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March 2011

IBM Shipping Blockchain Grows with Two More Carriers on Board

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IBM Shipping Blockchain

IBM Shipping Blockchain

Announced today, IBM’s shipping blockchain, TradeLens, has signed up two more major shipping carriers. The tech giant owns the platform with container giant Maersk.

IBM Shipping Blockchain

Now, the company has added Hapag-Lloyd and Singapore-based Ocean Network Express (ONE) to the network. Both are leading shipping carriers–ranked fifth and sixth in terms of size, respectively.

Last month, TradeLens signed up global carriers CMA CGM and MSC.

IBM’s shipping blockchain was first launched in 2018 and, at the time, had only one other shipping carrier: Asia’s Pacific International Lines (PIL), along with Maersk and its subsidiary Hamburg Süd listed. The blockchain is built on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain foundation.

Gaining Traction

In its first year, it struggled to list other carriers. According to sources, the competition was put off by the fact that TradeLens was owned by IBM and Maersk. However, now TradeLens has 15 container giants on board including ZIM, KMTC, Safmarine, Sealand, Seaboard Marine, Namsung, Boluda, and APL.

It seems that the latest to join, Hapag-Lloyd, believes IBM’s shipping blockchain offers “a much-needed transformation in the industry, including its partnership model.”

>> This UK Financial Regulator Has a Problem with Facebook’s Libra Coin

TradeLens

There is competition out there to IBM and Maersk’s blockchain that may have initially swayed its fleet away from TradeLens. One example is a shipping blockchain pilot run by Accenture. This project initially included Singapore-based shipping carrier APL and giant Kuehne + Nagel. However, the former along with its parent company, CMA CGM, has since chosen to join TradeLens.

Todd Scott of IBM detailed this further in an interview with CoinDesk:

“There were some other projects that I think that some of the carriers had engaged in that may not have produced the same kind of results [as TradeLens]. So I think that may have played a role as well.”

IBM has another major supply chain distributed ledger, the Walmart-backed Food Trust, which is also live.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © ilfede

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Bitcoin Recovers as Coronavirus Pandemic Continues to Hurt Markets

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Bitcoin

Bitcoin

On March 3, Bitcoin (BTC) price gained the most on speculation that the US Federal Reserve, as well as other central banks, will be supporting markets even as concerns of the coronavirus outbreak continue to grow.

Bitcoin Jumps Over 4% After Last Week’s Plunge

Bitcoin gained 4% to take its price to $8,895, having suffered a double-price decline last week. This is welcome news for Bitcoin bulls, following last week’s 14% drop, which was BTC’s largest weekly loss since November.  In the third week of November, Bitcoin dropped around 19%. Similarly, last week’s equity markets also dropped last week as investors appeared to shun risk on concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak will result in a slowdown in the global economy.

For instance, the S&P 500 stock index dropped for the seventh consecutive day on Friday last week. This massive sell-off wiped out its rally of five months from 2,855 to 3,393. However, the index still managed to outperform BTC weekly with an 11% drop. Despite the decline, BTC is still outperforming the S&P 500 and gold by 20% on a year to date basis.

BTC Far from Being a Safe-Haven Asset

In the past, some investors have touted Bitcoin as a safe-haven asset similar to US Treasury bonds or gold. However, that safe-haven status was put into question when BTC tumbled in the same manner as many stocks on the market. The sell-off did halt somewhat after authorities across the globe, including the Fed, IMF, World Bank, and Bank of Japan, indicated that they could assist in offsetting any economic damage resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.

>> Ripple Criticized for Unlocking XRP Worth $230 Million from Escrow

Cryptocurrency Company TradeBlock’s director of currency research, John Todaro, indicated that investors are recovering after last week’s massive sell-off. He said that the easy monetary policy from central banks will support markets, especially riskier equity markets, and thus could extend to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

On Monday, the IMF and World Bank indicated that they would offer emergency funding, technical assistance, and policy advice to poor nations with weak health systems to tackle the virus.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © timbrk

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Coinbase Card | Now You Can Spend Your Crypto Instantly

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Coinbase card

Coinbase card

The Coinbase card is looking to make cryptocurrencies easier to pay with.

Over a long time, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple’s XRP have been criticized that they are hard to use and spend in the real world compared to fiat currency.

Last week, the price of Bitcoin surged to $5,000, but due to its volatility and instability, BTC is still not considered the best means of payment. Bitcoin is thus considered to be a store of value just like gold instead of being an exchange currency.

