South Korea has begun a six-month training course to turn forty-two applicants into “blockchain specialists,” local media report Monday, September 3.

Aiming to increase the availability of skilled professionals in South Korea’s burgeoning blockchain economy, the course is the result of a three-way partnership between the Ministry of Technology and ICT, the Korean Standards Association (KSA) and the Hong Kong-based blockchain and IoT startup Waltonchain.

The course will focus on preparing participants for “immediate” employment upon completion in January 2019.

“We will provide a one-stop support for employment and business start-ups as well as education for the professional training of employees, and we will strengthen the building of a healthy blockchain ecosystem,” KI News quotes Wang Sang Hyeong, secretary general of the Waltonchain as saying.

The move forms part of a giant investment program from the South Korean government which extends beyond 2023. As Cointelegraph reported, investment in blockchain and related innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) is set to surpass $4.4 billion next year.

A broad government-sponsored youth training project is also ongoing, with officials explaining the need to fill gaps in the emerging innovation sector while at the same time tackling unemployment.

In November, meanwhile, a state-enabled blockchain hackathon will award prizes to dedicated teams who demonstrate new use cases for the technology.

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The blockchain-based startup Fishcoin plans to apply decentralized ledger technology (DLT) to seafood supply chains, linking fishermen and fish farmers at the point of harvest to global seafood supply chain actors, ranging from distributors, processors, wholesalers and retailers. The company aims to apply blockchain technology to bring traceability to the seafood industry and create an ecosystem which could allow seafood producers and supply chain intermediaries to get rewards via microtransactions.

The startup is mostly known for its parent company, Eachmile Technologies, whose founders developed and launched a mobile application for fishermen called mFish. The app is designed for small-scale fishers and allows them to electronically record their catch, learn about best practices and receive valuable information on weather and market conditions, such as fish prices at ports.

The importance of the mFish initiative was emphasized by then-Secretary of State John Kerry during a keynote address at the 2014 Our Ocean conference in Washington, D.C. According to the company, mFish was successfully adopted by over 80 percent of the just-over 1,800 pilot fishermen, who became paying mobile subscribers in the first pilot in late 2016. From 2017 onward, Eachmile has been reimagining mFish as a tool for small scale fishers and fish farmers to share data with the Fishcoin blockchain network.

Fish-loving blockchain

The Fishcoin white paper describes the seafood industry’s problems as partially rooted in supply chain inefficiencies. It says that up to 50 percent of fish are discarded or wasted within supply chains.

“By tracing a batch of seafood back to the point of capture, we can verify whether the seafood was legally harvested, grown or processed when cross-referenced with data, such as vessel tracking and identification, permit numbers [and] input/output data for mass balance assessment,” commented Jayson Berryhill, of Eachmile Technologies, in an interview with The Economist’s World Ocean Initiative.

The 2016 United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization’s Report estimates that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing across the world’s oceans weighs in at around 11–26 million tons of fish each year — worth  $10–23 billion. It should also be noted that approximately a third of global fish stocks are overfished.

In order to resolve these issues, Fishcoin offers the idea of applying blockchain-based traceability principles to the seafood industry. That, according to the startup team, will help the entire ecosystem of stakeholders — including fishers, fish farmers, fish processors, seafood exporters and governments — identify, verify and reward those that adopt the best practices.

Cultivating a community of developers

The Fishcoin team is also organizing the fifth annual Fishackathon, a U.S. Department of State initiative. Launched in 2014 around Secretary Kerry’s Our Ocean conference, together with the Fishcoin team, Fishackathon promotes the development of usable solutions that tackle worldwide fishing issues. This next event will focus on developing solutions for capturing and sharing data, using open platforms and blockchain. Early this year, the event attracted more than 3,500 participants from more than 30 countries across the globe. The 2019 two-day event is scheduled to begin on World Ocean Day, June 8.  

