talented people dwell in remote places making intricate fabrics of great value. Most of the times, large fashion brands hire these poor people at a very low wage. This is practically exploiting people. What if blockchain can empower people in fashion? How about clothing production moves back to the local, distributed hubs? Does blockchain have anything to do with ethics? Definitely, yes!

At the end of the tunnel, there’s always light. Likewise, the end result of blockchain is to integrate and include people in the economy who have been neglected till now. Since blockchain enables P2P trade inherently, there is no need for middlemen in the middle. People can directly buy from people rather than brands. This would certainly take production back to the local, distributed hubs.

What about the luxury brands?

Luxury goods are becoming more, well, luxurious. Brands have been haunted by counterfeiting parasites for far too long and this will eventually all come to an end as more and more luxury brands embrace blockchain technology.

Luxury brand conglomerate LVMH, owner of the Louis Vuitton Malletier, popularly known as Louis Vuitton, is on the verge of completing modalities that will see it apply blockchain in confirming the genuineness of luxury goods. Between May or June, all eyes will be on the AURA, the cryptographic provenance platform which is expected to host the Louis Vuitton and another LVMH brand, Parfums Christian Dior. Should this work, LVMH plans to extend it to its other 60-plus luxury brands, before finally extending it to brands managed by its competitors.

This was, however, not an easy task for LVMH, who had to set up a team to work closely with ethereum design studio ConsenSys and Microsoft Azure. The AURA was built as a permissioned version of the ethereum blockchain known as the Quorum.

According to French startup Arianee, which boasts former employees and advisors from luxury brands such as Tiffany’s, Omega, Balenciaga, and the Richemont group, the same technology can be used to help these firms create unique identities for bespoke handbags and expensive watches. What Arianee did to test that theory was create a new blockchain – a copy of ethereum which combines both permissioned and permissionless elements through its use of a consensus mechanism called  “proof-of-authority.” It’s permissionless in the sense that users who want to sell products to one another can interact with the blockchain, but the verifying of the ledger and issuance of new tokens is controlled by the participating businesses.

Important to mention, there are also interesting attempts to tokenize the industry, here is Fashion Coin for your consideration and another one by our beloved Fashion TV- FTV coin deluxe

Also would suggest reading this article to get more about the use cases: Fashion Blockchain Startups

Xoxo,

Your Blockchain Insider

Blockchain in Horeca

Blockchain in HORECA Part 2: Restaurants

Food. Food. Food… did I mention food?

The one thing without which it is impossible to imagine the existence of a creature with a beating heart and breathing lungs. To have a meetup with friends, to meet a business partner, or just to treat yourself-  we are usually going to restaurants because we want to feel special in the warm embrace of food; that someone made just for us, and just for the pleasure of our taste buds.

In this perfect food paradise, what can blockchain possibly change?

The truth is that trust is a fragile thing. I mean, break that perfect food paradise even once, and people will never forget. Blockchain is about trust and transparency. So how can we implement this glorious technology in restaurants?

Let’s find it out!

Elimination of food fraud cases

What some may not consider is that the fake goods market can be deadly, especially when it comes to the glut of fake food, drink, and formula being pushed across the globe. In 2017, Brazil — already in the throes of political scandal, a violent crime wave, and economic uncertainty — was struck with the “mother of all food fraud cases.” Several companies, including meatpacking titans JBS S.A. and BRF S.A., were at the center of an investigation dubbed “Operation Weak Flesh.” The companies were found to be issuing bribes to food inspectors, which allowed them to export rotten meat across countries, using acid to camouflage foul odors and disguising cheap imitations for higher-priced meat items.

Brazil isn’t alone in the world of food fraud. China’s “food safety” policies are notoriously lax — to the point of comedy if the stakes weren’t so high. Among 900 “meat fraud” arrests in China in 2013, one that stood out was the arrest of a gang of fraudsters allegedly using chemicals to transform rat meat to take on a more mutton-like appearance. 2016 was a particularly bad year, with headlines including “The Parmesan Cheese You Sprinkle On Your Penne Could Be Wood.”

