Only a few years ago, the idea of a blockchain-driven revolution in technology seemed like little more than sci-fi speculation and wishful thinking. Today, blockchain-powered solutions are already changing everything from international trade deals to local transportation payments. Blockchain has become a truly global phenomenon. In this post, we’re taking a look at five recent blockchain technology headlines from around the world.
1. Bermuda developing blockchain-based digital ID system. The island nation of Bermuda has attracted a significant number of blockchain-based startups and technology firms in recent years thanks to its extremely favorable tax laws, but few of those firms have actually tried to implement their innovations on the island itself. A new initiative from the Bermuda-based Perseid Network may soon change this, however, by providing the country’s 71,000 citizens with a blockchain-powered digital ID. The “e-ID” will run on a specialized blockchain developed by the Shyft Network. No launch date for the project has been announced.
2. Ford’s European branch testing blockchain for improving fuel-efficiency. As part of its environmental compliance trials for a new range of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), Ford’s European division recently launched a new blockchain-based tracking system that will allow researchers and government regulators to track and verify the vehicles’ emissions test data. Ford’s PHEVs are currently undergoing a 12-month test in Cologne, Germany, to determine how the vehicles perform in areas with low-emission zone regulations.
3. HSBC launches pilot program for blockchain letters of credit in Malaysia. Letters of Credit (LCs) are an essential tool in international trade, allowing banks to guarantee payments between importers and exporters. Using traditional banking channels, however, sending and verifying LCs can be a time-consuming process, slowing the speed of trade considerably. Blockchain transactions can be verified in real time, however, creating a major opportunity for technology savvy banks. That’s exactly what happened earlier this month, when HSBC’s Malaysia branch successfully tested a blockchain-based LC for a shipment of plastic resin between Malaysia and Singapore. The transaction is the first of its kind in Malaysia, and one of only a handful of blockchain-backed international LC agreements executed thus far.
4. Australia exploring blockchain for land transfers. The state of South Australia is investigating the use of a blockchain-based solution for publicly documenting the transfer of land titles. The state currently contracts out these transfers to private companies, and is looking for a solution that will require all such firms to use a shared “ecosystem.” South Australia’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure noted that each land transfer contractor currently uses its own privately developed registration system, and that “They do not, in essence, interoperate with each other.”
5. Spain tests blockchain for public transportation payments. Madrid’s public transportation department, EMT, recently partnered with Banco Santander and start-up firm Vottun to develop a blockchain-based mobile payment app for use on the city’s bus system. The pilot program is part of a wide range of tech-driven initiatives recently announced as part of the “Madrid in Motion” program.