Honda And GM to Research Smart Grid, Electric Car Interoperability With Blockchain Tech

Major automobile manufacturers Honda and General Motors (GM) are jointly conducting research on electric vehicle and smart grid interoperability using blockchain tech, Japanese news outlet Nikkei reported on May 20.

As part of the project, Honda and GM will investigate whether electric vehicles can be used to stabilize the supply of energy in smart grids. Specifically, the companies intend to develop data retrieval methods between electric vehicles and smart grids, which will purportedly enable electric vehicles owners to earn fees from storing power in car batteries and exchanging it with the grid.

The parties will work within the international technology consortium Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI), that aims to make mobility services more efficient. The platform was launched in early May and is the brainchild of over thirty participants including Bosch, Hyperledger, IBM and IOTA.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, GM filed a blockchain patent for a solution to manage data from autonomous vehicles. The system aims to provide “secure” and “robust” data distribution and interoperable exchange between multiple automated vehicles and other entities, such as municipalities, regional authorities, and public facilities.

The American automotive giant also became the joined blockchain startup Spring Labs’ partner project to enhance data security.

Among other leading car manufacturers that are embracing blockchain technology, Mercedes-Benz developed a blockchain platform that allows for the storage of documentation and contracts in complex supply chains.

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Dragonchain Receives Patent for Blockchain Loyalty System

BELLEVUE, Wash., May 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Blockchain leader Dragonchain received a patent for a blockchain loyalty system that tracks and monetizes time with blockchain, in accordance with the documents published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on April 23.


The product described in the filing corresponds to the U.S. patent application filed in November 2018 titled “Security Systems and Methods based on Cryptographic Utility Token Inventory Tenure.” Dragonchain proposes a new value system, Dragon Days of Slumber Score, also known as DDSS, which captures a time-based score for balances on blockchain.

DDSS is a breakthrough in digital assets and loyalty rewards, since time cannot be replicated or fluctuate in value. This introduces a consensus mechanism with advantages over Proof of Stake and Proof of Work. Proof of Time, the consensus model based on DDSS, is resistant to tampering and manipulation from bad actors.

“When you look at existing loyalty programs, the rewards are not proportionate to someone’s actual loyalty. For example, airline rewards are often based on using a credit card to accumulate points, rather than rewarding the time someone has flown with an airline,” said Joe Roets, founder and CEO of Dragonchain. “By monetizing time with blockchain, DDSS creates a new type of value system to recognize true loyalty through immutable measurement.”

“Tenure-based protocols elevate entities whose contributions have withstood scrutiny over time. They enable Dragonchain to allocate privileges wisely among diverse participants to minimize the need for sluggish subjective validation and thereby provide a quantum leap in administrative decision speed,” said Jonathan Olson, patent attorney of AEON Law. “The patent office approved our application with unusual speed.  Dragonchain continues to expand its status as a primary nexus in blockchain innovation.”

In November 2018, Dragonchain also received a patent for Interchain, which enabled interoperability with public blockchain networks such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and more.

Visit here to learn more about how your business can benefit from Dragonchain’s patented blockchain loyalty system.

About Dragonchain
Dragonchain is a U.S.-based technology leader, offering Blockchain as a Service with security and scalability at the forefront of its operations. Dragonchain’s public/private hybrid blockchain platform combines high performance and ease of use, allowing enterprises to build and deploy blockchain solutions in minutes. As a service provider, Dragonchain’s goal is to empower businesses with an enterprise-grade blockchain solution. Visit


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People Feverishly Search for World’s First Crypto

By CCN: Around the world, the majority of searches related to cryptocurrency involve the word “Bitcoin,” a new report by ConsenSys concludes. Excepting a few Asian countries, most of the world wants to find information about Bitcoin. In the U.S., UK, Nigeria, Brazil, France, and elsewhere, roughly 70% or more of all crypto-related searches are for Bitcoin. Comparatively, Taiwan and Japan have an abiding interest in Ethereum, blockchain, and related cryptocurrency more broadly.

Taiwan is reportedly more interested in “blockchain” than Bitcoin.

