In the Know: This Week’s Blockchain Round-up (July 21, 2017)

Blockchain can be confusing to understand sometimes, but that is why we’re here to break it down for you in our weekly blockchain round-up.

Confused about blockchain? Here’s what you need to know.

In this article by Matthew Cochrane, he stresses the importance for investors to understand the implication of blockchain technology. His article dives deeper into why so many are excited about blockchain and its potential benefits, and how some companies are already incorporating it into their existing operations.

He goes on to highlight how blockchain technology calls for fewer middlemen to be involved in each transaction, payment processors and banks.

Read more here, via The Motley Fool.


Why the use of blockchain in the cloud is growing quickly

This piece, written by Dave Shackleford, discusses what options are available as organizations could potentially shift away from traditional cryptography models. Shackleford goes on to explain that a few traditional software vendors now have blockchain services for their software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud offerings.

Read more here, via Tech Target. 


Emerging applications for blockchain

And last but not least, this article by Chalmers Brown is a great read. Brown highlights some of the many ways that blockchain is applied to make a difference in various industries beyond the financial world.

Read more here, via Forbes.

The Seam Chairman and CEO Speaks on Blockchain Technology at the BCI 2017 Global Cotton Conference

Our Chairman and CEO Mark Pryor is in Berlin, Germany, today speaking at the BCI 2017 Global Cotton Conference on developments in the cotton supply chain. One innovation we’re most proud of is the integration of Blockchain technology, which will help drive efficiencies to global trade as a whole by decentralizing, securing and distributing the data into a single source.

Mark Pryor, CEO of The Seam

To learn more, visit http://bettercotton.org/get-involved/events/bci-2017-global-cotton-conference-and-member-meeting-berlin/.

Global Supply Chains Are About to Get Better, Thanks to Blockchain

At the heart of a Denver-based company’s recent crisis was the ever-present problem faced by companies that depend on multiple suppliers to deliver parts and ingredients: a lack of transparency and accountability across complex supply chains. Unable to monitor its suppliers in real time, this company could neither prevent the contamination nor contain it in a targeted way after it was discovered.

Now, a slew of startups and corporations are exploring a radical solution to this problem: using a blockchain to transfer title and record permissions and activity logs so as to track the flow of goods and services between businesses and across borders.

With blockchain technology, the core system that underpins bitcoin, computers of separately owned entities follow a cryptographic protocol to constantly validate updates to a commonly shared ledger. A fundamental advantage of this distributed system, where no single company has control, is that it resolves problems of disclosure and accountability between individuals and institutions whose interests aren’t necessarily aligned. Mutually important data can be updated in real time, removing the need for laborious, error-prone reconciliation with each other’s internal records. It gives each member of the network far greater and timelier visibility of the total activity.
How Blockchain Works

In a nutshell, this is a global system for mediating trust and selective transparency. Its advocates say it will take the internet’s empowering potential to its next level. Although much attention and money has been spent on financial applications of the technology, an equally promising test case lies with global supply chain relationships, whose complexity and diversity of interests pose exactly the kinds of challenges this technology seeks to address. The technology can reveal hitherto hidden information and allows users to attach digital tokens — a unique, negotiable form of digital asset, modeled on bitcoin — to intermediate goods as they progress along the production, shipping, and delivery phases of a supply chain and as title to them passes between different players. This could give businesses far greater flexibility to find markets and price risk, by capturing the value that they have invested in the process at any point along the chain. What we end up with are dynamic demand chains in place of rigid supply chains, resulting in more efficient resource use for all.

Read more from Harvard Business Review.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s keynote at the FinTech Ideas Festival 2017

At the 2017 FinTech Ideas Festival, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty discussed cognitive business, recent developments with blockchain and the future of finance, as well as our work to form a cotton blockchain using the Hyperledger Fabric.

The Seam is mentioned around the 18:00 mark.

The Seam to form Cotton Blockchain Consortium with IBM on Hyperledger Fabric

MEMPHIS, Tenn., January 5, 2017 – The Seam, a commodities trading and agribusiness software provider, today announced that it is forming a blockchain consortium for the global cotton industry. Working with IBM (NYSE:IBM), the company intends to lead an industry-wide collaboration initiative to create a supply chain and trading ecosystem built on IBM blockchain technology, specifically using the Hyperledger Fabric.

A blockchain is a secure, distributed and immutable digital ledger enabling companies to work together on a foundation of trust, increased speed and reduced interference. Combined with “smart contracts,” the technology has powerful implications for global trade with cross-border settlement and instantaneous transfer of currency or other assets when defined conditions are met.

“This new technology will be transformational for the cotton industry,” said Mark Pryor, Chairman and CEO of The Seam. “There are numerous organizations, processes, systems and transactions involved from field to fabric. Situated at the intersection of agriculture, finance and technology, The Seam with the help of IBM, is uniquely positioned to introduce blockchain technology to cotton-affiliated businesses worldwide.”

The Seam has a successful history of innovation. In 2000, the company began operating the world’s first online, neutral trading exchange for cotton, on which tens of millions of bales have been traded and cleared on its platforms. In September 2016, The Seam launched a cloud-based commodity management system for the peanut industry, the first of its kind.

Blockchain technology encourages broad involvement with the benefits of a network effect, whereby a service becomes more valuable the more participation it has. IBM will play a key role in driving global adoption, with its digital footprint in all cotton producing and consuming regions.

“Blockchain offers enormous potential to drive innovation throughout the cotton industry,” said Arvind Krishna, Senior Vice President, IBM Research. “A consortium approach using IBM Blockchain and the Hyperledger Fabric can help create greater efficiency and serve as the foundation of a robust system for massive collaboration.”

The ownership group of The Seam includes renowned cotton leaders Calcot, Cargill, ECOM Agroindustrial Corporation Ltd., EWR, Inc., Louis Dreyfus Company, Olam International, Parkdale Mills, Plains Cotton Cooperative Association and Staple Cotton Cooperative Association.

To learn more about the consortium, visit www.theseam.com/blockchain.