Swiss University Battling Fake Degrees With Blockchain Technology

The University of St. Gallen in Switzerland is setting its sights on blockchain technology to fight fake diplomas, a type of fraud that has been on the rise globally in recent years.

According to a sources on Sept. 19, the University of St. Gallen has announced that it is introducing a blockchain-based pilot project to verify the authenticity of its degrees in a matter of seconds rather than several days. The university’s CIO Harald Rotter said:

“I saw that it could be necessary and it could be a valid use case to transfer or to make easier to validate our diplomas based on a digital process on blockchain.”

The University of St. Gallen has chosen to partner with Swiss blockchain startup BlockFactory and will use its certification solution to create immutable diplomas that are registered on the Ethereum blockchain. (Positive)

SIX Swiss Exchange Postpones Launch of Blockchain-Powered Platform SIX Digital Exchange

According to the official announcement published on Sept. 23, SIX has launched a prototype of its digital exchange and the central securities depository (CSD). The full launch is now expected in Q4 2020. The document explains:

“The objective of the prototype is to showcase the future of financial markets to the community and obtain feedback as well as demonstrate that a distributed CSD – based on DLT – can be integrated with a central order-book stock exchange model to ensure fair market conditions for all.”

According to the report on Sept. 23, a spokesman said SIX moved the full launch of SDX to the end of 2020 primarily due to legal and regulatory issues. The exchange is reportedly still in negotiations with partner banks, the services of which it will offer on the platform. The spokesperson said:

“Future releases will offer more functionality, with a particular emphasis on asset servicing, in Q1 2020. The full launch is expected in Q4 2020.”

SDX was initially announced in July last year, with plans to be rolled out in mid-2019. At the time, a news release said SDX intends to become “a fully integrated trading, settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets,” which it claimed would be the world’s first to “offer a fully integrated end to end trading, settlement and custody service.”

SIX previously chose to use blockchain consortium R3’s Corda Enterprise platform for SDX. In February 2019, the company announced it would be testing blockchain integration for SDX, and would use the technology to tokenize stocks, bonds and possibly exchange-traded funds.

Recently, SIX asked the Swiss central bank to issue a stablecoin, which will be used to settle payments on SDX. (Neutral)

Bakkt Trades 71 Bitcoin Futures Contracts in First Day

Bakkt, the bitcoin derivatives trading platform, has completed its first full day of trading. The firm saw 71 monthly futures contract and 1 daily futures contract traded through its platform—approximately $711K in notional trading value.

In an interview with CNN on Monday, COO of Bakkt Adam White says “Bakkt is really designed for the institutional trader. So this is a futures contract. That said, we expect this futures contract to trade through retail brokerages as well, so retail customers can trade this contract.” (Positive)

Rimac’s Greyp Company Launches ETO Whitelisting

Croatian high tech mobility company Greyp, founded by Mate Rimac, has launched a public equity token offering (ETO) whitelisting on 23th September.. 

Company is looking to raise up to 4.8 million euro in capital on blockchain-powered fundraising platform Neufund. The whitelisting was launched on 23th September while presales opens on 14th of October. Also, there is a 10% pre-sale discount being offered and the equity token price is 0.1618 EUR. 

“Our vision is to use light electric vehicles, like the recently launched G6, as a development platform for all our software services. These services allow anyone to use or develop various blockchain enabled applications on top of connected vehicles, paving the way to the future of Economy of Things (EoT),” Greyp said in their pitch, before adding.

“Greyp is a high tech mobility company working on some of the worlds most progressive markets. We have already been recognized by the likes of Porsche AG and the largest Asian battery manufacturer, Camel Group.  By using blockchain technology to tokenize our shares, we give the investors a new, modern way of investing, allowing for increased liquidity in the future secondary market as well as attracting multiple like-minded individuals who share our vision of future mobility.”

At the moment of writing there are still 247 open slots to apply for whitelist. (Positive)

Neo Becomes First Blockchain Member of Microsoft’s .NET Foundation

Neo, a decentralized open source blockchain application platform, announced that it became the first-ever blockchain member of Microsoft’s .NET Foundation

On September 24, the platform stated that during the .NET Conference 2019 Neo “joined the .NET Foundation, the Microsoft-created, globally leading open-source foundation,” adding: “Based on their shared open-source heritage, NEO and the .NET Foundation will further empower millions of developers to build the foundation for next-gen Internet. This partnership comes after NEO’s release of Blockchain Toolkit for .NET and NEO Express in September.” Per the announcement, Neo shared a preview of its Blockchain Toolkit during the conference, which included various apps such as Smart contract debugger, Neo Express, Visual DevTracker and others. (Positive)

Lloyds Bank Partners With Blockchain Platform to Streamline Trade Finance

Lloyds Bank is partnering with blockchain platform Komgo to streamline its commercial banking division.

On Sept. 25, United Kingdom financial news outlet FStech reported that Lloyds Bank, one of the “Big Four” clearing banks in the U.K., said that it would use Komgo’s platform “to enable quicker international commodity trade finance,” adding: “Komgo’s DLT platform digitises and streamlines the commodity trade finance process, enabling businesses to quickly and automatically exchange data and associated documents across a wide range of solutions – from letters of credit and KYC management to receivables discounting – in a digital, secure and decentralised way.” 

The Komgo platform relies on blockchain technology to optimize financing processes, fight fraud and increase trade efficiencies. The platform is backed by 15 bank and commodities investors, which include ING, ABM Amro, and oil giant Shell.  Gwynne Master, managing director for Lloyds Bank commercial banking, described the international trade process as cumbersome and time consuming, adding: “The process of trading a single commodity can take over 100 days, involves many players, considerable paperwork, and risk. Trade is particularly onerous for our commodities clients, where faster turnaround times and a streamlined channel are key requirements.” Master added that Lloyds Bank decided to work with Komgo to speed up the international trade process for its corporate customers, by “significantly streamlining and digitising the process.” (Positive)

Venezuelan Central Bank is Considering Holding Bitcoin and Ether

Venezuela’s central bank is exploring the possibilities of holding Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) in its coffers, according to anonymous sources who reportedly have direct insights into the matter.

According to a Sept. 26 Bloomberg article, the central bank of Venezuela is taking a closer look at whether they have the possibility to store cryptocurrencies.

The state-run oil and gas company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PSDV), had requested the central bank look into the matter after the oil producer ran into difficulties receiving payments from international clients due to U.S. sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s current regime.

The unnamed sources said that the PSDV is looking to transfer Bitcoin and Ether to the Venezuelan central bank and then have the central institution pay its suppliers in cryptocurrencies.

In the hope of overcoming its isolation from the global financial system, the Venezuelan central bank is reportedly studying proposals that would see cryptocurrencies counted toward the country’s international reserves, which currently sit at a 30-year low of $7.9 billion. (Neutral)