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Microsoft, Salesforce and the Ethereum Foundation are among the major new companies joining enterprise blockchain platform Hyperledger. The company’s executive director, Brian Behlendorf, confirmed the news to Cointelegraph ahead of a public unveiling at the ongoing Synchronize Europe conference in London on June 18.

Part of a monthly update on new members of Hyperledger, Behlendorf said June’s rollout included the Ethereum Foundation as a non-profit member, while supply chain standards body GS1 is also now on board.

Hosted by the Linux Foundation, Hyperledger already counts IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Boerse and others among its participants.

“It shows the expanding footprint that we have out there in terms of not only concentrating on the core which has been the use of Hyperledger Fabric,” Behlendorf told Cointelegraph. He added:

“Microsoft has Hyperledger Fabric as a service offering on Azure; that’s starting to get traction there, and they wanted to deepen that relationship.”

Continuing, Behlendorf noted Salesforce — which offers a range of cloud-based software solutions for businesses — was joining on the back of releasing its software-as-a-service product built on Hyperledger late last month.

The company already has a partnership with the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, he added, making it a natural step for the Ethereum Foundation to join as part of efforts to become closer to the largest altcoin’s community.

“What we’re hoping to do is really tap into the creative energy and developer passion that’s in the Ethereum community and figure out how do we even more tightly talk about the full spectrum from permissioned to unpermissioned out there in the blockchain space, and what role we could play in facilitating that whole spectrum,” he concluded.

Other companies will also join Hyperledger at the same time, with full details due in the formal announcement.


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Blockchain software firm Digital Asset has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Aurora to make its open-source smart contract language Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML) more interoperable. The partnership was revealed in a press release acquired by a Cointelegraph correspondent at the IMN Synchronize Europe Conference in London on June 18.

The partnership will enable multi-platform DAML support for various blockchain networks, notably including Hyperledger Fabric and blockchain consortium R3’s Corda, both specifically cited in the press release.

Introduced in April 2016, DAML is an expressive language designed for financial institutions and enterprises to model and execute agreements through distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Digital Asset’s cooperation with AWS Aurora — Amazon’s cloud storage engine — will enable firms to build applications using DAML and later add them to various blockchain networks. The integration — to be available as of July — is reportedly enabled by Blockchain Technology Partners’ (BTP) management platform Sextant, available on the AWS Marketplace.

This will be possible without a change of code, and ostensibly mean that companies do not have to commit to one specific ledger before building infrastructure, the press release notes.

After open-sourcing DAML this April, Digital Asset soon announced it was integrating the language with Hyperledger Sawtooth, a modular platform for distributed ledgers, likewise enabled via a collaboration with BTP.

The press release notes that integration with Fabric was commercially enabled by HACERA’s Unbounded Network, which connects public and permissioned blockchains across clouds.

That same month, Digital Asset partnered with major cloud computing company VMware to integrate DAML with the latter’s blockchain platform.

As reported, Amazon has for its part released its own managed blockchain service this April via AWS. This blockchain-as-a-service allows users to create and maintain blockchains with more ease on the Ethereum and Hyperledger networks by automating certain aspects of blockchain management.


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The IT subsidiary of South Korean tech giant Samsung is launching three new products aimed at addressing clients worries about blockchain, the company confirmed in a press release on June 18.

Following what it describes as trouble implementing the technology, Samsung SDS said its new offerings will address core areas of concern among its client base.

“When companies apply blockchain technology to their business, they have concerns on  Converging services across various industries, connecting different blockchain technologies [...] easy application and expansion of blockchain in timely manner,” the release states. It adds:

“Samsung SDS proposes ‘3C’ solutions to solve such difficulties; Convergence, Connectivity, Cloud.”

The products themselves are a blockchain-based “Automatic Insurance Claim Service” for uniting the healthcare and financial industries, a pilot scheme for linking the blockchain platforms of two airports, and a cloud-based implementation of its existing Nexledger platform.

The insurance tool should go live by the end of August, Samsung SDS forecasts, while additional partnerships to expand usage of its blockchain suite are also in progress.
“We will expand our blockchain business with cloud-based Nexledger Universal to support enterprise customers’ digital transformations,” Jeanie Hong, senior vice president and leader of the Blockchain Center at Samsung SDS commented.

Samsung had already formally pledged to build on its blockchain presence this week. According to a report citing vice president Jay V. Lee, the company is interested in transferring to bleeding-edge tech, which includes 6G communications as well as blockchain.

