Two local governments in West Bengal, India are integrating the application for birth certificates on a blockchain system developed by Lynked.world, a blockchain app company based in the Netherlands.

Bankura Municipal Corporation and Durgapur Municipal Corporation will be using blockchain tech to handle administrative operations such as processing requests and verifying legal identities to make processes like applications for legal documents such as birth certificates more streamlined.

Lynked World CEO and Founder Arun Kumar cited the need for an overhaul of the “cumbersome” systems currently being used for these processes, saying government agencies are still a position where they need citizens standing in front of an agent with their ID in hand to access basic services.

Kumar told CCN that the platform is ready for launch and that both West Bengal municipalities will be able to issue birth certs and other legal documents and other certificates as early as September 2018, with 1 million birth certs expected to be placed on blockchain by the end of the year.

“These Birth and other certificates would be digitally authenticated by issuing authorities (municipalities) and that authentication will be stored on blockchain which facilitates verification of these documents by any third party organization to whom owners provide access.

Basically Blockchain would be used to write the hash value of certificate together with owner of certificate and who issued it for the authentication and verification.”

The LYNK token will be the native token of the platform and enable citizens to make applications. The company broadly specializes in ID verification via its app which includes a digital wallet for storing personal information contained in documents like passports, medical records, academic degrees, and driver’s licenses which can be securely verified on blockchain technology. A QR code is used to quickly connect users to their legal records stored on the blockchain network, greatly reducing the amount of time and money that needs to be spent on basic ID verification.

India has embraced blockchain technology by establishing a blockchain district in the country of 1.3 billion people and pledging to provide regulatory support for companies and startups. The government has also stated its intention to use blockchain technology to increase transparency and reduce government corruption.

Meanwhile, other nations have implemented blockchain ID verification pilot programs in areas like voting from abroad in the US, verifying academic degrees in Australia, and government auditing in China.

The initiative to streamline birth cert applications and put citizen birth records on the blockchain in India is the latest in a series of important steps in adoption that continue to demonstrate the usefulness of the new technology. While it’s arguably too soon to say whether the systems will be ultimately successful, the intercontinental adoption is a strong vote of confidence in DLT as groundbreaking innovation continues to disrupt high-level government systems and pave the way for growth in the sector.

It’s the dead of winter, but Justin, a.k.a. “Crypto Kid,” is wearing little more than board shorts, a cap over his bleached blond hair and his signature tiger paw scarf. With a giddy grin, he shows off his outhouse before leaping from an icy trampoline up into the tree house where he lives.

Nothing about the quirky college dropout (least of all his appearance and living arrangements) screams millionaire, but make no mistake: Crypto Kid is sitting on a massive fortune, built on bitcoin.

In CNBC’s new original documentary, “Bitcoin: Boom or Bust,” Crypto Kid takes anchor Melissa Lee inside his whimsical world as he takes on crypto critics, preaches the blockchain gospel and explains why he thinks the Bitcoin gold rush is just getting started. But even he admits, not all that glitters is gold.

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi sent a “friend request” to a member of the Zuckerberg clan, and that friend request has been accepted.

This is after Randi Zuckerberg, the elder sister to the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was unveiled as a member of Huobi Chain Expert Advisory Committee. The serial entrepreneur and author is currently the CEO of Zuckerberg Media, a New York-based content creation firm she founded five years ago.

Zuckerberg will join seven other experts on the committee, which is designed to serve as a think tank for the digital asset trading platform. Notably, the Huobi Chain Expert Advisory Committee will provide professional advice as well as support during the Huobi Chain Superhero Championship Program’s election phase. The Huobi Chain Superhero Championship Program was launched a little over two months ago as a way of enhancing community participation in the development of Huobi’s planned public blockchain.

Governance and Development of the Huobi Blockchain

Additionally, the Huobi Chain Expert Advisory Committee will offer the digital asset exchange counsel with regards to the governance and development matters of Huobi Chain.

Besides Zuckerberg, other experts on the advisory committee include investor and bitcoin evangelist, Jeffrey Wernick, and the co-founder and CEO of bitcoin mining giant Bitmain, Jihan Wu.

Though she currently holds no position at Facebook, the Harvard-educated professional was an early employee of the social media giant, serving as a spokesperson and a marketing director. With Facebook already having launched a blockchain initiative there will thus be no appearances of conflict of interest, like was the case with the social media giant’s blockchain head, David Marcus, who had to quit his position as a board member of Coinbase recently.

