Congo mine deploys digital weapons in fight against conflict minerals 24725

In a small shack overlooking muddy pits hewn out of eastern Congo’s rolling green hills, a government official puts a barcoded tag on a sack of ore rich in tantalum, a rare metal widely used in smartphones. With a handheld device linked to a server in the cloud, the agent scans the barcode, uploading data including the sealed bag’s weight, when it was tagged, and by whom.

It’s the latest initiative in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to improve systems meant to show minerals entering global supply chains come from mines that don’t use child labor or fund warlords and corrupt soldiers.

The new system developed by RCS Global, a company in Berlin that audits supply chains, started in January at Societe Miniere de Bisunzu’s (SMB) mine near Rubaya, which has some of Africa’s largest deposits of coltan, a tantalum-rich ore.

“It allows purchasers of SMB material to be sure that it actually comes from that mine site and is not smuggled into the supply chain from other mines, as much as possible,” said Ferdinand Maubrey, a managing director at RCS.

Whether the new digital approach to tracing metals such as tantalum and cobalt succeeds is of keen interest to companies, especially carmakers like Tesla, General Motors and Ford, as regulators on both sides of the Atlantic put pressure on end-users to prove their supply chains are clean.

Now, companies mostly rely on a paper-based certification scheme. But U.N. experts have documented cases of tags used to identify clean minerals being stolen in another part of eastern Congo and sold to smugglers – allowing them to pass off ore from blacklisted mines as responsibly sourced.

Maubrey said the new system had helped prevent tainted ore being mixed in with SMB’s products by creating new obstacles. To use stolen tags, for example, a smuggler would also need to steal both the scanner and the laptop linked to it – which Maubrey said would be easily detected.

Even so, Maubrey conceded the system has limitations. For one, it does not use available technology to pinpoint the GPS coordinates of where the ore was tagged in real time, largely because of the high costs involved, he said.

SMB Chief Executive Ben Mwangachuchu also said digital systems could be corrupted if the government agents who tag bags conspire with smugglers to enter incorrect data from the outset.

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Alibaba and OneConnect take the top two positions in Blockchain Patents list and file IPO prospectuses on the same day 16382

On the afternoon of November 18, BlockData released China Blockchain Patents Report 2019 and the Comprehensive Strength list of China’s Blockchain Patents 2019. Alibaba ranked first in the list, while OneConnect and China Unicom took second and third place, respectively. In an accompanying ranking by strength of blockchain patents specifically in the fintech field, OneConnect topped the list, followed by Ping An Technology, Hangzhou Fuzamei Technology, Launch Tech, Baidu, Tencent Technology and WeBank. In order to comprehensively demonstrate the strength of all companies having obtained blockchain patents, the list is based on an analysis that takes into consideration five factors: the number of patent applications, the number of patents granted, the scope of patent protection, the location in the patent family and the application for the patent.

Just prior to the launch of the list, the top two performers, Alibaba and OneConnect, had issued IPO prospectuses in Hong Kong and the United States and were receiving substantial attention from capital markets.

On the evening of November 13, Alibaba submitted a preliminary prospectus that appeared on the website of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK), announcing a plan to issue 500 million new ordinary shares worldwide and list on the main board of the exchange. If Alibaba successfully launches an IPO in Hong Kong, it will be the largestever such transaction in the Hong Kong market. Alibaba will also be the first Chinese Internet company to be listed in both Hong Kong and New York. Based on Alibaba’s prospectus, as of June 30, 2019, the company held 6,175 authorized patents and 13,336 publicly filed patent applications in China. Elsewhere, the company held 3,112 authorized patents and 9,742 publicly filed patent applications.

On November 13, OneConnect formally applied for an IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to the prospectus, as of the end of September 2019, the company has applied for 2,850 domestic patents and 542 foreign patents. OneConnect topped the list in the accompanying ranking by strength of blockchain patents specifically in the fintech field released by BlockData. OneConnect’s blockchain solution FiMAX has been implemented in the Chinese government’s super vehicle management office as well as in solutions for supply chain finance, trade finance, small and medium-sized enterprise loans, intelligent environmental protection, mortgages, drug traceability and electronic medical records spanning five key sectors: finance, smart city, real estate, automotive and healthcare.