In South Korea more broadly, as Cointelegraph reported, enthusiasm around blockchain technology continues to build from sectors including banking.


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Members of the community around decentralized platform Tezos have raised concerns about an alleged upcoming hard fork of its blockchain. The issue appeared in a blog post by Tezos Commons executive director Shaun Belcher on June 17.

Discussing what he described as evidence of collusion between two third-party entities, Belcher warned that the hard fork, planned for September, was an attempt to split Tezos user sentiment.

The parties involved are the management team of OCamlPro, a French programming language, and blockchain fund Starchain Capital, which Belcher intimates as mysterious.

“It’s worth remembering that anyone can fork the Tezos software, which is open source,” Belcher wrote. He added:

“The issue is not that they intend to fork Tezos, but the alleged manner in which OCamlPro leadership conducted itself, in bad faith, and misrepresentation of historical behavior to be in the best interest of the community.”

The dispute centers around several areas, including claims made by OCamlPro in correspondence with Starchain.
Its founder, Fabrisse Le Lessant, for instance, claims he mentored Tezos’ co-founder, Arthur Breitman.

“They did not create OCaml, Fabrice was not the ‘teacher’ of Tezos co-founder Arthur Breitman, and the main Tezos engineers who were originally at OCamlPro are now working at Nomadic Labs, not OCamlPro,” Belcher highlights.

The real issue stems from the apparent links between Le Lessant and Starchain, which appeared as a United States registered company just weeks ago.

Uploading copies of related documents, Belcher reinforced existing suspicions on social media that the entire hard fork was a calculated move.

“If any of these assumptions formed from these revelations are incorrect, we strongly urge Fabrice and others from OCamlPro to address these concerns,” he concluded.

Hard forks have succeeded in sparking community division in the past. Notably, the bitcoin cash (BCH) fork of the bitcoin (BTC) blockchain delivered two opposing forces which initially panicked markets in 2017.

BCH then itself hard forked in November 2018, creating an opposing faction within the user base while also sending ripples through BTC markets.


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5
Alior Bank, a bank based in Warsaw, Poland, is using the public Ethereum blockchain to authenticate its clients’ documents, according to a report by Forbes on June 17.

According to the report, when a client at Alior receives a document, they can now verify its authenticity by following a website link to its spot on the public blockchain. This means that customers can verify that the document in question was in fact issued, in the exact wording provided, when the bank claims. The blockchain technology lead at Alior, Piotr Adamczyk, explains:

“We know exactly in which block of Ethereum the document with a given hash is published. If we know the block number, we also know the timestamp [...] We know that the document was published some time ago and hasn’t been changed in that time [if the hash stored on the blockchain is identical to the hash calculated from the document], so we can prove it hasn’t been replaced on our servers.”

Alior reportedly developed this blockchain solution in response to changing regulations in Poland, where the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection ruled in 2017 that website pages do not constitute a “durable medium” necessary for issuing customer documents — the issue being that website pages are too easily changed, making them not suitably durable.

Thus, Alior came up with a blockchain solution that provides online documentation through a suitably durable medium. Moreover, Alior management reportedly believes it is the first bank to use a public, as opposed to a private, blockchain for customer service. Blockchain strategy lead at Alior Tomasz Sienicki commented:

“We want people to verify that we did everything right and we don’t conceal anything. If we say the documents are actually verified and authentic, everybody can check it and confirm [...] That’s not possible using a private blockchain.”

According to a recent analysis by Cointelegraph, banks in South Korea are increasingly making use of blockchain tech, from solutions in document verifications to peer-to-peer services; however, the country’s banks are not deploying cryptocurrency services.

Financial analyst Sung-jung Kim commented in an interview to Cointelegraph on the situation, saying that banks are primarily interested in creating private blockchains to use, or finding hybridized blockchains that have already been developed.


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Canadian pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart has partnered with blockchain company TruTrace Technologies Inc. to launch a pilot program for cannabis supply chain tracking via blockchain, according to a report by Bloomberg on June 17.

According to the report, this blockchain tracking system will be used to identify and track medical cannabis, with data included such as the strain’s source and genetics. This data will purportedly allow doctors to issue more effective prescriptions, as well as provide robust information for medical marijuana clinical trials.

Shoppers Drug Mart executive Ken Weisbrod commented on how this new level of specificity can help, saying:

“They can say, ‘This particular product, strain, cultivar has this chemistry component and my patient is consistently on this drug and he’s gotten great outcomes [...] Then we can start triangulating that data. This is a huge leap for the industry.”

