Fashion companies focused on Supply Chain Transparency and Blockchain

Transparency is a pressing issue in the fashion industry today. As a solution to this hot topic, blockchain in the fashion industry is being increasingly used to not only increase intellectual property protection for designers and companies but also to rapidly trace the entire journey of the finished product as it travels through the distribution chain right from the initial raw material stage up until it reaches the consumer, thereby giving rise to greater clarity about its origins for both brands and consumers alike. Companies are thus steadily working towards ensuring greater visibility and transparency of the workers in supply chains, the business relationships therein and publicly communicating about the initiatives they are taking to ensure sustainability across the supply chain.

In 2019, 200 fashion brands and retailers took part in the Fashion Transparency Index study which showed that sportwear and outdoor brands were leading the way on the transparency front. The 5 brands who scored the highest on their supply chain transparency are Adidas, Reebok, Patagonia, each scoring 64%, Esprit with 62%, and fast-fashion clothing chain H&M scoring 61%.

As of 2019, only 10 brands are disclosing information regarding where and who are they getting their supply of raw materials like viscose, wool, etc. The brands are:

ASOS

C&A

Esprit

Lululemon

Marks & Spencer

Patagonia

The North Face (VF Corporation)

Timberland (VF Corporation)

Vans (VF Corporation)

Wrangler (VF Corporation)

Brands who have shown the highest improvement since 2018 in their level of disclosure of supplier lists overall to the public are Dior (up by 22%), Sainsbury’s Tu Clothing (up by 21%), Nike (up by 21%), New Balance (up by 18%), and Marc Jacobs (up by 17%).

This statistic shows the willingness of consumers to buy sustainable fashion worldwide in 2018. In 2018, 60 percent of respondents stated that they would buy sustainable fashion if it were the same price as normal fashion.

A blockchain software company named Provenance collaborated with London-based designer Martine Jarlgaard to produce, using blockchain technology, the world’s first tracked garment. Consumers in store, after scanning the label on the clothing items, could witness the history of the product and be certain about the sustainability of the raw material sources.

Courtesy : KPMG

Luxury brands, for example LVMH which is the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, are also embracing this technology to track luxury goods and prove their authenticity. Louis Vuitton and Parfums Christian Dior are the first two brands to go on board with LVMH’s blockchain platform called ‘Aura.’

Courtesy : Louis Vuitton

In the highly competitive luxury fashion sphere, the main role of blockchain is to help brands and retailers connect with each other who wouldn’t otherwise disclose information to their rivals.

In the diamond industry too, brands like De Beers and small start-ups like Taylor & Hart are making use of blockchain ‘to help trace their supply chains from mine to shop floor.’ While De Beers developed Tracr, an open-source blockchain platform by collaborating with five other diamond manufacturers, Taylor & Hart united with blockchain start-up Everledger to validate the provenance of its diamonds.

Also, built upon blockchain technology in the form of a peer-to-peer ecosystem is Fashion Coin, which is designed in such a way that allows a consumer to directly get in touch with any member involved in the garment creation process like the designer, model, stylist, etc. and be a part of the journey and invest in the early stages of product designing, while being incentivized via a specially built token.

As a defense to fakery, e-commerce giant Alibaba as well is developing a blockchain application which allows buyers to trace the journey of the product from the factory to their front door by scanning it, thus knowing if it is an original piece or not. Similarly, very recently the payments giant, Mastercard, announced about its new blockchain-based product tracking solution which, it says, would ‘provide a clear record of traceability’ as it is ‘designed to contribute to consumer confidence and trust by creating awareness of the authenticity of the product.’

The impact that blockchain is set to have on the fashion industry is huge but for that to materialize, considerable investment is required to construct the systems to support it. The real-time access to streamlined product information that blockchain technology provides will inevitably enable retailers to scrutinize stock status as well as customer feedback. Eventually, because of the surge in the blockchain-based platforms, deals struck with middlemen can be expected to slowly come to a halt as there will be more transparent communication between manufacturers, brands and the consumers.

As technologies are becoming more and more advanced and data privacy issues becoming a sensational topic, growing concerns about the revelations of personal data and its subsequent use for marketing purposes, are but rampant. Thus, secure and guarded technology platforms should be built and consumers should be given extensive insights into the workings of blockchain to ensure its success in the future.

For more such engaging content, please follow us on Twitter @Cassiopeia_ltd @_FinancialFox and subscribe to our YouTube channel: Cassiopeia Services PLC

Fashion companies focused on Supply Chain Transparency and Blockchain

Transparency is a pressing issue in the fashion industry today. As a solution to this hot topic, blockchain in the fashion industry is being increasingly used to not only increase intellectual property protection for designers and companies but also to rapidly trace the entire journey of the finished product as it travels through the distribution chain right from the initial raw material stage up until it reaches the consumer, thereby giving rise to greater clarity about its origins for both brands and consumers alike. Companies are thus steadily working towards ensuring greater visibility and transparency of the workers in supply chains, the business relationships therein and publicly communicating about the initiatives they are taking to ensure sustainability across the supply chain.

In 2019, 200 fashion brands and retailers took part in the Fashion Transparency Index study which showed that sportwear and outdoor brands were leading the way on the transparency front. The 5 brands who scored the highest on their supply chain transparency are Adidas, Reebok, Patagonia, each scoring 64%, Esprit with 62%, and fast-fashion clothing chain H&M scoring 61%.

