Asian Travels and latest status

We are back from our travels in Asia, having organized numerous meetings throughout Singapore and South Korea over the past two weeks. We met many interesting people from across the insurance industry and initiated discussions around promising partnerships.

iXledger Asia Incorporation

We opened up iXledger Asia business unit which is based in Singapore. This will be our base for our Asian operations, and the aim is to develop a business opportunities within the growth markets in the region. There are a number of potential partners exploring new business models that would be better served through blockchain solutions.

fidentiaX partnership

As announced previously, iXledger has been collaborating with fideniaX to refine the business models. The partnership with fidentiaX adds a new dimension to the IXT token utility, as it will be accepted for payments on their platform. In addition, iXledger will extend access to fidentiaX through its insurance marketplace.

Seoul Meetup

We would like to thank Brandon Jo and the Seoul community for organizing and attending the Meetup. There were a number of attendees that traveled long distances to participate in the event, one group traveled over three hours. We appreciated all the questions and the level of engagement and interest in our solutions.

Samsung

iXledger and Samsung have agreed to organize a series of blockchain events with the MIT Enterprise Forum of New York at the Samsung offices. Samsung has a number of exciting initiatives in Blockchain and they have architected Nexledger, which is made up of a number of interesting building blocks that are relevant to insurance. iXledger recognizes the need for interoperability across networks to provide new innovative solutions that access distributed data or services. We had the opportunity to visit their beautiful Headquarters in Seoul and we look forward to continued collaboration on multiple fronts.

General Dev update

We have been solving major challenges with user key management (see update below) as well as developing a proof of concept to enable cross-chain transfer of IXT into the iXledger platform.

We have also made significant progress with a configurable insurance dashboard, allowing users to track and manage their performance across time, territory and class of business (see image).

This is accompanied by expansion to the professional networking features of the platform, such as a social news feed (see image) — giving more opportunities for users to interact and drive business through the platform, by creating a familiar, consumer-tech-like experience.

Further to this, our in-house insurance professionals continue to use their expertise and contacts to validate and tune the platform to meet industry needs — for example, a recent product development workshop led to a new profile feature which allows users to quickly know whether they have business terms and bilateral agreements in place to do business through the platform. Before they interact, the platform determines what partners are contracted by leveraging that company data, business terms, regulatory restrictions and agreement status; potentially a huge time-saver for brokers and insurers.

Data Privacy Update

One interesting area that development has been working on is the consolidation of our transaction signing. We had been delegating the signing to Ethereum clients, e.g. Geth. This works within the December MVP. However, as our product evolves, the delegation begins to show strain. For example, the user experience isn’t ideal, due to additional dependency on installation. Also, there are concerns with scalability and security, thus we want to be able to sign our own transactions without web3js.

The cryptographic signing requires additional libraries. We analysed active open-source (obfuscation is not security!) solutions that are widely adopted in the industry. Examples include OpenSSL, Crypto++ (whose original author’s name has become Ethereum’s smallest unit “wei”l), BouncyCastle, and so on. We chose Crypto++, for its better support for Keccak and RFC6979, which are essential for Ethereum transaction signing. During the development, we have discovered an issue with Crypto++’s deterministic signature generation. Our fix has been included in Crypto++’s recent release 6.0.0 (See commit here: https://github.com/weidai11/cryptopp/commit/1823b9d9c4076c09de038987ea2b6f851ef514d6).

The introduction of Crypto++ also requires us to re-work our build system. The majority of the Ethereum eco-system is based on Javascript. Introducing a C++ module creates substantial impact, e.g. continuous integration, build-environment setup, etc. At the moment, we use a simple solution: building the C++ code as a Node.Js addon. Node.Js is C++ friendly and its build manager, “node-gyp”, is relatively simple. One example is it’s not easy to let node-gyp call unit tests written in C++, as part of a continuous build. In the future, we may do further refactoring to remove such restrictions, e.g. by making the C++ and Javascript modules interact in a micro-service-like way.

Note that there are many solutions to the problems we try solve. For example, we have explored using Geth as libraries in our application. Geth has a very good modular architecture that allows other applications to cherry-pick its individual components. However, this works best if the applications are written in Go-lang. Otherwise, the setup and maintenance work (for integrating Geth with other language appliciations), at this stage, probably doesn’t bring the best value for our product.

Community Management

We are looking for a new community manager to support and interact with our communities who will be based in our London office. Ideally the candidate will have experience from the crypto community space and understand how to bridge the gap between different stakeholders and regions. Email careers@ixledger.com if you or someone you know would be suited.