The industry incentive

The Fishcoin model creates a mechanism for rewarding seafood producers and supply chain intermediaries through microtransactions — with the use of Fishcoin tokens. Despite what the name may suggest, the tokens are not a currency for trading seafood, but a “mechanism for incentivizing data capture and transmission in various forms, beginning with the Key Data Elements (KDEs) captured by fishers and fish farmers for the purpose of traceability,” reads the white paper.

The Fishcoin project is not based on a central company or entity. The project team states that Fishcoin tokens can act as both the incentive and the mechanism for data capture across seafood supply chains. The incentive mechanism is provided via partnership with the Groupe Spécial Mobile Association (GSMA) and telecommunication organizations in a number of developing nations, allowing the trade of Fishcoin tokens (FISH) for mobile airtime top-ups. The company claims to be the first crypto project to have involved the exchange of tokens for valuable mediums other than fiat currencies.

On June 26, 2018, Mark Kaplan — a Fishcoin Core team member — and Tara Norton — the managing director of supply chain sustainability from Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) in Europe — presented how the Fishcoin model could be applicable to supply chains in other industries as a “blueprint for supply chain transformation” at a AIM Progress members meeting.

According to the company’s website, data sharing will be incentivized via this ERC-20 compatible token. The flow of tokens will move from buyers to sellers in supply chains, rewarding those who make the extra effort to capture and communicate data.

“This shifts the economic burden to downstream actors, such as importers, wholesalers and retailers, especially in the developed markets, who benefit most from traceability,” reads the website.


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Despite four out of five executives reporting that they are currently working on a blockchain initiative, regulatory uncertainty and a lack of trust in users are still major factors hampering the widespread proliferation of blockchain initiatives across industries, a new report from PwC has revealed.

PwC surveyed 600 executives across 15 territories to examine their views on and the development of blockchain related programs. In its report, “Blockchain is here. What’s your next move?”, it uncovered that 84% of executives claimed to have a blockchain initiative underway, with 25% of them reporting their blockchain implementations or pilots are already live.

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Despite this widespread adoption, many of those surveyed still cited a number of concerns regarding blockchain technology. Other barriers mentioned were: the inability for separate blockchains to work together; inability to scale; intellectual property concerns; and other concerns regarding audits and compliance.

The report also noted that financial services are still leading the way with blockchain developments, with nearly half of respondents identifying it as a short-term leading sector (within three to five years). Other industries reflecting similar optimism in blockchain potential were respondents from the energy and utilities sector (14%), healthcare (14%) and industrial manufacturing (12%).

PwC also revealed that while the US is still leading the global market with blockchain developments, China’s blockchain developments are not only perceived to be more advanced but believed to overtake the US as the center of crypto influence and activity.

Steve Davies, the blockchain leader at PwC, said in a statement alongside the release of the report: “Businesses tell us that they don’t want to be left behind by blockchain, even if at this early stage of its development, concerns on trust and regulation remain. Blockchain by its very definition should engender trust. But in reality, companies confront trust issues at nearly every turn.”

Davies added: “Creating and implementing blockchain to maximize its potential is not an IT project. It’s a transformation of business models, roles, and processes. It needs a clear business case and an ecosystem to support it; with rules, standards and flexibility to deal with regulatory change built in.”

He also noted: “A well-designed blockchain doesn’t just cut out intermediaries, it reduces costs and increases speed, reach, transparency and traceability for many business processes. The benefits can be compelling, if organizations understand what their end game is in using the technology, and match that to their design.”

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Internet search giant (and much more) Google has added ethereum to its big data analytics platform BigQuery.

Making the announcement in a blog post on Saturday, the company said that, while an API exists for commonly used functions such as checking transaction status or wallet balances, it’s not so easy to access all of the data stored on the ethereum blockchain.

The post continues to say that “perhaps more importantly,” the API doesn’t allow for viewing blockchain data “in aggregate.”

Aiming the new service to provide more of a Big Data window into ethereum, Google said:

“A visualization like this … is useful for making business decisions, such as prioritizing improvements to the Ethereum architecture itself (is the system running close to capacity and due for an upgrade?) to balance sheet adjustments (how quickly can a wallet be rebalanced?).”