Facebook Eyes Blockchain

As CCN reported earlier this month, Marcus tendered his resignation from the board of the cryptocurrency exchange on the grounds that it was the “appropriate” thing to do.

The launch of Facebook’s blockchain division in May this year came on the back of the social network’s founder having stated his intentions to study decentralized ledger technologies with a view of potentially fixing the platform’s myriad problems this year.

So far, Facebook has released few details regarding its blockchain initiative. This has given room for speculation with the most recent being that the social media giant was considering forking the Stellar blockchain. However, the Silicon Valley giant refuted the reports, as CCN reported.

“We are not engaged in any discussions with Stellar, and we are not considering building on their technology,” a Facebook spokesperson said at the time.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reportedly established a new internal unit dedicated to researching and regulating new emerging technologies, specifically cryptocurrency, blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).

Holding back on a formal announcement, the RBI has discreetly formed a new unit to research and possibly supervise disruptive technologies through draft rules in the future, the Economic Times reported on Monday.

The unit has been operational for a month and already sees an as-of-yet unnamed general manager leading it, according to the report citing two sources aware of developments at the central bank.

One of the sources reported added:

“As a regulator, the RBI also has to explore new emerging areas to check what can be adopted and what cannot. A central bank has to be on top to create regulations. This new unit is on an experimental basis and will evolve as time passes.”

The development comes at a time when the central bank – after years of public caution against trading cryptocurrencies like bitcoin – said it was necessary to regulate the sector during a Supreme Court hearing in July this year.

Earlier in April, the RBI issued a circular to all regulated financial institutions – including banks – to forbid them from transacting or providing services to companies associated with cryptocurrencies. The effect of the mandate has had a crippling effect on domestic cryptocurrency trading and has seen crypto exchanges oppose the banking ban that is now a matter being contested at the Supreme Court.

Senior government officials – not directly associated with the central bank – who are part of a panel discussing regulations for the sector have ruled out a complete ban, insisting that cryptocurrencies are likely to be classified as commodities.

State Cryptocurrency Powered by Blockchain

In a significant endorsement of the underlying decentralized technology powering cryptocurrencies, the research arm of the central bank insisted that blockchain technology had “matured enough” to enable the digitization of India’s fiat currency, the rupee, into a digital currency. The white paper backing those notable claims was published in January 2017.

The RBI’s executive director confirmed research toward a ‘fiat cryptocurrency’ in late 2017 with reports of naming the token ‘Lakshmi coin’ after the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity.

The RBI is also developing a blockchain platform of its own to enable and support multiple commercial banking applications in the country. As detailed previously, the central bank has already determined various areas in banking, financial and registry services ripe for blockchain implementation.

Just a week after an analyst poked fun at the network, which frequently covers the industry, over its record of correctly predicting Bitcoin’s future price moves, the announcement of ‘Bitcoin: Boom or Bust’ has set a curious tone.

Uploading a trailer of the film, which will air on Monday evening at 6 pm EST, staff claimed that ‘HODL’ was “the most important acronym in the Bitcoin vernacular.” ‘HODL,’ as speakers of that vernacular will know, is not, in fact, an acronym.

CNBC promises to uncover “the elusive and controversial world of bitcoin,” which it describes as “the cryptocurrency that sparked a global frenzy.”

“Is it the future of finance, a bubble or worse?” it asks in further introductory comments.

CRYPTO KID VS. WOLF OF WALL STREET

The documentary will feature news anchor Melissa Lee, the person who has also become well-known as the moderator of the network’s various cryptocurrency discussions.

The pre-release material features interviews with ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Jordan Belfort — a well-documented Bitcoin skeptic — while putting the case for Bitcoin’s future is the considerably lesser-known ‘Crypto Kid.’

“You buy on the dip and HODL,” he tells Lee, who refers to him as the “poster boy for HODLing.”

The latest mixed blessing publicity stunt for cryptocurrency is by no means the most controversial to appear from CNBC in recent times. That label perhaps belongs to a bizarre phase in late 2017, when its Twitter staff began posting anti-Bitcoin content while highly favoring altcoin Bitcoin Cash. As Bitcoinist reported at the time, rumors soon began swirling that executives from the altcoin had influenced the coverage — which reverted to focusing on Bitcoin several weeks later.

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and OK Blockchain Centre Sdn Bhd (OBC) have started a partnership to enhance research and development of blockchain technology in the region.