As of 2019, only 10 brands are disclosing information regarding where and who are they getting their supply of raw materials like viscose, wool, etc. The brands are:

ASOS

C&A

Esprit

Lululemon

Marks & Spencer

Patagonia

The North Face (VF Corporation)

Timberland (VF Corporation)

Vans (VF Corporation)

Wrangler (VF Corporation)

Brands who have shown the highest improvement since 2018 in their level of disclosure of supplier lists overall to the public are Dior (up by 22%), Sainsbury’s Tu Clothing (up by 21%), Nike (up by 21%), New Balance (up by 18%), and Marc Jacobs (up by 17%).

This statistic shows the willingness of consumers to buy sustainable fashion worldwide in 2018. In 2018, 60 percent of respondents stated that they would buy sustainable fashion if it were the same price as normal fashion.

A blockchain software company named Provenance collaborated with London-based designer Martine Jarlgaard to produce, using blockchain technology, the world’s first tracked garment. Consumers in store, after scanning the label on the clothing items, could witness the history of the product and be certain about the sustainability of the raw material sources.

Courtesy : KPMG

Luxury brands, for example LVMH which is the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, are also embracing this technology to track luxury goods and prove their authenticity. Louis Vuitton and Parfums Christian Dior are the first two brands to go on board with LVMH’s blockchain platform called ‘Aura.’

Courtesy : Louis Vuitton

In the highly competitive luxury fashion sphere, the main role of blockchain is to help brands and retailers connect with each other who wouldn’t otherwise disclose information to their rivals.

In the diamond industry too, brands like De Beers and small start-ups like Taylor & Hart are making use of blockchain ‘to help trace their supply chains from mine to shop floor.’ While De Beers developed Tracr, an open-source blockchain platform by collaborating with five other diamond manufacturers, Taylor & Hart united with blockchain start-up Everledger to validate the provenance of its diamonds.

Also, built upon blockchain technology in the form of a peer-to-peer ecosystem is Fashion Coin, which is designed in such a way that allows a consumer to directly get in touch with any member involved in the garment creation process like the designer, model, stylist, etc. and be a part of the journey and invest in the early stages of product designing, while being incentivized via a specially built token.

As a defense to fakery, e-commerce giant Alibaba as well is developing a blockchain application which allows buyers to trace the journey of the product from the factory to their front door by scanning it, thus knowing if it is an original piece or not. Similarly, very recently the payments giant, Mastercard, announced about its new blockchain-based product tracking solution which, it says, would ‘provide a clear record of traceability’ as it is ‘designed to contribute to consumer confidence and trust by creating awareness of the authenticity of the product.’

The impact that blockchain is set to have on the fashion industry is huge but for that to materialize, considerable investment is required to construct the systems to support it. The real-time access to streamlined product information that blockchain technology provides will inevitably enable retailers to scrutinize stock status as well as customer feedback. Eventually, because of the surge in the blockchain-based platforms, deals struck with middlemen can be expected to slowly come to a halt as there will be more transparent communication between manufacturers, brands and the consumers.

As technologies are becoming more and more advanced and data privacy issues becoming a sensational topic, growing concerns about the revelations of personal data and its subsequent use for marketing purposes, are but rampant. Thus, secure and guarded technology platforms should be built and consumers should be given extensive insights into the workings of blockchain to ensure its success in the future.

For more such engaging content, please follow us on Twitter @Cassiopeia_ltd @_FinancialFox and subscribe to our YouTube channel: Cassiopeia Services PLC

Malta AI and Blockchain Summit: Connecting passionate innovators with cutting edge technology

Among the thousands of conferences and gatherings happening in the blockchain space, it can be a difficult task to find the right place to be for you to be. The Malta AI & Blockchain Summit (AIBC) is the place for those looking for the best connections and the great opportunities to learn about the latest developments of innovative technologies.

Considered one of the flagship Blockchain events, the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit brings together the most important names in the industry and showcases the state-of-the-art technology. The Summit is a bi-annual expo, covering topics relating to the global sectors for Blockchain, AI, Big Data, IoT, and Quantum technologies.

The third edition is to take place on 7th and 8th of November in St. Julian’s, Malta and is expected to have more than 10,000 global attendees, a great leap from its first edition in November 2018 which counted with 8,000 guests.

Some of the previous high profile and key note speakers include AI VIP Sophia the Robot, the world’s first robot citizen and John McAfee, the famous British-American computer programmer and businessman.

With the dynamism of the new technologies and innovations coming into play, the Malta AIBC summit promises to deliver on the ideals of blockchain, AI, quantum technology, big data and the internet of things. It creates an ideal environment and the perfect opportunity for investors, innovators and aspiring leaders to come together and help empower people.

In addition to the Spring and Winter main events, the Malta AIBC also offers opportunities through a number of global satellite events and networking gatherings, as well as producing a bi-annual publication and news site with in-depth interviews and related content, bringing brand exposure and visibility to companies and an educational peg for enthusiasts and new comers to the industry.

Malta has become the hub for innovation in Europe, earning the reputation of ‘the Blockchain Island’. The Maltese government is very forward thinking and keen on promoting technology developments on national level to spur economic growth. The authorities are deeply involved in the making and presenting of the summit and they use the summit’s international attention to showcase their blockchain-friendly regulations, as seen with the three new government bills introduced by Malta’s prime minister and Secretary for Financial Services at the 2018 Summit.