Taiwan is reportedly more interested in “blockchain” than Bitcoin. Source: ConsenSys

Japanese web surfers are more interested in Ethereum and Blockchain than most of the world. Source: ConsenSys

Japanese web surfers are more interested in Ethereum and Blockchain than most of the world. Source: ConsenSys

Key Markets for dApp Development

ConsenSys, which was among the first companies to develop for Ethereum, needs the data to understand where key markets might be. While their report largely summarizes the data, the company goes out of its way to note the places with the most interest in its flagship blockchain:

“Countries in Asia like Japan and South Korea lead the world in interest for both ‘Blockchain,’ and ‘Ethereum’ and fittingly are developing a clued-in populous at the forefront of the blockchain ecosystem. Elsewhere in the world, countries like the United States and United Kingdom still represent strong Bitcoin dominance, although it’s Brazil that leads the pack in that regard.”

Bitcoin and blockchain are synonymous to many initially seeking information about cryptocurrency. While the two terms have essential differences, search spikes for any terms related to crypto generally coincide with gaining market trends.

As well documented, one of the first efforts to dismiss the crypto movement was for various central bankers and pundits to preach “blockchain, not Bitcoin.” This was an attempt to display financial wokeness without embracing an exceedingly disruptive movement. A blockchain is not secure unless its base token has value enough to incentivize its security.

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Stellar’s Blockchain Briefly Goes Offline, Confirming the Project Lacks Decentralization

Recently, blockchain-powered network Stellar stopped confirming transactions for more than one hour, effectively going offline.

Although no money was reportedly lost as a result, Stellar’s major issue has now been highlighted publicly: The project is not decentralized, at least not to the extent expected at this point. Notably, the offline scenario was predicted by researchers earlier last month.

Brief introduction to Stellar and its network

Stellar is a platform for money remittance. It was launched in 2014 by Jed McCaleb, founder of Mt. Gox and co-founder of Ripple, and former lawyer Joyce Kim. Stellar’s native asset is the lumen (XLM), currently the ninth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

The Stellar network, in turn, is designed as a decentralized peer-to-peer network of validator nodes. Stellar Core software is used by the nodes to confirm transactions.

To reach global consensus with other nodes, Stellar Core runs the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP). As per the SCP’s white paper, it has “modest computing and financial requirements” compared to more popular decentralized schemes of proof-of-work (PoW) and proof-of-stake (PoS).

In other words, instead of using an entire network to validate a transaction like bitcoin does, Stellar relies on the so-called quorum slices — sets of nodes that each validator node chooses to agree with. This system allegedly allows Stellar to unburden the network and host as many as 1,000 operations per second, compared to a much more modest rate showcased by bitcoin (up to seven transactions per second) and Ethereum (up to 15 transactions per second).

Together, all quorum slices that make up the validator nodes form a global network, where voting is used to ensure consensus on which transactions are recorded to the ledger. According to Stellar, this process “occurs approximately every 2-5 seconds.”

So why did the Stellar network go offline?

The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) — a nonprofit organization committed to the development and adoption of Stellar — believes that the network collapsed because “new nodes took on too much consensus responsibility too soon.” Alternatively, as Nicolas Barry, chief technology officer of Stellar, put it, “it was caused by being too decentralized too fast.”

More specifically, the outage seems to be directly related to earlier claims that Stellar’s network is too centralized. Last month, three researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) published a paper titled “Is Stellar As Secure As You Think?” concluding that the analysis of the Stellar network proves that it “is significantly centralized.”

Specifically, the researchers stressed that the entire Stellar network rested upon a limited amount of nodes, primarily the ones controlled by SDF itself:

“We show that all of the nodes in Stellar cannot run Stellar consensus protocol if only two nodes fail,” the research claims. “To make matters worse, these two nodes are run and controlled by a single organization, the Stellar foundation.”

Later that month, David Mazières, the chief scientist at SDF and a professor of computer science at Stanford University, penned a response. In it, he confirmed that the configuration of Stellar’s federated Byzantine agreement (FBA), which is a consensus model based on quorum slices, is highly centralized, and said that Stellar developers were “in the process of improving” it. Mazières continued:

“We […] are glad the authors drew attention to this fact. Things have already improved considerably from the configuration analyzed in the paper — for instance the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) can no longer halt the network, and no two nodes can affect liveness.”