UTM deputy vice-chancellor of research and innovation Prof Datuk Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail said RM150,000 was also donated by OBC to the university for the setup of a blockchain lab in the university.

“In line with the establishment of this lab, OBC has also channelled a digital currency called Wowbit (WWB) worth RM50,000 to be used in the blockchain case studies.

“Studies on social impact from blockchain technology will also be implemented and the results of these studies will help build a user-friendly system as well as assist in determining blockchain system development policies,” he said in a press conference after an agreement was signed between OBC and UTM in conjunction with OBC’s opening ceremony.

“Blockchain technology is created to prevent digital transaction scams and one of the benefits of blockchain is that it uses cryptocurrencies.

“Although cryptocurrency is increasingly being accepted by the public, many are still unclear about the technology and hence more efforts are needed to educate them,” he said.

He added that partnership is also a step towards expanding FinTech (Financial Technology) in the region and make Johor a centre for blockchain technology known as Cryptobay.

OBC chief executive officer Gen Matsuda said about 40 fresh graduates from a local university, mainly from UTM School of Computing, have been recruited as the pioneering team of OBC.

“By the end of this year, OBC plans to employ up to 100 engineers with a combination of fresh graduates and experts with blockchain background.

“At full operation, OBC is expected to house up to 150 programmers in our office here at Medini City,” he said, adding that Medini City has potential to become a Cryptobay in the region.

He added that the collaboration with UTM would also include industry visits, practical training, sharing of information and technological expertise, sharing of real-world solutions, exchange of academic materials as well as collaboration in publications and research.

There is certainly much excitement these days surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT), which has become one the most hyped expressions in technology across industries as well as government. Projected to have 25 billion end-points connected to the global network come 2021, its growth is driven by both consumer and enterprise adoption.

Highlighting what is in store, it has been predicted by IDC that in 2025 a total of 180 trillion gigabytes of new data will be generated in that year from around 80 billion connected devices. And, the amount of data from IoT that will be analyzed and utilized to change business processes will be as large as the amount of all the data created in 2020.

On the consumer end, more people are buying smart gadgets. Top appliance and electronics manufacturers like Haier, which now owns GE Appliances, and Samsung are expected to continue integrating smart features and connectivity to their products.

Increasing affordability is also lowering the barriers to consumer adoption. Take the smart appliances market, which was valued at around $18.82 billion last year. It is expected to reach to $49.12 billion by 2024.

But despite projections of swift growth in consumer applications, it appears that enterprise adoption has not been as speedy as many IoT advocates are hoping it to be. Indeed, after assessing 26 IoT providers, technology research firm ISG found out that the rate of IoT adoption in enterprise lags behind the rate of development.

One of the largest law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will launch a live test of a blockchain-based shipment tracking system, tech news and media agency GSN reports August 24.

In the upcoming test, the CBP will reportedly combine two separate systems: the CPB’s legacy application and a blockchain-powered platform developed by the agency’s parent body — and the country’s primary border control organization — the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The test results will determine how the distributed ledger technology (DLT) is able to enhance the verification process of certificates of origin from the partners of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central America Free Trade Agreement, as well as reduce the time-consuming procedure of the resubmission of shipping data.

While testing, the agency also intends to establish standards of interaction between different blockchains in order to ensure that all firms and software will be easily connected to customs without the need for additional customization.

Vincent Annunziato, director of CBP’s Transformation & Innovation Division, commented that at the moment various blockchain platforms are not compatible enough, stressing that ensuring data security is “of the upmost [sic] importance.”

The CBP is also reportedly developing a proof-of-concept scheme for dealing with intellectual property rights. At this point, Annunziato stressed that the successful testing of the blockchain project will enable consumers to define if a certain product is authentic or not.

According to GSN, the CBP is also now collaborating with blockchain startups such as Factom and the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) on another blockchain project to combat the interception of data from sensors and cameras on the border. The project is reportedly at the stage of a six-month field test in Texas.

The DHS had previously announced that it is preparing to implement blockchain technology in securing the sharing and storage of data collected by security cameras, sensors, and internal data bases in early 2017, in a move to prevent manipulation of data and potential hacking attacks on devices operating on the borders and airports.

Earlier this month, tech giant IBM and Danish transport and logistics giant Maersk launched a joint blockchain-based shipping project, “TradeLens,” with 95 organizations involved and 154 million shipping events shipping events already captured.

The U.S.’s second-largest bank, Bank of America (BofA), has applied for another blockchain patent on the development of a secure crypto storage system, according to a patent document published by the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) August 23.