More than attracting foreign investment and human capital, the summit serves as a platform for the Maltese government to renew its commitment to the future of the technology sector in Malta, possibly with the announcement of further regulations on the matter. The purpose is to grab a slice of an emerging market, and create an environment where cryptocurrencies can be used and traded with security under the regulatory framework.

Stefania Barbaglio, Blockchain strategist and Director at Cassiopeia Services believes Malta is a great example of successful strategy for business and investment and positive regulations: “Malta has become a role model for European nations, highlighting the role of positive legislation to boost economy and business activity. Outdated regulations and closed attitudes towards innovation can lead to elite nations losing their spot in the international investment scene. It is important that new regulations are centered around innovation and the social value of technology, so that the digital economies can flourish and develop.”

The passing of the recent laws makes Malta the pioneer nation in Europe to offer a holistic regulatory framework for Distributed Ledger Technology operations. Unlike their counterparts, Malta attempts to develop a comprehensive framework that comprises use and trade if digital currencies, ICOs, exchanges activity.

The strategy was developed by the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, who was also responsible for other three regulatory laws — the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services (ITAS) Law, the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Law, and the Virtual Financial Assets (VFL) Law — that today form the cornerstones of DLT regulation in Malta and are designed to offer guidelines for companies entering the emerging sector.

The innovative mindset of the Maltese government is also reflected other economic sectors, from personal healthcare to financial technology. Because of that, Malta has been the European gateway for many policies, including the legalisation of medicinal cannabis and embracing crypto and gaming projects.

In March 2018, Malta officially legalised medical cannabis. A month later, with the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act in place, Maltese entities were able to cultivate, import, process and produce cannabis intended for medical and research purposes under a controlled and supervised environment.

These policies led to the Malta Medicines Authority gaining international reputation and prestige for its patient-centric work in the regulation of medicines. The strategy seems to be working so far: according to statistics from Eurostat, a 75% share of the population in Malta perceived their health as good or very good.

It’s not surprising to acknowledge how Malta has become the centre and a pivotal point for all of Europe as it is a preferred homeland for many leading and innovative technology companies throughout the world. More exciting news can be expected at the Winter edition of the Malta AIBC Summit. You can purchase your tickets for the winter edition summit to be held on 7–8 of November 2019 at the hotel Intercontinental in St Julian’s here.

World Ethical Data Forum announces it is partnering with Malta AI and Blockchain summit for the…

World Ethical Data Forum announces it is partnering with Malta AI and Blockchain summit for the Big Data Workshop

Cassiopeia Services, a London-based leading PR and IR agency and the official PR for World Ethical Data Forum (WEDF), is pleased to announce that World Ethical Data Forum (WEDF) will be partnering with Malta AI and Blockchain summit, Winter edition for an exclusive workshop on big data. The summit will be held from the 7th to 8th November 2019, at the InterContinental Arena conference centre, St Julian’s, Malta.

The Big Data workshop during the AI and Blockchain Summit is scheduled to be divided into two parts for a total duration of 2 hours devoting an hour to each segment. The first half of the workshop will focus entirely on the immediate need to address the issues related to ethical big data. Following afterwards, the second half of the programme will concentrate majorly on a deep analysis of more technical issues such as machine learning and deep learning.

For both the sessions of the workshop there will be 2 panel discussions along with 2 keynote pitches. The comprehensive schedule of the first session dealing with ethical big data will include a keynote session on the value of data and the associated ethical problems in the present world scenario. The other keynote session will feature more on the issues related to censorship, data intelligence as well as government policies. The panel discussion of the first half will have a debate on the recent data breaches and their implications on the big technology conglomerates along with the type of regulations needed to stop data abuse. The second panel discussion will be dedicated to another aspect of ethical data such as fake news and the obligations for responsible journalism.

The itinerary for the second half of the session will be spread over the positive deconstruction of new data technologies and their applications. This session will also feature panel discussions and keynote addresses on data analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the emerging trends in blockchain and related technology.

Stefania Barbaglio, Cassiopeia Services Director said: “We are excited to be partnering with the AIBC for the World Ethical Data Forum. Following on the last years monumental success of the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit, we are convinced of a phenomenal workshop on big data this November as well. The WEDF is a platform dealing with the wide spread adoption of positive rules and regulations for data protection and handling. AIBC on the other hand has established itself as a premier platform for organisations to exhibit, engage and debate and we are sure the merger of these two will be a grand success.”

Cassiopeia Services acts as the Official PR and Head of sponsorship and Partnerships for the World Ethical Data Forum. To express interest for speaking opportunities at the big data workshop and for partnership and sponsorship, please get in in touch with us via the contacts below.

Media Contact:

Cassiopeia Services

cassiopeia@worldethicaldata.org

Stefania Barbaglio

Stefania@worldethicaldata.org

Facebook’s Libra: a coin-toss towards digital economy evolution and crypto’s mainstream status

Facebook’s announcement of its plans to introduce Libra, a global cryptocurrency focused on achieving the financial inclusion for unbanked people, spurred substantial backlash over data privacy and security issues from governments and their regulators. Libra has faced cynicism in relation to the social media giant’s controversial past regarding its failed attempts to protect users’ privacy.

While the governments’ main focus is on the regulatory issues, the industry experts believe Libra plays a more significant role for the crypto community in general and the development of the digital economy. Nonetheless, Facebook’s blockchain project seems to affect on every aspect of the modern digital economy and appears to have all-encompassing influence.

Mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and digital payments

This pessimistic approach of governments and regulators towards innovative technologies is however, nothing new. From an innovation aspect, Libra as a blockchain-based digital currency presents the next step in the evolution of money: an inflection point in the form of financial solution created not by governments and central banks, but the private companies which will ultimately disrupt the deeply ingrained monopoly set up by the mainstream money systems.

During the latest episode of Financial Fox, hosted by PR guru Stefania Barbaglio, Jared Tate, founder of DigiByte, explained that Libra symbolises significant validation for the novel blockchain technology, and starts to forge a new path for the future of finance and the crypto technology. Due to its pre-existing association with a well-known name such as Facebook and its 2.5 billion users, Libra stands a chance of becoming successful, and is essentially expected to be an advocate for cryptocurrencies, encouraging a lot more people to step into the crypto space.

As such, even if deemed unsuccessful, Libra symbolises an important first step towards the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. It will allow for a large segment of the public to get familiar with the crypto space and educate them on fundamental concepts and the key idea of controlling their own funds, as claimed by the Charles Hoskinson, founder of Cardano, during his conversation with Stefania Barbaglio for the Financial Fox Crypto Show.

Issues on data privacy and the control of technology market

Due to its potential for mass-adoption, Libra raises serious questions on the aspect of regulation and as such has been greeted by backlash from the regulators and members of traditional financial institutions, mainly over serious concerns as to whether the digital currency threatens the stability of the US dollar and other government-backed currencies, or could infringe on consumers’ privacy.

Essentially, there is no limit on the type and the amount of data Libra will gather, and absolutely no guarantee on privacy. Facebook’s business model is based on how much it knows about you. As Libra itself is based on the permissioned blockchain, it means Facebook has full censorship power backed up by money that people, especially the unbanked, are going to need, said Jean Phillipe Beaudet, Director and CTO of ZeU Crypto network for the Financial Fox.

Such concerns among experts regarding the Libra stable coin are predominantly rooted in the market dominance of its parent company, Facebook, and the latter’s controversial past regarding data handling. With that in mind, introducing Libra, a payment system powered by Facebook, raises serious political power and consumer privacy concerns.

Jean Philippe Beaudet, director of ZeU, argued that although cryptocurrencies are always seen as a decentralisation tool that will help people gain more freedom, they can also become the most effective control tool ever made, as this is smart money needed by everyone. “We are now at the point where we have to balance these requirements of being a bit regulated and not enabling the governments to control their populations. That is potentially going to be a great challenge and Libra is not helping on that front. I believe it’s just creating a scarier monopoly”, added Jean Philippe Beaudet for the Financial Fox.

Adoption of Libra in different countries

Libra’s main objective — to bank the unbanked in developing countries — seems to be running into obstacles already.

Jared Tate, Bill Barhydt, Jean-Philippe Beaudet, Ajeet Khurana and the host, Stefania Barbaglio

It appears that Libra’s mission could be undermined as some of the developing economies such as India, Libra’s largest potential market, seems to have adopted a hostile approach towards cryptocurrencies. Earlier in 2019, India introduced a bill on Banning Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency, proposing a 10-year-long prison term for people who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies”, ultimately preventing Libra and any other innovative crypto-technology project from entering the Indian market.

Ajeet Kurana, Indian entrepreneur and former CEO of Zebpay India shares his hopes in the interview with Director of Financial Fox Stefania Barbaglio, in regards to Libra’s efforts in India: “If in such an environment, Facebook’s Libra succeeds in leading the way against the Indian government or in fact any such government hesitant towards cryptocurrencies, showing that the unbanked are truly the marginalised community in question, that would open the doors to all the other cryptocurrencies and digital assets to enter the Indian market.”

The future of Libra in China, the other leading emerging economy, does not seem much brighter. The media outlets Facebook and WhatsApp are already banned in China, the most restrictive country when it comes to ICO’s, prompting social media consumers to use WeChat, a similar app that allows the options of payment transfers and purchasing goods without ever leaving the app.

Jared Tate, founder of DigiByte, believes that “If history is any sort of track record, the Chinese government will opt to do something very similar to Libra, creating their own digital currency”. The central bank of China is reportedly working on its own digital currency to stop Facebook from taking over the market.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ecosystem to expect other players, inspired by Facebook

Charles Hoskinson in an interview for the Financial Fox

Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Input-Output Hong Kong, shared in his interview for the Financial Fox his prediction of the Crypto and Blockchain market: “The existence of Facebook in the market will be an invitation to the others to come in as well. It is kind of the next wave and a great competitive pressure to existing players such as Cardanos, Ethereums and Bitcoins to evolve more quickly. Ultimately it’s Darwinian technology and we have to be obsessed with usability, consumer experience and usefulness in order to survive. Facebook has certain advantages which other smaller players don’t.”

However, those advantages don’t seem to be stopping other big companies either. We are possibly expecting to see other big platform providers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft entering the Blockchain and Crypto space. Samsung has already announced experiments on developing an Ethereum-based Blockchain , while Nestle announced its new Blockchain initiative to support its supply chain.

Decentralised technology

The decentralised nature of blockchain technology means that it doesn’t rely on a central point of control. A lack of a single authority makes the system fairer and considerably more secure. The way in which data is recorded onto a blockchain epitomises its most revolutionary quality: decentralisation.