Nevertheless, on May 15, at 1:14 p.m. PST, the Stellar network went offline for 67 minutes — according to SDF, while some other reports mentioned “approximately two hours” — after it failed to reach consensus. In a post-mortem analysis, SDF explained that the network froze because too many new nodes were being added in a bid to make it more decentralized:

“We’ve seen claims that Stellar is ‘over-centralized’ and that somehow a failure with SDF’s nodes dragged down the whole network. Ironically, the opposite is true. Stellar has added many new nodes recently. In retrospect, some new nodes took on too much consensus responsibility too soon.”

Specifically, a node of Keybase — a blockchain startup that SDF has invested in — was taken offline for maintenance. At that time, other nodes were reportedly “shaky or down,” which is allegedly why Stellar came to a halt.

Furthermore, SDF claimed that stopping the network is in fact a preferable scenario for Stellar over operating in a faulty state, since the network accommodates financial institutions who supposedly chose it since they “prefer downtime over inconsistent data.” That is why the Stellar protocol didn’t fail, but actually worked as intended, the nonprofit organization argued.

“As a fundamental design choice, Stellar prefers consistency and partition resilience over liveness,” the statement reads. “This is different from other blockchains, in which ‘the chain must go on’ even at the price of soft forks.”

Additionally, SDF has highlighted that no funds were lost as a result of the incident, and the network is currently “healthy.”

KAIST warns that the fundamental problem has not been solved

According to Yongdae Kim, one of the KAIST researchers who authored the April research on the Stellar network, the collapse happened after some changes were made to its structure.

Specifically, Kim told Cointelegraph that, at the time the paper was submitted, if two out of three SDF validator nodes went offline, the Stellar network would collapse.

After researchers reported on the vulnerability, SDF allegedly tried to decentralize the network by removing SDF validators from quorum sets. As a result, Stellar became robust against two node failure, but was still vulnerable to three node failure, according to Kim.

However, right before the halt on May 15, the network has somehow become unstable in the face of a two node failure once more, Kim said, stressing that none of those node pairs belonged to SDF, given that they had been removed at the time. Eventually, a pair of those nodes went offline, which apparently brought the whole network down.

To deal with the aftermath of network failure and bring it back online, SDF included all three of its validators into quorum sets, according to Kim, and hence have returned “back to step 1,” in which if two out of three SDF validator nodes go down, the Stellar network will collapse.

“After we reported it [the cascade failure problem] to them, they manually adjusted validator sets

for a long time,” Kim explained to Cointelegraph. Nevertheless, he said the fact that network failure did occur at some point later on “shows that the design makes it difficult to maintain robust network structure against cascade failure.”

Outlining the fundamental reasons for why the network is vulnerable to a cascade failure problem, Kim described how node hosts have to manually choose their quorum sets, which is difficult, given the complexity of the network’s design. Moreover, the KAIST researcher stressed that not all nodes are equally robust. “SDF are more robust, but they could be a good target,” he told Cointelegraph.

Community reaction

The community’s general reaction was that Stellar is largely centralized, despite SDF actively pushing the opposite opinion. Emin Gün Sirer, co-director of IC3, tweeted:

In response, Kyle McCollom, product manager at SDF, argued that several nodes were unavailable, while Keybase’s node going down for maintenance pushed the network past the threshold:

Similarly, a user post on Stellar’s subreddit originally implied that the network couldn’t reach consensus because SDF nodes went down, which was denied by McCalleb in the comment section: Stellar’s co-founder wrote that “the SDF nodes and in fact the majority of validators in the network were still up,” but “couldn’t close ledgers safely because they weren’t hearing from enough nodes in their quorums.”

When asked whether the Stellar network could be called a decentralized one after the incident, Hartej Sawhney, a blockchain expert and co-founder of Hosho, replied negatively, but clarified that no project is decentralized today, as the concept has yet to be properly implemented. “Seems like the issue is less to do with centralization, but more to do with consensus responsibility of new nodes,” he told Cointelegraph.