The patent, entitled “Block Chain Encryption Tags,” describes a system of recording and storing cryptocurrency-related transactions that are handled by enterprises. In short, the invention offers a system of data security for blockchain networks by implementing encryption and linking data units to the blocks of a certain blockchain.

In the patent document filed on April 18, 2018, the North Carolina-based bank introduced a system that includes a device with a processor that first receives a set of data elements, and then acquires an encryption key prior to encrypting the elements within the first block on a blockchain.

The device further combines the encryption key with the generated encrypted element map in order to create and then encrypt the “creator tag,” which is then further embedded and published within the first block of the blockchain.

According to the document, the recent patent application by BofA is a reproduced version of a U.S. non-provisional application filed in 2014 by James G. Ronca and titled “Cryptocurrency Online Vault Storage System.”

BofA has previously taken steps for adopting blockchain technology, having filed nearly 50 blockchain-based patents as of June 2018, making it reportedly the largest holder of blockchain-related patents among all companies, even beating the tech giant IBM.

While BofA is one of the leading companies that promotes innovation in the blockchain sphere, the bank is still sceptical towards cryptocurrencies, despite having acquired a patent on the development of a digital currency exchange system in December 2017. In May, BofA reiterated its negative stance toward crypto, calling it “troubling” and confirming its decision to ban clients from buying crypto with their credit cards.

However, earlier this year, the bank had admitted to U.S. regulators that it may be “unable” to compete with the growing use of cryptocurrency, claiming that the inability to adapt “services and products to evolving industry standards and consumer preferences” can harm its business.

Indian cryptocurrency investors will find a reason to rejoice as they can now trade as they would before the ban by RBI. Giottus, an exchange platform has reopened INR withdrawals and deposits, while still keeping in line with the rules and regulations specified by the RBI. The COO of Giottus, Arjun Vijay, spoke to AMBCrypto in an exclusive interview regarding the move.

The Reserve Bank of India ordered all banks under its jurisdiction to halt any operations with cryptocurrency-related businesses, leading to prominent exchange platforms to begin offering Peer-to-Peer [P2P] trading solutions.

Giottus was one of the first exchanges to begin offering P2P in the country. It currently offers services for Bitcoin [BTC], Bitcoin Cash [BCH], Litecoin [LTC] Ethereum [ETH] and XRP. Vijay stated on the recent move:

“We were one of the first exchanges to launch P2P in India. We decided that the market needed a P2P after RBI bank fencing decision, as this was what was happening in China and other places. Since then, Giottus launched a P2P exchange solution along with normal exchange in April.”

He went on to say:

“From our P2P experience, we were able to identify people who can process deposits and withdrawals faster and who can deliver service levels that can raise the bar of Giottus. “

The way that Giottus has been able to reopen deposits and withdrawals for their customers is by identifying specific traders who can process deposits and withdrawals quickly. This is still done through P2P, allowing the traders to still function normally. Vijay also spoke about the other details in the service, such as collateral and operating fees, stating:

“We have now started processing INR deposits and withdrawals through these selected P2P partners and they currently on average process requests within 15 minutes. As a safety measure, we take collateral from these P2P partners, and these partners, as service fee charge 0.2% for the deposits and 0.2% for the withdrawals”

The traders can process about 60-70% of their collateral, stated Vijay. He also said that the partners cannot have a balance of more than 60% of their collateral. If they do, they are asked to increase the collateral or add more partners so that the risk is reduced. The COO gave his reason for the move and stated:

“The market was still yearning to get back to open order book, or spot exchange trading…we envisioned a model that can make this customer’s dream a reality.”

The program has been a big hit among the traders on the Giottus platform, and comes with a program for scaling their contribution to the exchange. The COO stated:

“The P2P part provides robustness and redundancy, so we’ll be adding more and more P2P partners. We have already got a lot of requests. The partners who provide better service, are given more weightage and asked to process more payments.”

The partners also stand to make money, as they collect 0.2% on all the transactions that are processed by them. This especially comes into play on bigger quantities, as they will be able to make a higher profit.

An Indian cryptocurrency investor, Arjun Tilak, stated:

“The RBI has been dead set on their ban on cryptocurrencies, as the board responsible for passing it believed that cryptocurrency is only used for illegal activities. I think moves like these by exchanges show that it is not, and that there is a vibrant trading community behind the technology in general. One can only hope that the government will embrace it.”