The motivation behind the tracking system is to assuage the concerns of patients and doctors alike, by “mak[ing] it more like traditional medicine,” says Weisbrod.

Commenting on TruTrace’s motivations, the firm’s CEO Robert Galarza said that he hoped the company’s recent partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart can be parlayed into similar arrangements with American pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens, which already sell cannabis-based products.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Colorado-based Internet of Things car security firm CyberCar partnered with cannabis supply chain software company Webjoint in 2017 to use a blockchain-based car tracking system for cannabis deliveries.

According to the report, the blockchain system would track drivers and vehicles automatically. Webjoint CEO Chris Dell’Olio commented on how CyberCar’s driver tracking would help its business, saying:

"Compliance reporting has always been the largest hurdle for the cannabis industry. With CyberCar embedded in our solution, we are able to totally automate all municipal and state reporting requirements.”


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Major Spanish bank Santander has been denied an appeal regarding a decision by the Court of Justice of the State of São Paulo in a case against crypto exchange Mercado Bitcoin, Cointelegraph Brazil reports on June 17.

Santander was sued by the Brazilian exchange Mercado Bitcoin in 2018, after the bank purportedly closed the exchange’s account at its sole discretion. The bank, which has branches in Latin America, cited concerns over the origin of the account’s fund due to the nature of the crypto exchange’s activities.

Over 1 million reals (around $350,000) were locked, but the court subsequently ordered Santander to free the funds. Additionally, the bank must pay a monthly fine equal to 1% interest for the funds that were locked; this reportedly comes out to over 200,000 reals ($51,000).

Today’s decision rejected an additional appeal, and reconfirmed the previous ruling that compels Santander to return the funds and pay the fine.

Cryptocurrency exchanges have previously run into problems with banks closing their accounts, as some financial institutions find the cryptocurrency industry to be too unregulated and/or volatile to conduct business with firms in the space.

Last May, Finnish cryptocurrency wallet service Prasos Oy said that it was one step from being shut down, as most Finnish banks would no longer do business with them.
Banks were reportedly concerned that doing business with Prasos Oy would run afoul of current Finnish anti-money laundering laws.

Last April, three Chilean crypto exchanges filed complaints with an appeals court over their accounts being frozen by banks in March. The banks Itau Corpbanca and Scotiabank had locked the accounts for the exchanges BUDA and CryptoMKT, and the public bank Banco del Estado de Chile had frozen Orionx’s account as well as BUDA’s and CryptoMKT’s.


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Nonprofit organization The Zcash Foundation has partnered with blockchain company Parity Technologies to release a new, open source software client for the cryptocurrency Zcash, according to a press release on June 17.

The new software client, Zebra, purportedly exists to provide redundancy in the case of its first client — Zcashd — failing. Zcash hopes this will provide better security for its crypto network as a whole.

Additionally, the client is designed to improve Zcash performance in other ways, such as having a means to “detect implementation-specific bugs” and avert problems related to its consensus mechanism.

Parity Technologies has built other notable cryptocurrency clients in the past, such as Parity Ethereum. Parity CTO Fredrik Harryson commented on the purported advantages of its latest client for Zcash, saying:

“The community wins across the board [...] Zcash can now boast a more diversified community that can effectively tailor experiences for Layer 2 developers as well as end-users."

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the cryptocurrency firm behind Zcash is currently facing a $2 million lawsuit served by a disgruntled ex-employee.

Software Engineer Simon Liu sued former employer Zerocoin Electric Coin Company on the grounds that his contract entitled him to 15,000 stock units, and a “Founder’s Reward,” for which the company knowingly could not pay, according to a copy of the official civil case filing. However, the company sent a letter to its employees at the end of 2018, saying that they had no stock option plan and had not issued formal option grants to its employees.


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The government of Georgia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with blockchain technology firm Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) to implement blockchain-enabled projects across business, education and government services. The news was revealed in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on June 17.

The MoU has been signed between the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science and IOHK, and will see the two entities collaborate on developing the technical, commercial and operational capacities to foster blockchain projects and support fintech businesses in the blockchain and digital asset sector.

IOHK — the firm that developed the cryptocurrency cardano (ADA) — was founded by crypto entrepreneur Charles Hoskinson, who also serves as IOHK’s CEO. Hoskinson is a co-founder of the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, although IOHK now works with the altcoin’s younger iteration, ethereum classic (ETC).