“At this point we of time, Stellar is definitely a centralized network, especially in terms of the liveness aspects, as it was demonstrated in a research done at KAIST,” Eyal Shani, a blockchain researcher at Aykesubir, agreed. “However, this should be no surprise since even the great Bitcoin network can be considered as centralized by many.”

Market reaction

XLM’s price has been experiencing a flat base over the past few days, while the market continues to recover from a major correction that happened earlier this week.

Moreover, on May 16, soon after the network failure was reported, XLM experienced a solid 15% growth, suggesting that the news didn’t affect the asset’s value.

How will Stellar fix this?

SDF has outlined a number of ways to make the network more decentralized and stable at the same time, as part of consequence management.

First, the nonprofit aims to introduce better onboarding for new validators by providing users with published standards and explorers to help them create “good” quorum sets — presumably meaning that SDF will advise hosts on which nodes should be included in their quorum slices to avoid similar incidents.

SDF also hopes to achieve better operational standards. “We will increase operator coordination so that maintenance schedules are publicly communicated,” the organization wrote in the blog post. “We will also help operators keep their nodes and their quorum choices up-to-date.”

Moreover, SDF aims to improve better monitoring and alerting to warn node hosts about which crucial nodes are missing from the network, as well as to arrange bot-created announcements in the public validators channel anytime a node goes offline. Improved communication will also ensure that the network can be brought back online much quicker, the nonprofit suggests.

Kim thinks that none of the SDF’s proposals tackle the cascade failure problem directly, which potentially could lead to further incidents. “Overall, these are good set of mitigations. However, it does not fundamentally solve the problem of Stellar,” he told Cointelegraph. “Without a design change, it would be difficult to improve liveness of Stellar.”

Considering that SDF seems to prioritize consistency and partition resilience over network liveness, Stellar moving from the safety of trusted SDF nodes to a more decentralized scenarios could result in new system collapses, Shani of Aykesubir said. “Until they onboard enough serious validators who promise to behave (i.e be up and run the protocol) we could be seeing more halts in the near future,” he told Cointelegraph.

Nevertheless, SDF remains optimistic, referring to the recent outage as a stress test, “one that Stellar passed in terms of user safety but failed in terms of uptime.”

Time will tell if the nonprofit manages to reinforce its network to prevent further closedowns, but for now, Stellar could be joining the ranks of other major crypto projects that are criticized for a lack of decentralization.

Cointelegraph has reached out to Stellar for further comment and will update this article once more information is obtained.

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‘Expert’ Says Startups Should Go All-In on Blockchain

By CCN: Bernhard Schroeder, an educational director of entrepreneur programs at San Diego State, implores entrepreneurs and investors to focus on the blockchain, rather than Bitcoin.

In a new editorial today in Forbes. Schroeder classifies Bitcoin as a speculative investment which may or may not work out long-term, but lauds the merits of blockchain, which he describes as “a serious technology.”

The Resurrection of the ‘Blockchain, Not Bitcoin’ Brigade

Schroeder believes that “the real potential” for blockchain technology will emerge from the companies who decide to build on it.

Hundreds of firms who tried and failed during the ICO boom of 2017 notwithstanding, Schroeder identifies four areas that entrepreneurs should look into, as well as crucial industries for investors to get exposure in blockchain. He says:

“So why should you as an entrepreneur or investor care more about blockchain than Bitcoin? Bitcoin is still a speculation on a future crypto currency that the world may not yet adopt. Maybe in the future, maybe not. But blockchain is a serious technology that can provide a variety of solutions. Imagine you are an automotive manufacturer and you have a product quality problem. Rather than recall thousands or millions of cars, you can simply recall the cars whose part is potentially defective based on blockchain identification and tracking.”

All of Schroeder’s suggested areas for blockchain integration are well-trodden ground in the industry. He lists digital rights management, digitizing real estate, tokenizing other assets, and customer rewards programs. There are, of course, a hundred other use cases for blockchain technology. Schroeder focuses on these, apparently, because he believes they have the most potential.