Instead of relying on a central authority to securely transact with other users, blockchain utilises innovative consensus protocols across a network of nodes to validate transactions and record data in a manner that is incorruptible. However, that can’t really be said in the case of Libra, which is supposedly backed up by the pool of securities.

In that respect, Jared Tate, founder of Digibyte, believes that the truly decentralised projects out there really cannot be compared with these fiat currency-backed projects. Jared told Financial Fox that in the case of Libra, there needs to be a differentiation from the regulators’ perspective on how an everyday, transactional stable coin is operated versus a truly decentralised digital asset like Bitcoin or Digibyte. We can’t really compare the two as they don’t function in the same way, considering that the Libra project is pegged to the US dollar, which is subject to inflation.

So far, Facebook doesn’t have a very good record of decentralising things and giving power to the users. It is, like most Silicon Valley companies, the middleman of necessity and in occupying that position, has the enormous control over your privacy, your information and your autonomy. “They like being dictators in that respect”, said Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Input-Output Hong Kong in an interview for the Financial Fox.

That perhaps subjects Facebook’s decentralised technology to even more scrutiny, as calling it decentralised while in essence it is not, makes it even more controversial.

So where does that leave Libra? Ultimately, it is at the forefront of this paradigm shift towards a more developed digital economy of the future. But until further developments are completed and authorities start to warm to the idea of digital money, Libra’s near future depends on its collaboration with the financial sector, social impact organisations, regulators and experts across various industries. This is the way to ensure that a sustainable, secure and trusted framework underpins Libra’s system, allowing it to deliver a leap forward for economic empowerment on a global scale by ultimately encouraging the development of digital economy, as has been promised by Facebook.

To watch the debate about Libra and follow other related stories subscribe to our Youtube Channel and follow @financialfox for the upcoming updates.

Libra’s boundary pushing causes worldwide backlash

A month after the announcement of Libra’s proposed launch, Facebook’s cryptocurrency has faced considerable backlash from authorities, raising uncertainty around its future plans. The blockchain project has been greeted frostily by most regulators and financial institutions all over the world, as they collectively indicate that an unregulated digital currency available to billions of social media users globally would bring about significant financial disruption.

The negative response has prompted skepticism around the feasibility of bringing Libra to the market in 2020 — if ever. According to CNBC, the tech industry is expressing doubts over whether the cryptocurrency will become available next year, in light of the issues raised by US lawmakers.

The lack of public trust in the social media company is also a factor that could hinder further developments: “Facebook won’t get far with Libra if consumers are worried about their financial data being compromised or misused, and regulators don’t trust Facebook to keep that data secure,” Dimitri Sirota, CEO of BigID, a New York data privacy firm said to CNBC.

The US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the US central bank has “serious concerns” about Libra, the Wall Street Journal reported. Both the Federal Reserve System and the separate Financial Stability Oversight Council are meeting to discuss Libra alongside global policy makers.

Facebook faces pushback from regulators over Libra launch

The backlash, however, does not seem to have stopped Facebook from moving forward with their plans. In a letter addressed to the US Senate Banking Committee last Monday, Facebook blockchain lead and Libra project leader David Marcus attempted to ease concerns, stating that the social media company is open to collaboration with authorities and other regulatory bodies to make the Libra project work within the right framework:

“I want to give you my personal assurance that we are committed to taking the time to do this right. We understand that big ideas take time, that policymakers and others are raising important questions, and that we can’t do this alone. We want, and need, governments, central banks, regulators, non-profits, and other stakeholders at the table and value all of the feedback we have received,” Facebook’s blockchain lead stated.

David Marcus is scheduled to testify before the Banking Committee next week.

India and China not open to Libra, but China considers the benefits of crypto

If Facebook is facing problems with the US Senate, the international stance on Libra is no friendlier. In the biggest Asian markets, India and China, Facebook’s cryptocurrency seems to be an increasingly remote possibility.

Due to tight regulations, Facebook is currently locked out of the Indian market, one of the largest in the world. Since April 2018, all entities regulated by the Reserve Bank of India have been banned from dealing in cryptocurrencies and virtual coins, and the government is working on a draft to increase penalties for those who trade and use cryptocurrencies.

“Design of the Facebook currency has not been fully explained,” India’s Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Garg said in an interview in New Delhi on Saturday. “But whatever it is, it would be a private cryptocurrency and that’s not something we have been comfortable with.”

Chinese authorities are reluctant to let Libra enter the market, but show interest in cryptocurrencies

Meanwhile in China, a senior official from the Central Bank stated that Libra must be “put under the oversight of monetary authorities” as reported by Bloomberg earlier this week.

Because as a cryptocurrency, Libra would be able to be transacted freely across borders, Chinese authorities are concerned that it “won’t be sustainable without the support and supervision of central banks,” Mu Changchun, deputy director of the People’s Bank of China’s payments department, told Bloomberg.

Mu has also expressed further concerns about the lack of clear commitment to counter money-laundering mechanisms, as well as clarification as to how Libra will protect its users’ privacy.

Nevertheless, Chinese authorities have not ruled out the use of digital currencies in their territory as they recognise the advantages of the technology in terms of improved efficiency.

Libra’s announcement has prompted the PBOC (People’s Bank of China) to look into plans to introduce a government-backed digital currency, aiming to secure China’s position in the global cryptocurrency race, as reported by the China Daily.