The blockchain’s ability to oversee products’ movements along a supply chain allows for easier identification of the source of contamination or counterfeit. This allows suppliers and restaurants to state definitively to their customers what the issue was, and ensure that the unsatisfactory product has been excised from the inventory. Overall, this means fewer cases of contaminated foods, less inventory unnecessarily trashed, and more hard-earned reputations preserved.

Companies willing to make a change

  • Zego – Blockchain-based provenance solution used to identify harmful chemicals in Monsanto foods.
  • TE-Food – Farm to table food traceability.  
  • Connecting Food – Tracing food along the supply chain, from farm to the point of sale.

Reducing Food Waste

From a class of third graders to a lecture hall full of grown adults, lecturing a crowd about the perils of food waste is one sure-fire way to induce a collective eye-roll. Yet, it’s actually a very important topic. An astounding one-third of the food produced on the earth for human consumption goes to waste. That one-third is the equivalent of 1.3 billion tons each year! And it’s the food that’s best for us, fruits and vegetables, that tends to go down the drain or to the dump most often.

While grocers and even fast-food restaurants often get criticized for throwing away “perfectly good” food, statistics show us that consumers probably would have ended up throwing away excess or barely-expired food, anyway. According to the New York Times, around 40% of wasted food in developed countries is thrown out by the consumer, not the seller.  Food waste is sometimes unavoidable; that’s in part because our systems for planning, picking, shipment, and purchase are often not nearly strategic or data-driven enough.

Those who make their money in food sales know that over-ordering, spoilage, and contamination seriously hurt the bottom line, too. Monitoring products more closely by utilizing a blockchain record of customer buying patterns, a product’s life course before and after it is in a grocer or restaurateurs’ possession, and even more, insightful intel will help those in the foodservice industry make informed decisions to minimize food waste.

Companies willing to make a change

  • Goodr – Blockchain-based platform to reduce food waste/inefficiency.

Restaurant Management Processes

In 2018, San Francisco became the “first major city” to adopt a $15 minimum wage, but they are far from the first city to take such a step toward raising the wage floor for the lowest-paid employees.

Though there are plenty of studies touting the benefits of such a wage increase, the effect that a higher-paid workforce will have on industries that rely on low-skilled workers remains unclear. The rise of completely-automated restaurants such as Spyce Kitchen is, as they describe, an almost direct response to the likelihood that chefs, servers, bussers, and other restaurant employees are almost certain to account for greater shares of the operating budget going forward.  

Automation is set to fundamentally alter the foodservice sector. This is not a matter of if, but of when and how. The incorporation of smart contract technology could underpin transactions between humans and kiosks, and a network of sensors could provide data about customer purchase patterns and food quality standards — standardized information that could also be stored on the blockchain for analysis by decision-makers within a company regardless of their location. These are just two examples of how the blockchain may come to play a role in increasingly automated processes in the foodservice sphere.

Companies willing to make a change

  • Mobivity Blockchain-based loyalty programs for restaurants.

Food Supply Chain Provenance

Back in the day, there was a general trust among consumers and retailers across industry lines that goods being sold would be of a certain quality and safety standard. Perhaps that was naïve, but today there’s no doubt that how a product was made, how and where it was grown — was this Kobe beef educated in private or public school? — and virtually every other specification you can imagine is required for consumers to sleep soundly at night.

Admittedly, the pickiness doesn’t come without good reason. Perhaps you can recall one of the many outbreaks of mad cow disease; they occurred in 1986, 1988, 1989, the early 90s, 1993, the mid-90s, 1995, 1996…to be honest, basically every year. In each of these instances, it would have been a help and comfort to be able to trace the meat back to its source. In the recent past, high-profile chains, such as Chipotle, have suffered serious revenue and PR hits thanks to E. coli, while fraudulent products — see: the 2003 European horsemeat scandal — are also a concern to safety, our consciences, and palettes. Standards are only going to get more stringent for grocers and restaurateurs going forward; turns out, millennials want ethically sourced food, and they want it to go.