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‘Expert’ Says Startups Should Go All-In on Blockchain

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LVMH creates blockchain platform to track luxury goods

Dive Brief:

  • LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has developed the AURA platform, a blockchain system for authenticating luxury goods, with Microsoft and blockchain software company ConsenSys. The retailer will begin implementing its technology for Louis Vuitton and Parfums Christian Dior brands, ConsenSys said in a press release.

  • While the platform was developed to help consumers trace the origins of their products, LVMH also told Women’s Wear Daily that the technology could also be used to safeguard creative intellectual property and curb advertising fraud. The process to develop the blockchain platform using Ethereum began more than three years ago, according to ConsenSys’ release.

  • With the AURA platform, consumers can trace the lifecycle of its products, including the design, raw materials, manufacturing and distribution. Customers will also be able to find specific product care instructions, after-sales and warranty services on the AURA platform, according to the release.

Dive Insight:

Everyone loves a good deal, especially consumers with luxury tastes.

Research has shown that consumers are still looking for deals, but it’s not clear how full-price retailers will adjust. While research from the National Retail Federation found that consumers are still seeking discount retailers, such as Ross and T.J. Maxx, the rapid growth of resale sites could take up a larger share of the market. The desire for designer deals also likely explains the growth of resale sites like The RealReal and ThredUp, the latter of which estimates that the resale market will reach $41 billion by 2022.

It remains to be seen whether the technology will sufficiently fend off counterfeit merchandise, but tapping into Ethereum technology could be a pathway toward other brands protecting their products and perhaps attracting consumers through transparency and customer perks, too. AURA will be available for other retailers to adopt, though it was created with high-end brands in mind, ConsenSys said in the release. Brands that want to use the platform for themselves have the option of choosing which features to implement, including disclosing the source of its materials or “providing tailored services and strengthening consumer loyalty.”

“This model ensures that the possibilities of the technology can be made accessible to all, while maintaining the flexibility to address the specific needs of each luxury brand,” the release said.

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Seoul to launch blockchain-based citizen card

The mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, has announced the city will launch blockchain and AI initiatives as part of its smart city implementation plan, Queen reports. Park spoke at the Korea Future Forum 2019 & Blockchain Tech Show. 

As part of the initiative, the South Korean capital will launch blockchain-based Seoul citizen cards. The cards will provide citizens with “easy access to various administrative services.” Seoul has already adopted blockchain technology in certain areas. The city’s e-voting system is blockchain based, as well as its used car selling system. 

Moreover, Seoul will also boast 50,000 city data sensors by 2022. The sensors will be used to collect urban and administrative data, which will then be used in conjunction with blockchain and AI technologies.

Park believes “The value of data has become more important than ever before.”

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Patientory Inc | CASE STUDY: Forging The Path To Consumer-Directed Health Through Blockchain Technology

Overview and Background

Despite incredible advancements over the last decade in converting paper healthcare records into digital data, a vast majority of consumers lack access to their electronic medical records. Sadly, many people cannot manage their healthcare records any better than they could a decade ago or even three decades ago. While it can be easy for some to point the finger at the bureaucracy and red tape of healthcare institutions, the truth is that many of these institutions would like to share data with their patients but don’t have a secure and easy way to do this. This challenging dynamic is because many medical providers use different electronic health record (EHR) systems that actually may not be able to communicate with one another easily. The resulting situation has become a significant problem where patients are caught in the middle of the healthcare industry’s lack of interoperability and without solutions that can provide patients accessible and secure healthcare data.

Patientory DApp Solution

Patientory, a digital health company based in Atlanta, Georgia, has developed a distributed application DApp solution that provides individual consumers with quick, easy, and secure access to their healthcare data. As the industry leader for DApp blockchain solutions, Patientory recently developed the first version of its beta DApp for consumers.

Patientory’s DApp leverages blockchain technology, which is an open and secure technology that captures transaction records on blocks that are connected and stores them on a distributed and encoded database that acts as a ledger. Blockchain has incredible security benefits as the records are spread across a replicated database network in which all the databases are in sync. Users, however, can only access the blocks to which they have permission to. Lastly, all the transactions that happen over blockchain are date and time stamped.