“A digital currency issued by the central bank can improve the efficiency of monetary policy, and help to optimise the payment system,” said Wang Xin, director of the PBOC Research Bureau.

Don't miss Cassiopeia live debate about Libra with crypto experts. SUNDAY 7PM UK TIME. Subscribe to our Youtube Channel and follow @stefixy @financialfox for participating link.

Cardano: Blockchain-powered economic development

Technology has proved to be of the greatest propellers of economic development in recent years. The advent of innovative technologies such as blockchain has offered new solutions to old problems in the global economy. One of the main projects acting in this space is Cardano, a blockchain enterprise based on human-centered approach to innovation with the aim of providing financial services and technological infrastructure to developing countries and to the three billion people who are excluded from mainstream banking services.

Cassiopeia Services is pleased to introduce you to the first in a series of industry-focused articles and interviews featuring IOHK’s founder Charles Hoskinson, and the cryptocurrency Cardano ̶ a decentralised public blockchain aiming to provide financial services and ultimately help individuals in developing countries achieve financial inclusion.

Founded in 2015, Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) is a technology engendering company that, through innovative solutions such as their blockchain platform Cardano, aims to provide financial services to the three billion people worldwide who are currently excluded from mainstream banking, ultimately helping them achieve financial inclusion. Through building solutions, IOHK aims to push for a fairer and more transparent order that would help a great number of people, by means of bringing back trust into the systems.

The company recognises the high potential in future Blockchain studies, as well as its rapidly developing market. As such, education presents a core element of IOHK’s philosophy, consequently shaping its mission: to establish a reputation as a leading institution in the academic study of blockchain by tackling difficult research questions and building a strong foundation in the blockchain industry.

Research Based Approach to identifying and testing solutions

Confirming that education is truly the backbone of its approach, IOHK employs decentralised research teams across the globe, comprised of academic experts in specific fields. The teams work together to bringing innovation and development through collective effort.

In addition, besides bringing innovation to the market, IOHK aims to teach the local talented individuals on the uses and implications of such technologies, thus contributing much more to the field than just a “finalised product”.

IOHK’s Director of Education Lars Brünjes, a Pure Mathematics PhD, explains: “We strive to offer the highest quality teaching to selected students who will become the next generation of young talent in the industry.”

Speculatively, this can have larger implications on further development and growth of the specific market IOHK operates within, as it enables individuals to fully grasp the uses and opportunities the innovation bears.

Cardano: A deconstructed cryptocurrency concept focused on the Emerging Economies

By deconstructing the concept of cryptocurrency, IOHK team created the blockchain platform Cardano. Cardano is home to the ADA cryptocurrency, which can be used to send and receive digital funds. This digital cash represents the future of money, making possible fast, direct transfers that are guaranteed to be secure through the use of cryptography.

Cardano is more than just a cryptocurrency, however: it is a technological platform that will be capable of running the financial applications currently used every day by individuals, organisations and governments all around the world. Cardano will also run decentralised applications, or dapps ̶ services not controlled by any single party but instead operating on a blockchain.

This is the first blockchain project to be developed from a scientific philosophy, and the only one to be designed and built by a global team of leading academics and engineers. It is essential that the technology is secure, flexible and scalable for use by many millions of users.

David Esser, the IOHK’s product manager focusing on Cardano explains the research process in detail: “IOHK employs an evidence-based approach that requires a lot of research upfront by scientists and academics researching on how we might approach something and try to write mathematically provable specifications. When you’re building a brand new technology it’s the things that never existed before, and so during that process we discover the details in how it would fit better for the market. We have to adjust to the realities of the technologies. We spend a lot of time on research and theory before putting down the work.”

A major innovation by Cardano is that it will balance the needs of users with those of regulators, and in doing so combines privacy with regulation. The vision for Cardano is that its new style of regulated computing will bring greater financial inclusion by providing open access to fair financial services for all.

Cardano’s main focus is to apply academic research and evidence-based solution to provide technological infrastructure for the developing world, where blockchain can have a transformational impact: “Emerging markets are where cryptocurrencies matter,” says founder Charles Hoskinson.

By employing a public-private partnership approach with the governments of developing countries, Cardano employs Blockchain, as it is believed to be the best way to rebuild fraudulent systems, looking to enable fraud-free land registration, fairer voting systems and improved supply chains.

Cardano is currently working with projects in 25 developing economies worldwide such as Ethiopia, Mongolia, Georgia, and hopes to be present in 52 African countries by 2020.

Part-1 of our in-depht interview with founder Charles Hoskinson will be live on Friday on our FinancialFox channel. Follow us on @Cassiopeia_ltd @_FinancialFox. Stay tuned!

The two sides of Facebook’s crypto coin Libra

The launch of the cryptocurrency Libra announced by Facebook earlier this week has prompted many discussions about the future of finance, particularly the role of cryptocurrencies. The project has grabbed the attention of regulators all over the world, most of them calling for the project to be delayed or even scrapped.

In the crypto space, some experts have expressed their disapproval over a big tech company entering the area, while also acknowledging that the launch of Libra could be a tipping point in the history of blockchain.

On the latest FinancialFox, crypto PR guru Stefania Barbaglio interviewed On Yavin, CEO and founder of Cointelligence about his views on Libra. He is an angel investor and serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the tech industry. A leading authority on cryptocurrency, he is also a data-driven strategist.