The software system Google has built on its Cloud platform does several things: it synchronizes the ethereum blockchain to computers running Parity; it pulls data from the ethereum ledger on a daily basis, including the results of smart contract transactions; and it “de-normalizes and stores date-partitioned data to BigQuery for easy and cost-effective exploration.”

In some examples of why the addition may be useful and/or interesting to users, Google sets out several examples, showing that, for one, CryptoKitties (a crypto collectibles game) smart contract transactions are by far the most numerous on the ethereum network. It further adds a visualization for “pedigrees” of accounts that own more than 10 CryptoKitties:

CryptoKitty visualization courtesy of Google

A second example looks at data from ERC-20 token project OmiseGo, with a visualization that shows how token recipients spiked on Sept. 13, 2017, while senders didn’t. The explanation? The surge marked the OmiseGo project’s airdrop of tokens to its community.

Data from the bitcoin network was added to BigQuery earlier this year, according to the post.

Anyone interested in using Google’s new service can already query ethereum’s data in Kaggle.

Hat tip The Next Web.

Images courtesy of Google

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The financial services industry’s interest in blockchain technology continues to grow. This Monday, Deutsche Boerse announced that it has set up a dedicated blockchain and crypto-asset division.

The new division will be headed up by Jens Hachmeister who has been leading the market organiser’s blockchain initiatives since April of this year. According to a statement issued by Deutsche Boerse, Hachmeister will be leading a team of 24 people.

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The market organiser has been actively exploring blockchain’s capabilities for some time now. Aside from cryptocurrency, the firm has also been looking at how blockchain could be used for smart contracts, securities settlements and, more vaguely, “co-operation with international securities depositories.”

Despite this, blockchain developments at Deutsche Boerse have, until now, been scattered. In a statement this Tuesday, Hachmeister said that “explorative steps have not been coordinated on a Group-wide level. In order to use the full potential of the technology for our businesses…a centrally steered approach is necessary to make a greater impact.”

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Deutsche Boerse – blockchain adopter

That “impact” could be felt across the whole range of Deutsche Boerse’s business lines. The company claims that blockchain technology may eventually be used in its trading, clearing, pre-IPO, settlement and data analytics services.

“Of course, the expectations are high and not all of them will be fulfilled.” Said Hachmeister, still noting that, “From Deutsche Boerse’s point of view, blockchain technology is a key opportunity for the creation of new market structures, adding new products onto our present structures and enhancing our existing offerings.”

One avenue that Deutsche Boerse looks certain to pursue is in securities lending. As reported by Finance Magnates, the market organiser became a majority shareholder in HQLAx just last week.

Founded in 2016, the start-up firm hopes to use blockchain technology to create a securities lending marketplace. The firm claims that their technology will improve operational efficiency and bolster liquidity for securities lending.

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The Futurama Blockchain Summit also wants to change the way people party.


There are blockchain events and there are blockchain summits. But have you noticed that these blockchain events are changing the way we work? … And party?

We all know that work can be a bit heavy, and causes stress. Or at least it has been conceived in such a way that practically since the beginning of time, the human being has had to work; is it fair then that the economy should have a revolution now without revolutionizing work?

If we could tell previous generations that the business meetings of the future would take place in a festive environment, with flying vehicles and in the middle of the desert, they would not have believed us. Well, it’s time to tell them the future is here!

Imagine that you now have the opportunity to personally connect with industry leaders, to work with them in a relaxed environment and all this while laying the foundations that will create the cities of the future, that is, the smart cities.

The next Futurama Blockchain Innovators Summit, or shall we say productive festival, will take place on the island of Ibiza from the 10-13 September. The main topic will be dealing with the crypto and blockchain ecosystem for the economy. But why not keep talking about the latest technological innovations? Simple! Because what was experienced in the first edition was studied, discussed and approved to be carried out. It is for this reason that the community of innovators will now seek to lay the foundations of the digital economy that will open the doors to the future that awaits us and that is already being prepared since the last Summit in Dubai.