Walmart Canada and DLT Labs™ launch world’s largest full production blockchain solution for industrial application 18696

Walmart Canada and DLT Labs™ today announce the launch of Walmart Canada’s blockchain-based freight and payment network, the world’s largest full production blockchain solution for any industrial application. The new system uses distributed ledger technology to track deliveries, verify transactions, and automate payments and reconciliation among Walmart Canada and its carriers which deliver inventory to over 400 retail stores across Canada annually. All Walmart Canada’s third-party carriers are scheduled to be live by February 1, 2020. The solution is accessible using a web portal and an easy to use mobile application.

Walmart Canada partnered with DLT Labs™ to automate freight and payment data using DLT’s leading supply chain platform DL Asset Track™. The new blockchain-based freight and payment network manages, integrates and synchronizes all the supply chain and logistics data in real time, aggregating the data between Walmart Canada and its fleet of third-party trucks on a shared ledger. The solution also automates the myriad necessary calculations enabling real-time invoicing, payments and settlement. At the same time, it seamlessly integrates with each company’s legacy systems, so organizations can continue to follow their existing processes without retraining or a new investment in technology. This innovation arose from Walmart Canada’s continued focus on reducing costs to ensure the lowest everyday prices for Canadian consumers.

John Bayliss, senior vice-president, logistics and supply chain, Walmart Canada, says, “Walmart Canada is dedicated to efficiency across our business, including most importantly in our supply chain and logistics management. Our carrier partners move over 500,000 loads of inventory nationally, which creates an extraordinary volume of transaction data. This new dynamic and interactive blockchain technology platform is creating complete transparency between Walmart Canada and all of our carrier partners.” Bayliss adds, “Blockchain is enabling a material advance in our smart transportation network, with expedited payments, extensive cost savings and other benefits among our supply chain. Moreover, this degree of improved efficiency represents a powerful platform for us to continue to reduce our environmental footprint and continue our leadership in environmental sustainability.”

Loudon Owen, CEO of DLT Labs™, says, “Walmart is a global leader in innovation, with a relentless focus on improving people’s lives, and DLT Labs™ is delighted to partner with such an extraordinary organization to bring the world’s first and largest blockchain solution for industry into production. This proves the high value of blockchain and sets the stage to revolutionize supply chain management and logistics, due to its ability to enable secure information sharing, manage trust and reduce waste in multi-partner operational processes.” Owen adds, “Just as the Roman’s concept, ‘dictum meum pactum’ (meaning ‘my word is my bond’) was fundamental to building trade, this product creates a secure digital handshake using blockchain to renew trust and efficiency in global trade.”

Bison Transport was the carrier partner in the pilot of this new blockchain-based freight and payment network. According to Rod Hendrickson, VP Finance, Bison Transport, “Great partners find innovative ways to create business solutions that benefit both parties. The blockchain initiative we worked on with Walmart and DLT Labs is just that – a mutually beneficial solution that works well for Bison Transport and Walmart Canada.  This project is a new paradigm that will greatly improve workflows, reduce paperwork, and make the business we do with Walmart more efficient.”

Walmart Canada’s distribution centres are hubs of activity, with more than 4,500 associates and drivers moving thousands of items daily from sites located in CalgaryMississauga and Cornwall to stores from coast to coast across Canada. Walmart Canada operates 8.75 million square feet of distribution center and moves more than 853 million cases of merchandise annually. These goods are transported by a combination of 3rd party fleet as well as Walmart Canada’s own fleet of 180 tractors, 2,000 trailers and more than 350 drivers. Each third-party trailer tracks approximately 200 data points per shipment. Automating this data collection and management using blockchain results in a significant cost-saving.

Walmart Canada is committed to ongoing leadership in developing smart transportation networks, having already established more efficient techniques for loading, routing, driving, and energy efficient improvements with truck manufacturers. Interconnecting the data between Walmart Canada and its carrier partners provides a platform to materially improve operations, delivery coordination and routing efficiency, waste and cost reduction, and automated payment reconciliation and processing.

Credit/Debit Card Top-Up for Singapore MCO Visa Card is Now Available 19757

Crypto.com, the pioneering payments and cryptocurrency platform, is introducing SGD direct top-up for MCO Visa Cards in Singapore. A frequently requested feature, cardholders can now fund their MCO Visa Card with credit/debit cards, in addition to topping up from their Crypto Wallet.

