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hyperledger adds 12 new general members

There’s a lot going on in the world of decentralised networking and not just the daily rollercoaster ride of the cryptocurrency markets. A decade after the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto first unleashed Bitcoin on an unsuspecting world, the blockchain has grown and branched out and now a thousand flowers blossom, some of them rather peculiar blooms indeed.

Look around and you’ll see that blockchains are apparently the answer to every problem. From replacing the global banking system to guaranteeing the provenance of diamonds to paying your dentist – there’s a blockchain for that.

Overhyped they may be, but blockchains actually are a big deal and they will get bigger. Their potential for secure ‘trustless’ interchange is too great to ignore and once the silliness has died down inevitably some serious use cases will emerge.

Indeed that’s already starting to happen, hence this blog. We’ll be updating this page every few days to reflect the serious innovations bubbling up in this most interesting and volatile of spaces. (Also check out our rolling 5G coverage.)

13/12/2018 Hyperledger adds 12 new members

Hyperledger, the open source permissioned blockchain project, has announced 12 new general members including some major banks, consortia and cloud firms. General members have certain marketing and recruitment opportunities as well as bing able to participate in members-only committees.

The latest general members feature a strong showing from China. They are: Alibaba Cloud, BlockDao (Hangzhou) Information Technology, Citi, Deutsche Telekom, Guangzhishu (Beijing) Technology Co. Ltd, Guangzhou Technology Innovation Space Information Technology Co. Ltd, KEB Hana Bank, HealthVerity, MediConCen, Techrock, we.trade and Xooa. These additions bring the total number of general members to 256.

Four new associate members also joined Hyperledger this month: Association of Blockchain Developers of Saint Petersburg, Business School of Hunan University, Sun Yat-sun University and Wall Street Blockchain Alliance.

Associate membership is limited to pre-approved non-profits, open source projects, and government entities. There are now 16 associate members.

The new members were announced at the Hyperledger Global Forum in Basel, Switzerland.

“The growing Hyperledger community reflects the increasing importance of open source efforts to build enterprise blockchain technologies across industries and markets,” said executive director Brian Behlendorf. “The latest members showcase the widening interest in and impact of DLT and Hyperledger.”

A number of blockchain projects are based on Hyperledger; some of them like we.trade and the Walmart food supply chain system are featured elsewhere in this blog.

23/10/2018 Blockchain too immature for government use, finds Australia’s DTA

The Australian government’s Digital Transformation Agency has cast doubts over the validity of blockchains for governmental purposes.

The DTA, which was granted AUS$700,000 to investigate the technology, has concluded after initial research that in almost every case examined existing technologies are more suitable than blockchain.

The agency has been working with a number of government agencies to develop prototypes for the use of blockchain to deliver services, including with the Department of Human Services for welfare payments and cargo settlement.

Peter Alexander, CDO at the DTA said the technology is worth keeping an eye on but as yet is too immature.

“Our position today, and this is an early write-up, is that blockchain is an interesting technology that would be well worth being observed, but without standardisation and a lot more work, for every use of blockchain that you would consider today there is a better technology,” Alexander told a Senate hearing on Tuesday, as reported by InnovationAus.com.

Alexander said that one of the defining features of blockchains, the potential for anonymity, is among the biggest stumbling blocks.

“Generally speaking when the government is engaging with someone, we want to have a trusted relationship with them. We want to know who they are and give them a personalised service,” he said. “Blockchain is good for low-trust engagement, you don’t know who you’re dealing with but have a series of ledgers that can give some validation and support.”

According to Alexander, blockchain is at the “top of the hype cycle”, with demand driven by the industry.

“It would be fair to say that a lot of the big vendors are pushing blockchain very hard and internationally most of the hype around blockchain is coming from vendors and companies, not from governments and users and deliverers of services,” he said.

23/10/2018 China mulls anonymity ban

China is another nation that finds blockchain’s anonymity a problem. Earlier this year Chinese students encoded allegations of sexual harassment against a prominent professor on the Ethereum blockchain to evade the country’s censors, all social media posts on the issue having been blocked. The same technique was used to spread news about low quality and counterfeit vaccines, another scandal the government sought to cover up.

But the Chinese government has drafted a new regulation that would require users to provide their real names and national ID card numbers when registering for a blockchain service, reports The Verge. The policy would also demand that blockchain services remove ‘illegal information’ before it can be spread among users. And under the proposed legislation, service providers would also be required to retain backups of user data for six months and to hand it over to the police on request.

China has been bullish on blockchain for the last few months, with one commentator recently claiming it is worth ten times as much as the internet. The countries tech giants are pouring significant resources into its development citing smoother trade and anti-fraud possibilities. But without the possibility of anonymity, a permanent ledger could also be a powerful tool in the authoritarian regime’s surveillance and control systems.

China also banned cryptocurrency trading earlier this year, although apparently this has been less than effective. The Ethereum Hotel recently opened in the country, accepting payment in cryptocurrencies.

Next page: UK leads in blockchain deployments says Capgemini; Microsoft’s strategy for decentralised identity; Gary Cohn joins fintech startup Spring Labs; Horizen’s privacy platform; Zone and Icons launch ledger to authenticate and track sports memorabilia; Nick Szabo, inventor of the smart contract, on its evolution; Real-world use cases emerging; Blockchain-based driving licence trial rolled out by Australian state

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