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Polish Bank Verifies Documents With Ethereum Blockchain

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Alior Bank, one of the 10 largest banks in Poland has adopted a public Ethereum blockchain authentication feature which would allow clients to verify documents. This feature would enable clients to be able to verify the authenticity of the documents by giving them clues on whether the said document was really issued at first, the exact wording of it and when it was issued. The clients only have to follow a website link to its spot on the public Ethereum blockchain.

The reason for this development stems from the changing  regulations in Poland in 2017 where the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection ruled that a page on a bank’s website that is prone to change does not qualify as all banks are required to grant customers’ access to documents in the form of a“durable medium.”

According to the report the blockchain solution was developed in response to the above regulatory requirement and thus, Alior established what it calls “the Blockchain Center of Excellence last October to complete the project.”

Tomasz Sienicki, blockchain strategy lead at Alior, commented thus; “our mission is to be disruptive, so we want to provide innovative solutions, and we want other banks to follow us as well. We welcome if somebody copied our solution. We are showing that it’s possible to use public blockchain even if some people think it’s impossible.” He went further to say that “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.”

This initiative of harnessing the public ethereum blockchain for authentication of documents was born in Alior’s innovation lab, but later on,” we managed to convince our management that a dedicated team should be set up on just blockchain issues. Everybody can copy this code and use it for his or her purposes. We encourage people to do so, ” Sienicki said.

Since this feature uses a smart contract that stores hashes of documents, clients can browse the documents they have received and search their history to find where those documents are located on the blockchain to ensure that they have not been changed or altered.

Following from this,  Piotr Adamczyk, Alior’s blockchain technology Lead who was in charge of writing the code for the project said; “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.”

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500 Nigerian Devs to be Taken into Ethereum’s Pilot Project

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Following the announcement made by ConsenSys Founder Joe Lubin during the launching of  Devcon 5, which is targeted towards increasing the Ethereum developer’s community to one million, Ethereum.network will be joining forces with Bloceducare a project launched to drive blockchain education, customer support as well as advisory services to leverage on the potential and population of developers in Nigeria to attract developers into the Ethereum community.

 

The project which has been slated for a period of 15 weeks and tagged “500-Nigeria devs for Ethereum” has been designed by Awosika Israel Ayodeji the Creative Director of Bloceducare and commenced on Monday 4th November 2019 and run till February 15th, 2020 with the aim of increasing the number of Ethereum Developers within Nigeria, to achieve this the team intends to add five hundred developers into the global pools of ethereum developers under the onemilliondevs project.

500 Nigeria Devs for Ethereum

The pilot project will aim at having developers building relatable and straightforward use cases that can be implemented within their immediate environment. With ethereum.network financing the project, at the end of the program, developers who emerge as the top three will be rewarded $1,000 each while five other developers will be awarded $300 each for a job well done.

Cryptographic Development Initiatives in Nigeria(CDIN), which is a non-profit professional organization, also plays a role in this development as it aligns with its mission to address the gaps in the learning and practice of cryptography in Nigeria. Crevatal will also be partnering with the project to ensure the success of the project.

The partnership with the CDIN is very strategic considering the perfect alignment of this project with the just-concluded “Campus Blockchain Development Project (CBDP)” with its pilot phase in the National Campus Blockchain Hackathon event chaired by the Director-General of NITDA and the launching of the Blockchain Industry Association of Nigeria.

 

CDIN happens to play critical roles in the Nigerian blockchain and digital assets ecosystem with its network of partners and stakeholders which have been driving awareness, education, policy advocacy, industry dialogue and collaboration among relevant stakeholders in order to collectively unlock hidden potentials, create job opportunities, open new business horizons and enable economic transformation while discouraging criminal activities in the Nigerian Blockchain/Cryptocurrency ecosystem.

 

According to the president of CDIN (Fadele Adeolu), the “500 Ethereum Developer’s initiative” by Bloceducare is highly commendable and will go a long way to complement similar efforts and programmes being undertaken by other stakeholders in the space and agencies of government like NITDA and the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

Finally, he calls on these strategic stakeholders, who have always been the secrets behind the development in the ecosystem to join forces with this project for the progress of the ecosystem and the nation at large.

The project is still open to sponsors in various categories such as media partners, branding, and developer participation.

 

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The Bank of Canada Plans To Launch Its Own Digital Currency

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Since the future of money has come, the Bank of Canada considers launching a proprietary digital currency. This is contained in the presentation entitled “Central Bank Money: The Next Generation,” which was prepared by Stephen Murchison, an adviser to Governor Poloz, who shoulders the task of leading Canada’s digital currency research. The idea of developing their digital coin is to fight the threat associated with cryptocurrency and also to garner information on how Canadians spend their money.