His company, Cointelligence, conducts data research and analysis for the crypto economy. Cointelligence was created to bridge the information gap in the crypto economy, and also offers professional due diligence and blockchain advisory services.

“The new Facebook coin is a fake cryptocurrency. They are calling it cryptocurrency because it is a buzzword. It may be a digital currency, but it is not a cryptocurrency. It is a crap coin,” says On Yavin.

On believes that Libra is not a real cryptocurrency because of three main factors:

- A Facebook digital currency will by definition be largely centralised.

- Facebook has a huge trust problem after its poor track record in securing its users’ personal data.

- Facebook is partnering with big companies such as Uber, Paypal, Vodafone and Visa to create Libra. In essence, this means that big corporations will continue to control the system and exploit users. “That is the opposite of what a cryptocurrency should be,” says On.

Libra might eventually have a financial value, he says, but the whole system sounds illegitimate and it does not represent a real cryptocurrency.

Libra could make crypto mainstream

Whilst Libra itself might sound like a poorly developed cryptocurrency, its impact on the cryptocurrency market is likely to be positive and could be the move needed to bring cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

Regardless of the future of Libra, its launch has exposed huge numbers of people to cryptocurrencies and the world of blockchain. Because Facebook has now officially stepped in, crypto may start to be viewed as more serious and credible.

Up to this point, conversations about cryptocurrencies have been nearly exclusive to technologists. Now with the launch of Libra, Facebook is practically making cryptocurrency available to its two and a half billion users at once.

“I think that the positive side is that Libra will get so many people introduced to the new generation of digital payments and some of them will want to learn more about real cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum,” says On.

With the threat of disruption posed by a company the size and influence of Facebook launching a digital currency, regulators and central banks have started to look seriously at the crypto world, which could prompt much needed regulations of the market.

The launch of Libra means that the cryptocurrency market is bound to become more interesting for outside investors. Nevertheless, it is important for those entering the crypto space to be careful and carry out thorough research before putting down large amounts of money. We are still at the ‘young’ stage of the crypto market, so there are plenty of scams going around, which can easily lure eager investors into fraudulent projects.

On’s company Cointelligence helps to identify the most authentic projects and exchanges in crypto. Cointelligence found over 80–85% of crypto exchanges to be faking trading volume to get their rankings up on listing websites to increase revenue. “There’s very little transparency on crypto exchanges. This is misleading to investors,” says On. He warns users of different types of malicious actors around:

- Scammers: people who launch fake projects with the intention of stealing investors’ money

- ‘Mini scammers’: people who found crypto ventures quite genuinely, although the project is not feasible in reality and does not bring returns

- ‘Scamming neighbours’: the partners of a fake project, such as the publishers that advertise it and YouTubers and influencers who promote it

More developments are sure to unfold soon and whatever happens, the crypto market could be on its way to a great transformation. All eyes on Libra.

Watch the full interview here:

Facebook’s Libra sparks privacy and security concerns

On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled plans of launching its own digital currency, Libra, in the first half of 2020. Facebook’s stablecoin will let users shop and send money overseas with almost zero transaction fees.

Facebook has united forces with some of the major names in payment and e-services including Mastercard, PayPal, Uber, Visa, Spotify, eBay, and Vodafone, to form the 28-members Libra Association, based in Geneva. Facebook hopes to have. It is reported they expect to have 100 members by Libra’s launch, showing the ambition underlying its plans. The Libra currency will be stored on the e-wallet Calibra, which is being developed by Facebook. According to the company, the Calibra wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app.

In less than 24 hours, the project already raised great concerns as Libra is poised to become a global currency that could potentially challenge major fiat currencies such as the US dollar, as well as take down traditional financial institutions.

Having a centralised tech company like Facebook orchestrating the launch and system of a cryptocurrency goes against one of the core principles of digital currencies advocates: decentralisation. With 2.7 billion users, Facebook has constantly been a target for hackers and malicious actors, because of the value of its users’ data — it can become even worse holding large amounts of money.

Whilst a more detailed plan of how Libra is going to work, it is clear that it will have a significant impact over the current financial system, perhaps even become a major player, given the large influence of Facebook.

Questions over privacy of financial information have emerged to put into question Facebook’s credibility of managing a digital currency. Recalling the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw the hijack of 87 million users data, just a year ago, Facebook does not have a positive track record of securing users’ data and privacy — so quite understandably, there have been doubts about Zuckerberg’s firm dealing with people’s money. Facebook has constantly been a target for hackers and malicious actors.

“It’s difficult for me to see anyone who cares about privacy actually adopting this new offering, particularly given Facebook’s laughable record on respecting their users’ privacy choices,” cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs said to CNBC.

The lack of legal protection for users is another of the main worries about the Libra project. The sector of digital currencies is at the moment largely unregulated, justifying the concerns of having the tech giant Facebook entering the competition. So far, in the cryptocurrency realm, investors across the world have lost hundreds of millions of dollars through price volatility, crypto-exchange hacks and illegitimate projects. In 2018 alone, $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency was stolen through hacking.

The market has also faced money-laundering and terrorist-financing allegations. In light of these allegations, Facebook said that the Calibra system plans to conduct compliance checks on customers who want to sign up, using verification and anti-fraud processes that are common among banks.