In particular, the Georgian government has reportedly identified higher education as an area of importance in which blockchain solutions can be used to ensure the secure verification of national university qualifications, as well to ensure their comparability with European ones.

The Ministry and IOHK will reportedly further implement blockchain in order to bolster the security of confidential data and to integrate smart contract functionality into Ministry services.

As the press release notes, the MoU forms part of the country’s bid to become more conducive to business development.

In a statement, Mikheil Batiashvili, Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, has drawn attention to Georgia’s progress in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” index — rising from its 112th ranking to 6th as of 2018.

As previously reported, Georgia’s government has tended to pursue a blockchain-friendly, low-regulation stance. In 2017, Georgia ostensibly became the first nation to implement distributed ledger technology for securing and validating government records.

The country is also reported the fastest-growing electricity consumption per capita in all of Eastern Europe and Central Asia since 2009, with 10-15% of electricity devoted specifically to crypto mining, as per a World Bank report cited by Cointelegraph earlier this month.


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10
Five cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea have increased their liability to users in line with demands from regulators. Local English-language news outlet The Korea Herald reported the news on June 17, citing Yonhap News Agency.

A year after the Fair Trade Commission requested Bithumb and four other platforms to adapt their policy, the companies will now hold themselves accountable in the event of user funds being stolen.

The onus for paying out will lie with the exchanges even if no willful or gross negligence occurred on their part, The Korea Herald stated.

Previously, exchanges only reimbursed users if it was proven that their own systems were at fault.

The changes are pertinent for the domestic exchange sector, with Bithumb among those which suffered hacks of user funds over the past year.

As Cointelegraph reported, increasing security for South Korean platforms is also necessary due to the increased risk of cyberattacks from neighboring North Korea.

Late last month, a phishing scam targeting users of South Korean exchange Upbit appeared to be the work of North Korean state actors.

At the same time, many South Korean exchanges were reporting gross losses for 2018 as the cryptocurrency bear market took hold, with data showing only Upbit making a profit. Coinnest, another exchange, shut down altogether in May.


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South American online marketplace Mercado Libre is working with Facebook on the social network’s Libra cryptocurrency project, Cointelegraph Brazil reports on June 14.

A MercadoLibre executive told Cointelegraph Brazil that the purported cryptocurrency will be integrated into the e-commerce platform as a form of payment. While the anonymous executive confirmed the partnership, further details were not forthcoming.

The executive stated that it was likely the company would operate as a node in Facebook’s purportedly forthcoming blockchain network.

Mercado Libre is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in South America with operations in 19 countries.
According to a recent report, the testnet for Facebook’s Libra platform will be unveiled later this week. The ubiquitous social media platform has reportedly gathered support from dozens of firms including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber. 

A recent report by The Block stated that a consortium has been formed to govern the project, including such organizations as venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, and non-profit organizations including Mercy Corps.

Recently, RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney and Zachary Schwartzman stated that Facebook’s Libra stablecoin would be one of the most significant events in the company’s history, saying that it would “unlock new engagement and revenue streams.”


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Social media giant Facebook will unveil the Libra Association, which will operate its bespoke cryptocurrency Libra, on June 18, cryptocurrency news outlet The Block reported on June 14.

Per the report, Facebook and dozens of its partners will unveil the Libra Association — which will be based out of Geneva — as the entity that will oversee the company’s Libra cryptocurrency project. During the event, the company is also expected to launch the testnet of its blockchain.

The Block claims to have seen an unspecified blog post from Facebook, according to which the Libra crypto asset will be hosted on the dedicated Libra Blockchain and backed by the Libra Reserve. The Libra Reserve is reportedly a store of real assets that should supposedly grant the token “stability, low inflation, global acceptance, and fungibility.”

The Block further notes that the software underlying the network will be open-sourced under the Apache 2.0 license. The social media giant allegedly hopes that the system will help people without access to the financial system. Lastly, per the report, the company also declared that it intends to focus on regulatory compliance:

“Collaborating and innovating with the financial sector, including regulators and experts across a variety of industries, is the only way to ensure a sustainable, secure, and trusted framework underpins this new system.”

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, multiple sources were already expecting Facebook to launch its cryptocurrency on June 18.

More recently, news broke that Facebook has allegedly sealed backing from over a dozen firms that include Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber for its soon-to-be-unveiled cryptocurrency project. Each firm reportedly contributed $10 million to the project.