Users can top up their MCO Visa Cards with no fees using debit cards and a 1% processing fee (based on the top up amount) will be applicable for top up using credit cards. Users can top up their MCO Visa card now by following these instructions.

Note: Requires app version iOS 3.40/ Android 3.40 or higher

About Crypto.com

Crypto.com was founded in 2016 on a simple belief: it’s a basic human right for everyone to control their money, data and identity. With over 1 million users on its platform today, Crypto.com provides a powerful alternative to traditional financial services, turning its vision of “cryptocurrency in every wallet” into reality, one customer at a time. Crypto.com is built on a solid foundation of security, privacy and compliance and is the first cryptocurrency company in the world to have CCSS Level 3, ISO27001:2013 and PCI:DSS 3.2.1, Level 1 compliance. Crypto.com is headquartered in Hong Kong with a 205+ strong team. For more information, please visit www.crypto.com.

StockCharts.com Introduces Cryptocurrency Data and Advanced Charting for Digital Assets 20658

StockCharts.com has announced the addition of cryptocurrency data to its award-winning financial charting platform and full suite of investment analysis tools. The initial slate of data includes 15 prominent cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, XRP, Bitcoin Cash, Monero and many more, with others expected to be added in the near future.

“The advanced charting tools are the heart and soul of StockCharts, but data is the lifeblood,” said Chip Anderson, founder and President of StockCharts.com. “Our data coverage is an ever-expanding puzzle, and the addition of crypto is the latest piece. We’ve watched this market carefully over the past few years, and the time is right to bring this growing new asset class to StockCharts. I’m excited to help our users chart and analyze the crypto world like never before with this new data now on the site.”

Cryptocurrency data launched on the StockCharts.com website during the week of Nov. 4 and is now available for charting analysis to both free users and paid members. All cryptocurrency data is updated in real time, 24/7.

“We’re absolutely thrilled about the addition of crypto data to StockCharts.com,” said Grayson Roze, StockCharts.com VP of Operations. “We’re always looking for ways to deliver more value to the investment routines of our users, and supporting the crypto markets as we now do is a wonderful next step in that mission. Adding this data is a great boost to our product on its own, but in concert with the ongoing rollout of our new Advanced Charting Platform, the excitement has only just begun.”

StockCharts.com users will be able to track cryptos with advanced technical charts, run custom technical scans for all cryptocurrencies and set automatic alerts for coins that they follow most closely.

The launch slate of cryptocurrencies on StockCharts.com includes:

  • Bitcoin ($BTCUSD)
  • Ethereum ($ETHUSD)
  • XRP ($XRPUSD)
  • Bitcoin Cash ($BCHUSD)
  • Tether ($USDTUSD)
  • Litecoin ($LTCUSD)
  • EOS ($EOSUSD)
  • Binance Coin ($BNBUSD)
  • Chainlin ($LINKUSD)
  • Bitcoin SV ($BSVUSD)
  • TRON ($TRXUSD)
  • Stellar ($XLMUSD)
  • Cardano ($ADAUSD)
  • Monero ($XMRUSD)
  • IOTA ($MIOTAUSD)

A complete, real-time summary of all cryptocurrencies currently available on StockCharts can be found at StockCharts.com/crypto.

About StockCharts

StockCharts.com is the web’s leading technical analysis and financial charting platform for online retail investors. Founded in 1999 by early Microsoft developer Chip Anderson, the company has been an industry leader in the financial technology space for nearly two decades, providing innovative, award-winning charting and analysis tools to a global audience.

By using technology to help investors visualize financial data, StockCharts.com allows users to better analyze the markets, monitor and manage their portfolios, find promising new stocks and funds to buy and, ultimately, make smart, well-timed investment decisions. With over 1.5 million active monthly users and counting around the world, the company serves an ever-growing, ever-changing array of active traders and investors.

Bahrain to Fast-track Setup Process for Global Startups 23291

Bahrain

The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) – the investment promotion agency for the Kingdom of Bahrain in partnership with Web Summit – announced today a fast-track setup process for startups globally looking to take advantage of the business environment and startup ecosystem in Bahrain. The initiative will also enable startups to access the broader MENA region markets with the hyper-connected Kingdom of Bahrain as their launchpad.