As for DApps, they are applications that interface with blockchains which are not stored or controlled by a single entity or in a single location. This means that a particular EHR or healthcare provider does not solely control an individual’s healthcare data, thus allowing for more efficient, user-friendly, and secure sharing of healthcare data among different providers
and EHR platforms.

This new DApp solution was created from research data Patientory has collected over the past few years regarding the challenges that healthcare consumers face on a regular basis and how these challenges have evolved over time. With the DApp solution, Patientory’s goal is to create a one-stop-shop solution for healthcare consumers, where they can access their health information, engage in health-related transactions, and become empowered to improve their health by having the necessary data and tools to do so.

The DApp Beta Test

To evaluate the DApp’s product-market fit and overall effectiveness as a solution, Patientory initiated a beta test project with specific goals outlined. The goals of their research were:

  • To verify the efficacy of the distributed App
  • To seek insight into the interface’s user acceptance and general quality
  • To examine product functionality in real-world user environments and test the necessary support infrastructure
  • To collect customer suggestions and testimonials, test the profile establishment protocols and the goal-setting, activity tracking, and wallet functionalities alongside the data storage protocols for securing personal health information (PHI) within the PTOYNET™ private permissioned blockchain
  • To identify opportunities for future development regarding desirable user features and functionality

To best accomplish their goals, 80 beta users were selected to use the app for three months in all functionality areas from setting goals, tracking fitness activities, traveling internationally and utilizing the wallet feature with Dash and PTOY cryptocurrencies. The demographics and personas of the beta users were primarily affluent, health-conscious iPhone owners, with a majority owning one or more cryptocurrencies. These individuals are primarily based in the US, with a majority located in the urban settings of New York City, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, as well as non-US countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland as well as India and Asia. At the end of the three months, the beta users were then
given a detailed survey requesting their feedback on their experience with the DApp solution.

DApp Beta User Survey Results

The below results a summary of key user feedback that Patientory received:

  • The DApp is relevant and engaging.
    • 90% of respondents found the entire app useful with no elements irrelevant.
    • 80% of respondents said that they did not find any parts of the app unnecessarily complicated.
    • More than half of respondents found the app ‘very engaging.’
  • Users found DApp most useful for fitness-related activity.
    • Respondents reported that goal-setting for walking and exercise was the most useful aspect of DApp.
    • Respondents also showed interest in nutrition tracking. While 80 percent of respondents reported that they track walking or steps, 60 percent reported tracking food and hydration
  • DApp is easy and fast to install and use.
    • A full 70 percent of participants reported that they felt that the app was easy and intuitive to install, and the remaining 30 percent reported that after this initial experience with the app, they would know exactly how to install it again in the future.
    • No one reported difficulty with installation or the need to have others help them install the app. Only one respondent said that they needed someone to show them how to use certain features of the app.
    • With respect to speed, 40 percent of participants found DApp much faster than most other apps they use and participants ran into no difficulties syncing the DApp with their other apps. Participants had between 10 and 260 different apps on their phones. No participants found the app slower than other apps.
  • Beta users generally felt that DApp comprehensively covered their healthcare-related needs currently.
    • When asked about what the DApp is missing, 50 percent responded “nothing,” and when asked what features participants would add, 30 percent said “none.”


From Patientory’s beta testing of its new beta and the subsequent user survey, it is evident that the DApp is meeting a clear and immediate need for the consumer market. Despite only being a beta product, the vast majority of users found the DApp to not only serve as a valuable healthcare solution but also function as an excellent tool for managing fitness and diet. Along with the value of the app, most individuals found the user experience to be very engaging and relevant, which is an indicator for repeated and ongoing use. Lastly, the back-end software of the app performed quite well according to a majority of users, with the speed of the app and ease and time of install getting high marks.

While these results reflect the feedback of a current beta product for Patientory and updates and enhancements will undoubtedly be made, the data shared in this report validates the value and need for Patientory’s DApp today. Nothing illustrates this idea more than a quote from a passionate beta user “I’m all in! I want to see this become a worldwide standard. Given our mobile society, this is key to saving lives.” We couldn’t agree more.

