Israel: Financial Services Firm GMT Joins RippleNet

Israel-based financial services firm GMT has joined Ripple’s bank and payment provider network, the company confirmed in a recent press release.

The result of a “long and precise process,” the move reportedly will help the company remain “at the forefront” of the local finance industry.

Ripple, which operates blockchain-based financial products using its XRP token, has partnered with multiple financial institutions and banks to expand its international reach in recent years.

“After a long and precise process GMT was chosen to be Ripple’s representative in Israel, by so joining Ripple, and its partners, in creating a global financial system, with high-end technology and values such as; [sic] transparency and affordable costs,” GMT’s statement reads.

In a private statement to Cointelegraph, a Ripple representative said that they can “confirm that [GMT is] a Ripple customer, similar to the 100+ customers on RippleNet.”

Ripple’s partners currently include MoneyGram, American Express and Japan’s SBI Group, among others.

Remittances have formed a central area of interest for new partners. This month, the United Arab Emirates’ UAE Exchange partnered with the blockchain firm to set up a payments corridor to Asia.

Earlier this month, enterprise blockchain consortium R3 chose XRP as the first cryptocurrency in its new universal payments decentralized application (DApp).

Ripple has meanwhile faced mixed publicity over its corporate structure, with criticism coming from the conflicting accounts about its relationship with XRP.

XRP is currently up almost 3 percent on the day to press time, trading at $0.33.

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US Credit Union Blockchain Consortium Joins R3's Global Ecosystem

CULedger, a credit union service organization (CUSO)-owned blockchain consortium, has joined enterprise software firm R3’s global blockchain ecosystem. The partnership was officially revealed in a press release published Dec. 13.

Based in Denver, Colorado, CULedger reportedly delivers blockchain applications to credit unions and their members, using the technology to mitigate cybersecurity and fraud risks, as well as streamline administrative and operational processes to save time and costs. The firm also provides a specific blockchain-based identification solution for credit union members.

As the press release notes, the consortium joins the R3 global network, which has to date reportedly gathered over 200 financial services companies, tech firms, central banks, regulators, and trade associations to collaborate on or use its enterprise-grade blockchain platform “Corda.”

Corda has been designed to work within the financial services industry and uses a permissioned distributed ledger technology (DLT) system to restrict data access to the required participants only. This July, R3 released a commercial version of Corda, dubbed “Corda Enterprise,” aimed specifically at businesses.

The Corda platform has seen a wave of positive adoption news in recent months.

Just in December, R3’s Corda-based Euro Debt Solution was used by a German-French-Dutch triad of banks to successfully complete a live commercial paper transaction; major Japanese financial services company SBI Holdings announced its partnership with R3 to boost use of Corda in Asia; and 26 French companies and five major banks completed a know your customer (KYC) test using Corda.

In mid-October, United Kingdom-based bank Natwest announced it would be integrating a new blockchain platform based on R3 Corda technology for use in the syndicated loans market.

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Siemens Joins Blockchain-Driven Energy Platform to Increase Interoperability in Industry

Two energy divisions of German tech giant Siemens have joined a blockchain-driven energy platform to promote the use of decentralized technologies in the sector, according to a press release published Wednesday, Nov. 21.

According to Siemens, its Energy Management and Power Generation Services departments are partnering with open-source, scalable blockchain platform Energy Web Foundation (EWF), founded in 2017 to elaborate regulatory, operational, and market solutions for the energy sector.

Siemens officials believe that blockchain technology will help increase interoperability in the area, linking consumers with energy producers and network operators, the press release writes. Moreover, the technology could help increase the efficiency of energy systems and enable new forms of project financing.

The statement also notes that Siemens is already using blockchain accompanied by microgrid control solutions to optimize control over energy consumption. For instance, in 2016, the German firm collaborated with U.S. startup LO3 Energy to develop microgrids

that enable local trading between energy consumers and producers on a blockchain platform. The solution was trialed in one of New York’s boroughs, Brooklyn, enabled to feed the excess electricity back into the local grid and receive payments from its purchasers.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, the company’s financing arm, Siemens Financial Services (SFS), took part in a blockchain pilot in August for bank guarantees using R3 Corda technology, launched by U.K. multinational banking and financial services company Standard Chartered (SC).

Blockchain is actively tested by major energy industry players in different countries. For instance, major Singaporean utility company SP Group, which provides electricity and gas transmission in the country, launched a blockchain marketplace to trade solar energy. Also in Asia, South Korea’s largest power provider KEPCO will use blockchain and other innovative energy solutions to develop an eco-friendly microgrid.

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IBM Joins Decentralized ‘Yellow Pages’ for Blockchain Projects

IBM has joined a decentralized cross-blockchain registry initiative which it states is a Yellow Pages analogue for blockchain projects, according to an announcement September 13.

The initiative called Unbounded Registry will be led by blockchain startup HACERA, and is designed to provide “a decentralized means to register, look up, join and transact across a variety of blockchain solutions, built to interoperate with all of today’s distributed ledger technologies.”

The project will reportedly address major issues in the field, including reserved naming for blockchain projects, the discoverability of blockchain networks and applications, and a catalogue of domain-specific functions and services.

Other members of the registry include Intel, Chinese tech giant Huawei, Batavia, Hitachi, and the Australian Blockchain Association.

IBM is known for its openness to the study and application of blockchain technology across various fields. Earlier this month, the tech giant revealed a Stellar-based “near-real-time” blockchain payment network called Blockchain World Wire (BWW). The solution is developed to facilitate international settlements between banks.

In August, IBM and Danish transport and logistics giant Maersk jointly launched their global blockchain-enabled shipping solution. The platform is reportedly able to track critical data about each shipment in a supply chain in real time, generating a distributed, immutable record on the fly.

In June, IBM iX, the business and tech consulting wing of IBM, in partnership with software supplier Mediaocean, launched a blockchain-powered tracker for digital media transactions to “clean things up” in the media buying industry.

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