The Futurama Blockchain Innovators Summit Ibiza September 2018 will offer the most relevant topics about bitcoin and altcoins, adoption and implementation of blockchain for businesses and community economies. The fact that this time the event is held mainly in a spacious exotic venue with Balearic forests and villas reminds us that crypto is made to interconnect people, provide solutions, and give the opportunity for everyone to get along better.

Among the items on the agenda that will be dealt with from the comfort of the Balinese villages in the Balearic forests, will be the subject of centralized exchanges, which are still the main engine of growth of the decentralization movement. It’s a paradox, but an urgent one to solve.

It is no secret to anyone that crypto exchanges are almost completely centralized and their operations are mostly controlled by very few hands. No one should miss out on what is going to be on the table there!

Another important agenda item will be the issue of legislation and crypto. This has always been in vogue, but this time it promises to offer relevant strategies to complete the massive adoption of blockchain technology. Questions such as “do regulations protect us or control us” will be brought to resolution with world-renowned legal experts.

These and other topics will be the highlights of the Futurama Blockchain Innovators Summit Ibiza September 2018. That is why this great event promises to be one of the most important within the blockchain industry, as it comes with revolutionary ideas that seek to continue to change the world and make life easier for all humanity.

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Sgame Pro has been named one of the top 15 blockchain projects for 2018 by Swiss consulting firm BlockNovum.


Mobile gaming platform Sgame Pro has been named one of the top 15 Swiss blockchain projects for 2018 in a competitive selection made by BlockNovum, a Zurich-based blockchain research center.

Sgame Pro is a blockchain-based mobile games aggregator and publisher with an innovative “proof-of-play” algorithm that rewards players with native SGM tokens for playing games. In addition to the blockchain part of their project, the company also aims to bring social and eSports functionalities to the mobile gaming market, as well as other features that have long been present in console and PC digital content distributors. Sgame Pro’s goal is to create a community for gaming influencers and players and has already partnered with popular YouTuber and gaming influencer Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg.

“Being recognized by the industry and shortlisted as a high potential blockchain project is brilliant,” said Rodolfo Oliveira, CMO of Sgame Pro. “This adds to what has been a great year for Sgame Pro.  Everyone on the team is incredibly passionate about what we are building – we really do put our heart and soul into it. At the same time, it is an enormous responsibility as expectations are really high. It’s a real testament to the strength of our whole team.”

BlockNovum is a Swiss-based firm that provides assessments, valuations and research reports for crypto assets and blockchain startups. The company was founded in 2018 with the goal of advancing the quality of fundamental crypto asset research. BlockNovum screened 78 blockchain projects that are founded in Switzerland, are Swiss-based or have conducted an ICO according to Swiss regulations. Fifteen of those were selected as the projects with the highest potential, with Sgame Pro being one of the two projects coming from the entertainment sector.

Sgame Pro has already secured funding through a round of investments and plans to launch the 2.0 version of its platform in October 2018. The launch will be accompanied by an extensive marketing campaign in Europe and the US. To keep up to date with the project, join the project’s Telegram channel, or visit Sgame Pro’s website.

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A former Estonian prime minister has signed on as an advisor to a blockchain startup that wants to encourage people to exercise more.

Taavi Rõivas, who ran the Estonian government as prime minister from 2014 to 2016 and currently serves as a member of the country’s parliament, has joined cryptocurrency startup Lympo as chairman of its supervisory board. Lympo aims to incentive exercise and active lifestyles through its LYM token, the company announced in a press release.

Rõivas confirmed the move on Twitter, saying that he was “excited to help one of the most promising Baltic startups to grow and pursue the mission of motivating people to excercise more and better.”

Lympo says it tracks and aggregates users’ health and medical information, issuing tokens in order to reward individuals that complete various physical activities. These activities may be announced or potentially sponsored by companies working with Lympo, according to its whitepaper.