When outbreaks of foodborne illness occur, the restaurants or grocery stores that served the food are often left wringing their hands, promising to get to the bottom of it. But blockchain track-and-trace will help them immediately track affected items to their origins, locating the issue quickly so they can remove the contaminated products from menus, shelves, and supply chains. If participants on a chain log information pertaining to a food product’s growth method, harvest, and shipment, consumers will no longer be limited to the trust that comes with sell-by dates and the often misleading appearance of a product.  

They will have a verifiable record of how a steak was raised or a vegetable was grown when it was shipped, when it arrived in store, and how long it has been sitting on the shelf. This, in turn, will differentiate the grocers and restaurants with best practices from those hocking nearly-expired products to an unsuspecting consumer base.

Companies willing to make a change

Proving Marketing/Label Claims

Labeling a product as organic, cruelty-free, or sustainable is a popular marketing tactic. But have you ever wondered what those labels really mean? Who determines if something is organic, how do they do it, and can we trust it?

The food industry is notorious for espousing false, intentionally misleading claims about products for the sake of appealing to a healthier or trendier consumer base. The reality is that for those who don’t have a Ph.D. in reading the back of a product label, deciphering the fakers from the honest can be extremely difficult, if not impossible. In fact, 50% of Americans find food labels to be misleading.

It’s easy to see why consumers feel misled when a closer examination of specific claims is conducted. For instance, many probably don’t know that “non-GMO” is a completely different claim from “certified non-GMO,” or that “low calorie” generally means that any subtracted calories have been replaced with a chemical sweetener. Another common practice that the untrained consumer’s eye may gloss over is the reality that “multigrain” is not nearly as healthy as it sounds, or that darker breads and items aren’t always healthier — a common conception — because some are injected with caramel coloring to imitate healthier grains. It’s no wonder why trust in the food industry is so degraded.

Blockchain ledgers offer consumers the opportunity to trace a product back to its source, and the technology could provide a standard of provenance that food producers will conform to if they seek to remain competitive. This means not just claiming that a product is organic, but proving it, too. The same goes for products that claim to be GMO-free, etc. If consumers know a company’s labeling is backed by a traceable, immutable blockchain system, the trust will inevitably increase.

Once an honest producer puts their blockchain where their mouth is, the rest of the industry will have little room not to do the same, and a more accurate picture of labels’ and marketing campaigns’ respective honesty will emerge.

Companies willing to make a change

  • Deloitte Advising on the use of blockchain provenance for label verification.

Quality Reviews

False and misleading restaurant reviews are a problem for both restaurants and customers. Because reviews can be written without knowing the identity of the author, it’s difficult to know which comments are honest and which are fabricated to help or hurt an establishment.

When reviews are stored on a blockchain, they can’t be altered, and users and restaurants can’t delete or create new accounts to wipe away bad reviews. This keeps reviews, and the subsequent recommendations of machine-learning algorithms, above board and honest.

Companies willing to make a change

  • SynchroLife –the first social restaurant review platform that offers blockchain-based token rewards to users for high-quality restaurant review content.

With the technologies developing and current disruption in different industries, it is important to take out the best from both sides and collide it onto the newest and better alternative. Restaurants are always there to give us the rest and pleasure needed.

If blockchain has the potential to make it better, then we are willing to wait for it!

In the end don’t forget to check the “Blockchain in HORECA:  Part 1“. You will find our about the applications of blockchain in hospitality and tourism.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/samantharadocchia/2018/04/26/3-innovative-ways-blockchain-will-build-trust-in-the-food-industry/#10dbc8632afc

https://www.disruptordaily.com/blockchain-use-cases-food-service/

https://www.blockchain-council.org/blockchain/how-can-a-restaurant-use-blockchain-technology/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennysplitter/2018/09/30/what-can-blockchain-really-do-for-the-food-industry/#1834740c488e

https://www.business.com/articles/blockchain-restaurant-benefits/