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Distributed Ledger 150: The Year’s Biggest Enterprise Blockchain Stories

This marks The Distributed Ledger’s 150th issue. That may add up to only a few years of publication, but in blockchain time, it feels like eons. To mark the occasion, we’ll take a look at some of the top stories from the world of major blockchain advancements and enterprise use cases that the Ledger and have covered so far this year.

1. Blockchain Voting in West Virginia

When West Virginia announced this fall that it is partnering with Voatz to allow overseas voters to vote in a statewide election using a blockchain-powered mobile app — a first in the United States — the news was notable for government agencies and enterprises alike. 

As we noted in our coverage, the state government’s main motive for the plan appeared to be enabling people overseas, such as soldiers, to vote via a secure mobile app. State election administrators have had little to say about the blockchain part of the equation, and critics point out that Voatz’s centralized voting app doesn’t fully deliver on the theoretical benefits of blockchain-based voting, which would require full decentralization of the voting and recording process.

Still, if you think blockchain technology is uniquely positioned to increase transparency and accountability, then this story is one you’ll want to follow as it continues to unfold — whether or not you believe the Voatz solution actually provides better transparency or immutability than conventional voting.

2. Walmart's Blockchain-Based Delivery System

A blockchain may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about how to fight the scourge of porch pirates and ensure that items that you order online are safely delivered to your home or business. But Walmart thinks it should be. In July, the company filed a patent that mentioned using a blockchain to help coordinate the delivery of items to lockboxes.

There is a big difference between filing a patent and creating a solution. It’s unclear whether or when Walmart’s vision might come to fruition, or how extensive a role the blockchain might play in it. But this is certainly an initiative to watch if you’re interested in the future of enterprise blockchain use cases. 

3. IBM and Maersk Partner on Blockchain-Based Global Shipping Solutions 

Global shipping is an activity that almost begs to be improved by blockchain technology. When you are moving goods across borders, usually with multiple shipping providers involved in the process, keeping reliable, accurate records is challenging.

Early this year, IBM and Maersk announced an effort to help solve those challenges using a blockchain. The move was the latest in a blockchain-centric partnership that the two companies have been pursuing since 2016.

At the time of the announcement, neither company offered many details about which specific technology the blockchain-based shipping solution would leverage or how easily third parties might benefit from it. But it was notable as an example of two major companies applying distributed ledger technology to a real-world use case. 

4. VeChain Leverages a Blockchain for Tracing Vaccines

Accurately tracking the origins of vaccines can be a matter of life and death. To help reduce the chance of error, VeChain announced this summer that it is working with the Chinese government on a system that uses IoT devices to record data to VeChain’s blockchain during the vaccine production process.

If you’re looking for real-world examples of the use of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry, this is a prime example. 

5. Akamai and MUFG Plan Blockchain-Based Payment Network

The jury is still out on whether Bitcoin will deliver on its core promise of enabling faster, frictionless, border-agnostic payments. And, for now, blockchain technology won’t do much to help you pay with a credit card.

But cloud service provider Akamai and Japanese bank MUFG hope to change that by building a payment processing network that they say will be faster and more scalable than anything that has been produced to date. It won’t be built on Bitcoin, and the infrastructure that hosts it will be controlled by Akamai — so it’s not going to be a fully decentralized network. But if the two companies make good on their promise, they’ll use a new cryptocurrency to enable processing speeds of as high as 10 million transactions per second.

ETH Price Analysis: Why Gains Are Being Lost

Distributed Summary:

  • ETH-USD failed to break overhead resistance in the $160 range. This coincided with a failed retest of the supply and demand channel as the market saw a strongly overbought condition.
  • We are currently stuck between support and resistance, but it seems very likely that we will see a retest of the low $90s before any potential bullish pressure hits the markets. If, for whatever reason, we begin to rally, we need to see a decisive, strong close above the $160 level before any macro-trend-changing behavior is seen.

Bitfury Launches Music Project on Exonum and Bitcoin

Bitfury, a developer of blockchain-based hardware and software products, has announced a new initiative: Bitfury Surround. The project aims to build an open-source platform that streamlines operations in the music entertainment industry.

ING Partners With R3 to Adopt Corda Enterprise Blockchain

Distributed Summary:

  • Over five-year partnership, ING plans to leverage applications built on R3’s enterprise blockchain platform
  • Bank receives “unlimited number” of licenses for Corda Enterprise
  • Could mark a significant financial use case for distributed ledger technology

Bitcoin Now Available Through Coinstar Kiosks Nationwide

Distributed Summary:

  • Coinstar and Coinme team up to offer bitcoin-for-cash transactions at grocery stores around the country
  • Twitter users have shared photos of the on-screen process