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How Blockchain, AI and IoT are Intersecting in the Next Wave of Disruption

Enterprises are just beginning to scratch the surface of how today’s three disruptor heavyweights – AI, Internet of Things and blockchain – will transform their organizations. Current conversations and pilot projects largely center on these technologies individually. But the real disruption is in the intersections between them, and the ways in which they can be used together to bring forth completely new approaches to managing supply chains, data, transactions and more.

The potential benefits of solutions that integrate AI, IoT and blockchain are endless. Projects that launch from intersections between these technologies will overcome many of the last mile blockchain problems that have barred adoption to date.

  • Connecting physical assets to the blockchain: Across a number of industries, we’re seeing an increasing need to digitally track physical assets. Supply chains are a great example of this. With blockchain technology, corporations can use QR codes or RFID technology to identify units of products. This can be anything from a portion of a food crop, a shipment of chemicals from an oil rig, cosmetics ingredients, auto parts, etc. With a dedicated code or RFID tag, each unit can then be assigned a digital identifier that is traceable on the blockchain. The identifier stays with the item or group of items through the entire lifecycle, with every step of the process recorded on an immutable, secure ledger. For food supply chains, this means the entire history of a produce item – from seed to harvest, to processing, to documentation, to shipment, to grocery store – can be viewed by simply scanning the code attached to it. Car buying is another use case where the transformative benefits are clear: imagine the transparency that would be introduced into purchasing a used car if a consumer could scan a code attached to that car and see its entire history across manufacture, maintenance, parts replacements and previous owners. In some industries where tracking liquid (or products such as LNG) is required, advanced technology has been developed to grab metrics such as volume and flow directly from existing sensors in order to track product.
  • Transforming databases for IoT information: In many ways, blockchain can solve the most common challenges faced in managing data today: security, authenticity, access and scalability. As connected devices continue to drive massive growth in the volume of corporate databases, enterprises are looking for new ways to manage and leverage the data they are storing. Blockchain provides a way for corporations to implement data proof, trust and automation directly at its source – on IoT devices – and then allow that data to become transactive and part of new economies. Health and fitness wearables are one of many examples for how this could take shape in the real world. Feeding data from smartphone apps and wearable devices into a blockchain-based medical records system would allow care providers to view the entire health picture of their patients in a secure way. Then, they could leverage smart contracts on the blockchain to transact with that data, using it to drive down insurance premiums, make payments and incentivize patients to engage in healthy activities.
  • Predictive analytics at scale: It’s exciting to consider how AI and predictive analytics can be layered onto blockchain data. In the case of food supply chains and farming, AI could be applied to the extensive store of crop information living on the blockchain, to predict and inform patterns in weather, inventory, shipping delays or anything else that may impact decisions about planting, harvesting and distributing food. Similarly, this type of application could identify buying patterns among consumers and predict supply shortages, helping corporations improve the accuracy of their ordering and manufacturing volumes.

Beyond how AI can bolster blockchain, there are benefits blockchain can offer to AI tools as well. Leveraging blockchain data to improve trust and accuracy in AI algorithms and predictions can result in better data models and smarter financial systems. A greater depth of context and information that can be fed into machine learning systems from blockchain stores can ultimately make the tech smarter.

The scenarios outlined above point to some of the last mile problems that are hampering wider and faster adoption of blockchain solutions. The more we connect AI, IoT and blockchain, the more seamless enterprise applications using this technology will become. By automatically connecting edge devices and systems with blockchain and layering AI on top of those deployments, corporations will truly be able to transform every business process from their supply chains, accounting, sales tracking, distribution, compliance, security strategic planning and more.

Steve McNew is a senior managing director within the Technology practice of FTI Consulting and is based in Houston. He helps clients evaluate and implement blockchain solutions and builds cost-effective and defensible strategies to manage data for complex legal and regulatory matters. Steve is an expert in blockchain, Bitcoin and information and data security. He completed studies in blockchain and cryptocurrency at MIT and is a member of The Wall Street Blockchain Alliance. He has led engagements involving blockchain assessments, pilot projects, and software selection and implementation and is frequently engaged as a cryptocurrency expert in disputes, investigations, and litigation.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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