 

According to the report, Canada is ready to take the lead in launching their cryptocurrency to modernize financial services. In this regard, the bank has released a white paper on the merits of creating a digital currency. The presentation, which was prepared for Governor Stephen Poloz and the board of directors of the bank, offered all the possible details about how the bank plans on developing the digital currency. It outlined over a dozen benefits the bank will get from launching its digital currency, which would be available, coexisting alongside coins and paper money before eventually replacing them.

 

Following the contents of the presentation notes the report, Canada needs to innovate to stay in the game, and thus, a digital currency would provide the benefits of a bank-owned asset as well as all the convenience and security of wireless electronic payments.

 

However, the presentation notes that digital currency presents a risk to stable, low-cost funding for banks.

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Another firm, Booking.com has abandoned the Libra Project

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Booking.com join the list of firms that has pulled out of the Libra Association.

The departure of the leading online travel firm from the Libra Association reduces the membership to just 21 members.

Facebook’s foray into the cryptocurrency industry has been experiencing difficulties as governments warn of the consequences of the global financial system it intends to create via Libra.

Few months ago, Booking.com confirmed to be a founding member of the Libra Association alongside others like PayPal, MasterCard that have already pulled out from the Association.

Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel when he newly became the Chief Executive Officer of the firm behind several travel focus businesses such as agoda.com, booking.com, kayak etc was expressed his opinion on the future of cryptocurrency.

According to him, he said, he believes currencies with blockchain base will continue to surface and may gain acceptance globally.

Earlier few days ago, MasterCard and Visa revealed they would be departing the Facebook’s project. Regulatory pressure most especially from the US has been on the increase recently and this could be attributed to the growing list of firms abandoning the Libra Project.

Senator Sherrod Brown has said Big Tech shouldn’t be given power over public infrastructure like the financial system.

US Treasury Secretary, believes Libra could be used to finance terrorism.

The co-founder of Libra, David Marcus has already come forth to testify of the intention of Libra to create a global financial system while complying with regulatory requirements.

Co-founder of Libra, David Marcus said spoken on the fate of Libra as firms exit the Association. According to him, “I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update.”

He went further saying, “Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re onto something when this much pressure builds up.”

CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has been slated to testify before House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on the 23rd of October

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An open-source map to the Pan-African Blockchain Ecosystem

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Africa blockchain cryptocurrency industry stakeholders have created a map of organizations in the entire African continent.

The map which was made open source currently has data of more than 100 Africa firms building on the blockchain or having businesses that interacts with the industry.

The African continent has been seeing growth in the industry steadily. Based on a data from a report made by Emerge, the numbers of African blockchain focused firms were less two-scores.

However, currently according to data already collected all over the continent which can be seen on the Open Source Map, there has been a tremendous growth in the numbers of firms building blockchain solutions in the continent. The rate of growth yearly since 2017 is over 120%.

The compilation of such data required hundreds of man hours however, representatives from various firms in the industry congregated to collate and arrange the data. The representatives were from CryotoTVPlus, Africa Blockchain Alliance, African Digital Asset Framework, Binance Labs, BitcoinKE, EOS Nairobi, Raise and Microtraction.

From payment gamification, consultancy, media healthcare etc, there are several projects or firms solving problems with the technology.

CEO of CryptoTVPlus, Tony Emeka speaking on the initiative said:

“As one of the largest media firms focused on the industry, we understand the impact visibility plays in the success of a firm”.

He went further saying;

“This map now ensures players in the industry get the right exposure they deserve as they continue doing what they do best, innovating.”

Anyone Can Update the Map

The incredible pace the blockchain technology is growing is unprecedented. As dynamic as it is, daily new challenges facing our social, political and economic environment are showing forth and the blockchain could help provide answers to some of these questions.

The emergence of a problem creates room for a solution, the joy of an entrepreneur, solving problems. These ultimately could create new firms all over the continent.

As an open source map, anyone can update the map with newer data of existing or new blockchain firms in their country or the African continent at large.

Adding Data

The Open Source Map can be found here, the data are found in a Google Sheet, contributors are admonished to keep the sheet clean.

Moving Forward

The world is moving fast, Africans cannot be left behind. In the world of global competition, developing local solutions that are carefully tailored to local needs are crucial to our survival, growth and development as a continent.

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