However, these perceptions are about to change following the teaming up of Bitcoin and Coinbase with Visa. The aim of the collaboration is to try and change the criticism surrounding cryptocurrency with the launch of the Coinbase Card that will allow users to spend cryptocurrency effortlessly like traditional fiat currency in the bank.

Coinbase Card Could Be Used to Spend Bitcoin

Coinbase’s Visa debit card can be used with Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple’s XRP in various locations across the globe. When the card is used, it converts Bitcoin to fiat currency, and the store or merchant receives the pay in fiat currency.

Using the new app, users will be able to choose their preferred cryptocurrency on the card. The card has the capability of backing all crypto assess available on the Coinbase platform. Users will be able to monitor their spending as the new app is able to produce receipts, spending and transaction details.

>> Bitcoin Price is in the Green but EOS is Today’s Real Winner

“This is the first debit card to link directly with a major cryptocurrency exchange, allowing people to spend their crypto balances direct from their Coinbase account,” Coinbase said in a statement, announcing the launch of the card. “Previously available crypto cards required users to pre-load a specified amount of crypto onto their card, adding a point of friction to the process.”

The card is available in the UK, and Coinbase plans to launch it in other countries across Europe. The service will not be available for users outside of Europe. However, US Coinbase users will get to spend Bitcoin from their accounts through Apto payments, which is providing Coinbase with the technology.

The poaching of Christine Sandler by Fidelity Digital Assets from Coinbase is great news for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies eyeing institutional support.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © Piter2121

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Will Crypto Surpass Gold as a Reserve Currency?

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reserve currency

reserve currency

Gold has been the world’s standard reserve currency for hundreds of years. Even as the world has moved to fiat currency, governments and investors alike still look to gold as a reliable alternative. Given recent volatility, though, it may be crypto’s chance to step in as a different, perhaps more secure option.

On Tuesday, August 11, gold experienced its largest one-day drop in seven years. Prices per ounce fell by 4.7% between Monday and Tuesday, bringing them down from above $2,000 to $1,932.28. This recent drop isn’t the only problem that the precious metal has on its hands, either.

Today’s transactions happen so fast and so frequently that gold transfers can’t keep up. It’s easy enough to transfer tokens representing gold from nation to nation, but moving the actual gold reserves presents a challenge. In the face of these issues, cryptocurrency may provide a solution.

Is Cryptocurrency Less Volatile Than Gold?

Crypto and gold share many similarities, especially in how they compare to fiat currency. Both lack the volatility of fiat currency due to their limited supply, for instance. Gold may not be able to sustain modern markets, though, whereas crypto was born out of the internet age.

Since crypto payments utilize blockchain technology, transaction speed isn’t an issue. Some cryptocurrencies also have measures in place, like Bitcoin halving, that proactively defend against inflation, helping them remain more stable. Still, crypto does have some issues with volatility that gold doesn’t.

Crypto markets are substantially smaller than traditional ones, so small movements have a more significant effect. With such a minuscule market, changes in demand affect the value of crypto more heavily. An alternative may be gold-backed crypto, which might offer the best of both worlds.

With gold-based cryptocurrencies, like the recently-launched Tether Gold, tokens represent an amount of gold instead of representing themselves. The value of physical gold anchors these cryptocurrencies, making them less volatile, while they still offer the speed and security of the blockchain. At the same time, if the value of gold fluctuates, it would cause these cryptocurrencies to shift as well.

Crypto Technologies Gaining Legitimacy

The most substantial barrier to crypto becoming a publicly-accepted reserve currency is its perceived legitimacy. In the past, the public has been distrusting of crypto, but that’s starting to change. More noteworthy people, organizations, and countries are starting to dive into crypto and blockchain.

Several financial giants, like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have started using blockchain technology. They may not be using crypto, but accepting crypto’s underlying technology is a substantial step forward. If nothing else, it brings them one step closer to cryptocurrency.

In Venezuela, the public turned to cryptocurrency when the nation’s fiat currency caused a crisis. As inflation rose to around 2,616%, businesses started accepting Bitcoin as an alternative. This real-world example of how crypto can act as a reserve currency could inspire countries to make that switch on a national level.

Crypto Still Has a Ways to Go, But the Future is Promising

Cryptocurrency is still a long way from becoming globally accepted as a reserve currency. Too many people, especially governments, are too distrusting. Despite these obstacles, though, recent events paint a positive picture of crypto’s future, especially as traditional systems fail.

With faith in fiat currency falling and gold prices fluctuating, crypto stands as a promising alternative. The world won’t switch to crypto immediately, but changes are likely to start taking place soon.

This article was curated through CryptoCurrencyNews’ Contributor Program. If you would like to write for us, send us your submission!

Featured image: Pixabay

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