The announcement was made prior to the leading annual technology conference Web Summit 2019, which will be attended by a high-level delegation from Team Bahrain to include; the EDB, Tamkeem (Bahrain Labour Fund), Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bahraini startups and accelerators. International startups and related entities interested in learning more about Bahrain startup ecosystem, and the benefits Bahrain has to offer, are encouraged to visit the Bahrain EDB stand – no. E359, pavilion 3 – where a team will be on hand for the duration of the summit (November 5 – 7) to answer any questions.

The fast-track setup process is a free service offered through a dedicated concierge, and includes:

  • A fast-tracked entry process which will cover residency, visa requirements and business registration
  • Guidance from Bahrain’s incubators and accelerators, as well as access to their networks and programmes that will provide businesses with the connections they need to grow and expand
  • Access to grants and financial support

The initiative will allow businesses and startups to benefit from the full ecosystem in Bahrain, which boasts operating costs up to 40% lower than its neighbours, one of the region’s most highly skilled local workforces and some of the most advanced soft infrastructure in MENA. Sitting at the nexus of the Middle East, the Kingdom offers a convenient springboard into the wider region opportunity, including its largest market, Saudi Arabia.

Commenting on this announcement, Ms. Pakiza Abdulrahman, Manager of Business Development – Startups at Bahrain EDB said:

“International startups can benefit hugely from the entrepreneurial support structure in Bahrain – offering access to capital, talent and new markets. With a hassle-free approach to setting up businesses in Bahrain, there is no better base to scale across the growing $1.5 trillion Gulf market.”

Michael Cunningham, Senior Vice President of Partnerships at the Web Summit said:

“We’re glad to see startup initiatives like that of the Bahrain Economic Development Board. It will be great that startups present at this year’s Web Summit will be able to benefit from their efforts.”

In recent years, Bahrain has expended considerable resources diversifying away from a previous focus on hydrocarbons. It now enjoys a burgeoning and increasingly dynamic digital economy; a maturing tech community; and a rapidly growing FinTech ecosystem. The Kingdom’s pioneering, agile and flexible regulatory framework allows it to regulate emerging technologies – such as open banking and cryptocurrencies – in a way other jurisdictions simply cannot. Thanks to this, Bahrain has earned a reputation as the region’s de facto test-bed for cutting edge technologies.

Malta MFSA Warning – Bitcoin Future 22618

The Malta Financial Services Authority (“MFSA”) has become aware of an entity by the name of Bitcoin Future. This entity appears to present the same deceitful characteristics as another entity, Bitcoin Revolution, against which the MFSA has already issued public warnings on 25 January 2019 and on 29 August 2019.

Such entities have been constantly resurfacing on the internet as adverts, and are operating under various names. These fake adverts claim to provide a “Way to build your life better” and a “Unique opportunity for Maltese”, and are currently operating through the following internet addresses: https://bit.ly/2IS0YeT and https://bit.ly/2IOE7ks.

Bitcoin Future is promoting itself by means of fake news articles which misuse images of local personalities and images of local government institutions. The fake articles are advertised on various social media platforms and falsely claim to be linked to these individuals

Bitcoin Future is NOT a Maltese registered Company, NEITHER is the entity operating under the transitory provision in terms of Article 62 of the Virtual Financial Assets Act (Cap 590 of the Laws of Malta) NOR is it authorised to provide any financial services in or from Malta.

Furthermore, information available to the MFSA suggests that Bitcoin Future is likely to be an international “get-rich-quick” cryptocurrency scam. The public should therefore refrain from undertaking any business or transactions with the entity operating under the abovementioned names.

The MFSA strongly advises investors and consumers of financial services that prior to making any investment or entering into any financial services transaction they should make sure that the entity with whom the investment or transaction is being made is authorised to provide such services by the MFSA or another financial services regulatory authority as applicable.

A list of entities licensed by the MFSA can be viewed on the official website of the MFSA at https://www.mfsa.mt/financial-services-register/ .

For more information on cryptocurrency scams please refer to the Scam Detection Guidelines issued by the MFSA at https://www.mfsa.mt/consumers/scams-warnings/typical-scams/. If you are a victim of a cryptocurrency scam or any other type of financial scam or think you might be dealing with an unauthorised entity, first of all stop all transactions with the company and contact the Authority at https://www.mfsa.mt/about-us/contact/ as soon as a suspicion arises.