In turn, the companies may receive parts or all of the aggregated data from participants, though the whitepaper emphasizes that users maintain ownership over their data, and certain forms of sharing would be restricted under the E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

While Lympo originally built its LYM token on the ethereum protocol, the startup intends to move its token ecosystem to another blockchain – most likely NEO, CEO Ada Jonuse said in an FAQ published last month.

Taavi Rõivas image via Sven Tupits/Wikimedia Commons

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The Japanese city of Tsukuba, north of Tokyo, has recently tested a voting system based on blockchain technology, local newspaper The Japan Times wrote Sunday, September 2.

The city, which The Japan Times described as a “center for scientific research,” held the voting trial in late August. As Cointelegraph Japan reported earlier, in order to vote the participants had to have My Number Card — a 12-digit ID number issued to all citizens of Japan including foreign residents, introduced in 2015.

According to the city of Tsukuba’s official website, the election was dedicated to several social programs. Residents could choose which of 13 proposed initiatives they would like to support, including developing a new cancer diagnostic technology, constructing objects for outdoor sports, and creating sound navigation in the city.

Blockchain technology was reportedly used to prevent any sort of meddling in the voting process and to avoid the falsification of results.

As cited by Cointelegraph Japan, Tsukuba’s mayor Tatsuo Igarashi said that the technology helped solve these issues. “I had thought [blockchain] would involve more complicated procedures, but I found that it’s minimal and easy,” he further explained to Japan Times.

Introducing blockchain technology in election processes  is currently underway in different cities all over the world. The Swiss city of Zug, also known as “Crypto Valley”, successfully completed its first blockchain-based election in July 2018, Cointelegraph reported. Later U.S. troops serving overseas were offered to use a smartphone app based on blockchain technology to participate in federal election ballots in the State of West Virginia this coming November.

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Internet giant Google has expanded its big data analytics with the inclusion of tools to explore the Ethereum blockchain.

Just a few months after releasing Bitcoin support for its BigQuery database tool, Google has announced a new plugin for analyzing the Ethereum platform. In a blog post last week the tech giant stated;

“Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies have captured the imagination of technologists, financiers, and economists. Digital currencies are only one application of the underlying blockchain technology. Earlier this year, we made the Bitcoin dataset publicly available for analysis in Google BigQuery. Today we’re making the Ethereum dataset available.”

The post elaborates to explain the primary differences between the Ethereum blockchain and Bitcoin’s. These include a token based smart contract principle, precise and direct Ether value transfer resembling accounting ledger debits and credits, and the virtual machine that can execute arbitrary code. It added that Ethereum blockchain data was now available for viewing with BigQuery, Google’s web service that enables interactive analysis of massively large data-sets working in conjunction with Google Storage.

Chrome users are now capable of accessing and reading all of the data stored on Ethereum’s blockchain. Google elaborated on the development stating;

“A visualization like this (and the underpinning database query) is useful for making business decisions, such as prioritizing improvements to the Ethereum architecture itself (is the system running close to capacity and due for an upgrade?) to balance sheet adjustments (how quickly can a wallet be rebalanced?).”

A software system has been built on Google Cloud that ‘synchronizes the Ethereum blockchain to computers running Parity in Google Cloud, performs a daily extraction of data from the Ethereum blockchain ledger, including the results of smart contract transactions, such as token transfers, and de-normalizes and stores date-partitioned data to BigQuery for easy and cost-effective exploration.’

Google then demonstrated a few examples of how this data could be put to use. The first of which was a list of the most popular smart contracts by transaction count. The most popular ERC721 (collectible) smart contract by transaction count is the main contract for Cryptokitties unsurprisingly. This data can then be probed deeper to find out more information on the evolution of these digital moggies in the form of some fancy charts.

Another example was a look at the top ten most popular ERC20 contracts and some statistics from number five, OmiseGO, with evidence of airdrops showing a high number of OMG receivers but no increase in senders.

Girl in a jacket


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