According to Kevin Weil, who runs product for the Libra initiative, the project gives a chance for regulators around the world to bring their attention to cryptocurrencies and start creating mechanisms of regulating the system: “It gives us a basis to go and have productive conversations with regulators around the world,” he told Reuters. “We’re eager to do that.”

Cryptocurrency experts took to social media to express their concerns over what Facebook’s entry to the crypto space could mean.

“If you’re concerned with Facebook knowing too much or having too much access to your private data, Libra will give Facebook even more direct access to your financial information,” said Phil Chen, a cryptocurrency expert who pioneered HTC’s first blockchain smartphone to the Independent.

“It’s not just access to the information of your transactions, it’s direct access to your wealth and capital. If the top-line question about Facebook and antitrust is about whether to break it up and spin off the likes of WhatsApp and Instagram — well Libra is the most invasive and dangerous form of surveillance they have designed thus far. This will easily become the most dangerous antitrust case in history.”

The Libra project has proved to be worrying for lawmakers who were quick to reprimand the cryptocurrency. The project is suffering backlash from regulators and lawmakers in the US and Europe with urges for the project to be delayed or even paused.

“Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a crypto-currency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action,” said US Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters.

The French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Marie, has said that this new cryptocurrency cannot operate as a sovereign currency. The minister also stated that the Libra currency should be a matter of discussion on the upcoming G7 meeting with central bankers in July.

On the next FinancialFox, crypto expert Stefania Barbaglio will interview On Yavin, CEO and Founder of Coin Intelligence. Coin Intelligence conducts data research and data analysis for the crypto economy. On will be sharing insights about the latest developments of Facebook’s Libra and its impact on the crypto market.

Don’t miss our next episode live tomorrow!

Cassiopeia Data Series: Intersection of Data and Disruptive Technologies

In this Information Age, data has become one of the most valuable assets in society. Data is defined as pieces of information collected to be examined and considered, and used to help decision-making; or information in an electronic form that can be stored and used by a computer.

The Global Big Data market is expected to reach $118.52 billion by 2022, growing at an impressive rate of 26.0% from 2015 to 2022, which includes the aggregated value of data in different products and services. The main factors driving this trend upwards are growth in consumer data, superior information security, and enhanced business efficiencies.

The data market is vast and full of opportunities, especially for those developing and curating technology. The total number of data workers in the 28 EU countries is estimated at 6.1 million, a figure that could almost double by the year 2020 if growth keeps on at this pace. On top of this, the number of organisations producing and supplying data-related products and services could reach almost 350,000 in 2020, when the number of data users could be more than 1.3 million.

Data is a concept society is still trying to grasp, and the questions around its uses are numerous and complex — concerning data ownership, privacy and surveillance, among others. Data requires careful and ethical management, as once information is made available online, it rarely gets deleted, making it difficult to measure the consequences of misuse.

“You can’t make a data set disappear. Once you post it, and people download it, it exists on hard drives all over the world,” says researcher Adam Harvey, whose project Megapixels documented the details of dozens of data sets and how they are being used, to the FT.

It is important to note that data in itself has no beneficial or damaging features. What defines it are the applications and purposes which it serves. As disruptive technologies continue to evolve and digitisation becomes more widespread, the uses of data become increasingly more diverse.

A PwC study has identified the top eight disruptive technologies of today, which are the flagships of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and can dramatically change the way we do business: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), Drones, 3D Printing and Robotics.

These are the core technologies that will matter most for business, across every industry, over the years to come. A stronger way to harness those technologies would be combining them to yield powerful applications that are even more beneficial and efficient.

From PwC, The Essential Eight

Each one of these technologies interacts with data in different ways: they have diverse functions. Ultimately, harnessing data is a fundamental part of this new wave of technology.

Internet of Things (IoT) collects data

In an Internet of Things (IoT) system, computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people are all interrelated with the use of unique identifiers (UIDs), and with which they can collect and transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

IoT technology is used in the consumer, enterprise, industrial, and government market segments, each of which produce massive amounts of data, generally of the unstructured variety, requiring data technologies for management and processing.

This is where Artificial Intelligence enters the scene…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes and analyses data

With the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, we enhance the ability of big data analytics and IoT platforms to provide value to each of these market segments. AI algorithms can be trained to manage and process data according to certain standards. This feature turns raw data into meaningful information, which is then useful for decision-making purposes.

This chart shows forecasted cumulative global artificial intelligence revenue 2016–2025, by use case.

Blockchain stores and distributes data

In the blockchain realm, data and decentralisation enjoy a powerful relationship. Data can be fed into blockchain networks securely and privately, avoiding centralised storage. Blockchain can be used as the foundation for decentralised data storage providers.

Because of the architecture of blockchain networks, data stored on them is immutable and cannot be forged, making it a highly secure technology for preventing fraud.

The “essential eight” technologies are evolving rapidly, becoming increasingly more sophisticated and equally complex, also prompting questions around legislation and ethical uses of data. The scenario leaves plenty of room for further research and discussion about how technology can help drive society forward without compromising rights and principles.

Cassiopeia Services is a key partner and the official PR/Media representative of the World Ethical Data Forum (WEDF), a leading global organisation that embraces the full spectrum of interrelated issues around the use and future of data.

We are working with WEDF on its next Global Forum set to take place in London in 2020. Dates, venue and keynote speakers will be announced in due course.

For more information about how to get involved, drop us an email at cassiopeia@worldwthicaldata.org