Alpine Private Key #1 — Payments, Novel Platforms, and a Flagship Phone

Your key to the latest in Private chains.

Welcome to the first Alpine Private Key — our monthly aggregation of what we think are the top enterprise/private chain project updates with a quick tl;dr for you. If you think we missed an important news update please let us know and we’ll make sure to add that into next month’s considerations.

Accenture — Circular Supply Chain

Accenture announced a blockchain-based supply chain app that focuses on rewarding actors that conserve and recycle resources through effective business practices. It was built to complement what Accenture calls ‘circular supply chain’ — a way to organize production so that discarded components and materials are reused. The app is currently in the prototype stage built using Hyperledger Fabric. The initial roll-out will target farms globally, allowing them to register certificates to a digital identity. Consumers can also use the app to tip and reward responsible producers using a blockchain-based token or fiat (powered by Mastercard).

Samsung —Galaxy S10 Private Key Storage

Samsung announced its new flagship phone, the Galaxy S10, with an added bonus for crypto-fans: a dedicated secure storage function for user’s private keys. An addition to Samsung’s high-security platform ‘Samsung Knox’, the tutorial features a blockchain wallet that displayed Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet functionality. The Galaxy S10 will feature a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) which is separate from the core operating system. This means that even if someone was able to break into the device they still wouldn’t have access to your keys. Samsung also indirectly announced two initial partners Enjin (blockchain-based gaming) and Cosmee (decentralized app focused on sharing beauty-related content).

BBVA — The $40M Green Bond

Spain’s second-largest bank, BBVA, launched the first-ever blockchain-based platform for issuing/handling structured green bonds earlier this month. The announcement was marked with a deal closed with the Spanish insurance institute Mapfre leading to BBVA issuing a green bond worth approximately $40 million. The funds will be used to finance green initiatives that fall under BBVA’s sustainable goals framework. BBVA alongside Banco Santander, another major Spanish bank, has been actively involved in helping to define and standardize regulation around blockchain in Spain and wider Europe for some time now. Both are members of the European Union International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications.

BMW — MOBI Conference

BMW played host to the first ever European Colloquium of the ‘Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI)’ — a consortium composed of some of the biggest names in the automotive industry (BMW, Ford, General Motors) focussed on exploring the use of blockchain in the mobility ecosystem. The event took place in Munich over 2 days where participants from the 30 founding members and public came together to share their latest developments and experiences ranging from establishing common standards of ecosystem operation to PoC implementation. The automotive industry has quietly been investing huge amounts in the space, with news often surfacing such as BMW’s Mileage tracker PoC or vehicle identity. If you would like to dive deeper into what players in this industry have been focussed on check out our recent analysis.

MUFG — Blockchain-based Payments Network

Japan’s largest financial group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), announced plans to launch a blockchain-based payments network by mid-2020 in what’s primed to be one of the nation’s biggest upheaval of payments infrastructure. MUFG claimed the ‘Global Open Network’ will be capable of processing a million transactions per second and looks to integrate other technologies such as Cloud and IoT. MUFG will be launching this as part of a joint venture with Akamai, a US-based fintech firm. Initial investment amounts to roughly $2.26M with MUFG:Akamai taking an 80/20 stake respectively. This isn’t the first time MUFG has forayed into blockchain. The group participated in a blockchain loan pilot alongside BBVA and BNP Paribas which saw a $150M loan authenticated using DLT.

Hyundai — IBM Partnership

Hyundai Commercial has announced a partnership with IBM to help advance their financial services business model utilizing a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain implementation. The financial services subsidiary of Hyundai and Kia Motors will create a ‘new supply chain financing ecosystem’ designed to reduce lead times and costs with participating dealers, manufacturers, and distributors. Members will have a transparent view of all transactions that occur within the network allowing data to be securely handled and shared amongst relevant parties. The announcement was made at IBM Think 2019, IBM’s annual conference focused on business and technology.

Softbank — ID and Authentication

The Japanese multinational holding conglomerate, Softbank, has doubled down their blockchain efforts in the telecoms sector by announcing a partnership with TBCASoft — a US-based blockchain start-up to help improve current fractured ID and authentication services. Existing solutions place trust in a centralized organization and users must disclose personal information to various vendors that store their data on siloed databases. This partnership will allow Softbank to leverage TBCASoft’s Cross-Carrier Identification System (CCIS) which uses a special type of cryptography known as ‘zero-knowledge proofs’ and distributed ledger technology to issue, store and authenticate user-identity. Softbank has started an official working group dedicated to the project and is looking to onboard multiple telecoms over the coming months.

London Stock Exchange Group — $20M Seed Round

Nivaura — a company working to provide platforms that automate the entire lifecycle of financial instrument issuance by leveraging blockchain for registration and settlement — just raised $20M in its second seed round led by the London Stock Exchange Group. The round included notable names including Santander InnoVentures and Linklaters. The funds are intended to increase headcount across in-house departments and geographies respectively. The start-up’s notable work to-date has revolved around compliant tokenized securities which leveraged the bitcoin and ethereum blockchains. The company recently announced its commitment to blockchain-agnostic platforms.

Square — $166M Bitcoin Revenue

Square, the popular mobile payments company based in San Francisco, recently filed their Q4 results where they revealed they brought in $166M in revenue from bitcoin sales last year which makes up an impressive 5% of their total $3.3BN for the year. Digging deeper reveals the cost for purchasing the bitcoin in the first place amounted to $165M resulting in $1.69M in profit, a small yet notable new channel of income for the rapidly growing firm.

Oracle — Key Features for Blockchain Platform

The blockchain division at Oracle announced a series of updated features to their business-ready enterprise blockchain platform — focused on allowing users to build decentralized applications from scratch or build and integrate solutions into existing systems within a company. The host of changes aims to improve developer productivity whilst improving security. Specific features include a federated identity service targeting clients setting up consortia-based networks for authentication, Hyperledger Fabric support, enhanced REST APIs for better configuration of system analysis and 3rd-party certificate support for registering client organizations.


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Nothing in this article should be taken as legal or investment advice.