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Jack Dorsey, the founder of social media website Twitter and mobile payments provider Square, went into depth on his plans for his new team dedicated to improving the crypto sector at Square in an interview with The Next Web on June 14.

According to Dorsey, this initiative, Square Crypto, will add to the fiat payment company’s operations by providing an infrastructure for frictionless internet payments. Right now, he says that regulations and partnerships slow Square down — obstacles that he hopes to avoid in the future with an improved crypto infrastructure:

“Just from a business perspective, we don’t look like an Internet company today. An Internet company can launch something and it’s available around the world. Whereas with payments, you have to go to each market and pay attention to regulators. You need a partnership with a local bank. This is a very slow process in any new market.”

The team’s efforts to provide solutions for the crypto space will reportedly all be made open source. Dorsey says that security and currency efficiency are areas he hopes to tackle with the team, as well as potentially less prominent issues like code reviews, which Dorsey cites as a major issue for bitcoin (BTC).

The planned team will reportedly be a small group, comprised of a handful of crypto-literate software engineers and a single designer. Dorsey plans to work directly with the team. The first announced dev hire for the team was Steve Lee, a former director at Google.

Dorsey also touched on the role of including a designer, saying that better design could make the crypto space more accessible to the layperson:

“This designer will be tasked with doing educational tasks [...] These will include making it easier for ordinary people to conceptualize using digital currencies like Bitcoin as an everyday tool for payment.”

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Square recently saw a revenue high in BTC through its payment app Cash, an option made available to users in February 2018. According to its first quarter report for 2019, the company has made a net profit of about $830,000 through BTC in the quarter, with a total BTC revenue of $65.5 million.


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Social media platform Facebook has reportedly secured support from dozens of players in the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector for its forthcoming digital currency. The overall roster was announced by technology-focused media outlet the Block on June 14.

Earlier today, news broke that Facebook has allegedly sealed backing from over a dozen firms that include Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber for its soon-to-be-unveiled cryptocurrency project, dubbed “Libra.” Together, these investors form the Libra Association.

The materials cited by the Block indicate that the consortium formed to govern the project will also include investors such as venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, and non-profit organizations including Mercy Corps. Among other members, the news outlet named stakeholders from various industries, including telecommunications, e-commerce, and media.

The full list of the Libra association founding members, which Facebook is reportedly planning to announce next week:

A source familiar with the matter told the Block that the company is aiming to attract 100 members in the governing consortium. If all goes according to plan, Facebook will purportedly secure $1 billion from the 100 participants as it is reportedly charging each member $10 million to manage their own node.

Earlier today it was announced that Facebook had hired Standard Chartered Bank’s head of public affairs Ed Bowles in anticipation of the greater regulatory scrutiny in Europe over its plans to launch its crypto asset and other financial services to its 2.4 billion users. Bowles will join the company in September, and is set to serve as the company’s London-based director of public policy.

Today, global investment bank RBC Capital analysts Mark Mahaney and Zachary Schwartzman said that Facebook’s long-rumored stablecoin project “may prove to be one of the most important initiatives in the history of the company.”


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Major crypto platform Coinbase has added a course on MakerDao’s stablecoin dai in its educational portal Coinbase Earn, according to an official blog post by Coinbase on June 10.

According to the post, dai is the first stablecoin covered by Coinbase Earn, which will offer videos and quizzes to help users learn about the token, and receive some Dai for their efforts.

As summarized in the announcement, the Ethereum-based stablecoin Dai is backed by its sister token maker (MKR) and is balanced around retaining a stable value of $1 over time.
Coinbase first announced that they were adding dai to their exchange on May 23. At the time, Coinbase commented that it would be available in most jurisdictions with the exception of New York.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, dai has been worth less than a dollar — lower than its stated goal — for much of 2019, which has sparked at least five voting sessions centered on rebalancing the coin’s value via increasing its stability fee.

Coinbase also comments that it anticipates earning in general to grow into a relevant crypto-based activity, ranking alongside the known areas of buying, staking, voting, and mining.

Coinbase Earn launched on May 18, following its announcement near the end of 2018. It purports to be a solution for potential investors who are interested in crypto, particularly ones less prominent than bitcoin (BTC), but are reluctant to invest without more information:

“...one of the biggest barriers preventing people from exploring a new digital asset was a lack of knowledge about that asset. Many of the people we surveyed expressed a strong desire to begin learning about new and different crypto assets beyond Bitcoin, but didn’t know where to begin.”


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