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Blockchain-for-Banks Startup Switches From Hyperledger to R3’s Corda



MonetaGo, a software development company that builds private blockchains for financial institutions and central banks, has decided to change its underlying architecture from Hyperledger Fabric to R3’s Corda platform.

The New York-based firm, which has been testing its blockchain-based anti-fraud platform for receivables financing in India, cited concerns with how Hyperledger Fabric would scale up once large numbers of participants joined the system.

 MonetaGo CEO Jesse Chanard told CoinDesk,

“As we looked at the different scalability pieces of Hyperledger, we saw that it could get challenging, at least at the current throughput of Fabric. So we started doing some testing on Corda and realized, at least in this specific case, it made a lot of sense.”

Specifically, Hyperledger uses numerous channels, or “subnets,” to ensure the privacy of data shared between parties on the blockchain. It’s this facet of its architecture – which is evolving with each version of Fabric, it must be said – that Chenard is referring to. 

“Trade finance involves thousands and thousands of participants Looking at the scalability and load testing, you have to ask how will Fabric scale when you’ve got tens of thousands of suppliers with tens of thousands of channels,” he said.

Corda, on the other hand, tackles privacy in a different way: it only shares data between counterparties to a deal (and possibly their regulators) rather than broadcasting it like on a public blockchain, removing the need for partitioning.

Hyperledger declined to comment on MonetaGo’s change of platform choice.

India to Mexico

A former bitcoin exchange that pivoted to enterprise software, MonetaGo had already been working with Corda to automate the issuance of commercial paper, yet another reason to make the change, Chenard said.

The next version of MonetaGo’s receivables anti-fraud network, built on Corda, will go live early this year in Mexico, he said. 

David E. Rutter, R3’s founder and CEO, said in a statement: “We’re excited to see the network running in production on Corda Enterprise with a number of our member banks in Mexico.”

In April of last year, MonetaGo announced that its receivables financing blockchain on Hyperledger Fabric was being tested in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of India. The central bank licensed it to three so-called factoring exchanges –  RXIL, A.TReDS, and M1xhange – where small businesses bring invoices to obtain financing from banks.

Squaring off

This is not the first time organizations that have been building on Hyperledger have changed their minds and moved to R3 Corda.

It has happened on a rather large scale in the blockchain and insurance world, where both the B3i and RiskBlock consortiums migrated to R3 after kicking the tires of Fabric.

However, the trade finance blockchain space has remained evenly split with likes of on the Hyperleder Fabric side and Marco Polo and Voltron using Corda.

Chenard explained that interoperability with the Corda trade finance ecosystem was another driver for MonetaGo’s decision, concluding:

“The trade finance solutions we are really looking at are Voltron and Marco Polo and we began to think, ‘wouldn’t it be great if you were writing this stuff natively for Corda, rather than trying to figure out how to connect Hyperledger and Corda and vice versa?’”

David Rutter image from CoinDesk archives

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New Zealand Blockchain Group to Request Government Blockchain Strategy




New Zealand-based blockchain industry group BlockchainNZ announced that it will request a national blockchain strategy from the government next Thursday, according to a press release on May 21.

The executive director of Blockchain NZ, Mark Pascall, will give a presentation to the New Zealand parliament’s economic development, science and innovation select committee hearing on the potential economic advantages of implementing blockchain tech solutions in the country.

The presentation will reportedly serve as an introductory seminar on blockchain, bitcoin, smart contracts, security tokens, and decentralized autonomous organisations.

Pascall commented that Blockchain NZ wants to have its experts work together with the government to formulate this strategy, and also highlighted the financial scope of blockchain in 2019:

“So, we really want government to take blockchain seriously and produce a strategy. We can help them with that so we strike a balance between trying to plan for an unpredictable future and taking some action so we realize huge potential economic benefits for the country.”

Blockchain NZ is a group of various blockchain-oriented business, organizations and experts, that was formed in 2016. In 2018, the organization voted to become part of the not-for-profit New Zealand Tech Alliance.

Various countries have either implemented or are in the process of implementing or have already implemented national blockchain strategies.

In April 2018, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the ‘UAE Blockchain Strategy 2021.’ In addition to other benefits, the plan will purportedly reduce government expenditures on documentation.

In February, the German government announced it would form such a strategy by mid-2019. Some parliamentarians of the Bundestag stated that the strategy should also include a framework for trading cryptocurrencies.

In March, Australia revealed a national blockchain roadmap and a funding boost to support the technology’s development. The new plan aims to make Australia a national leader in the blockchain industry.

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Central Bank of Laos Issues Warning Against Using Cryptocurrency




The central bank of Laos has warned the public against the use, purchase or sale of digital currencies, local news outlet Vientiane Times reported on May 21.

The Bank of the Lao PDR has issued a warning to financial market participants and the public against cryptocurrency transactions as they are considered illegal in the country. The bank previously banned financial institutions from conducting any operations with cryptocurrencies, as well as making investments in such an asset.

The bank is purportedly concerned about the anonymity of the sender and receiver in a cryptocurrency transaction, which it worries increases the risk of digital assets’ use in money laundering. A source familiar with the matter told Vientiane Times that authorities do not have a relevant security system to protect cryptocurrency owners.

While some countries like, Canada, Malta and Switzerland have embraced the new asset class to varying degrees, officials around the globe are still expressing skepticism toward crypto, while some hardliners call for outright bans.

In the United States, where the legal status of crypto can vary state-to-state, California Congressman Brad Sherman recently called for a full ban on cryptocurrencies. Sherman claimed that crypto presents a threat to the power of the U.S. dollar to affect world economic developments.

In April, Cointelegraph reported that the Indian government was considering a complete ban of cryptocurrencies under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act since it could purportedly be used for money laundering. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs reportedly stated that cryptocurrencies are used in fraudulent schemes to “defraud gullible investors”.

That same month, news broke that Pakistan — which banned cryptocurrency trading last April — is implementing new cryptocurrency regulations in an effort to improve its track record in fighting financial crime. The move was reportedly in part a reaction to demands from international monitoring body the Finance Action Task Force, which has repeatedly voiced concerns about cryptocurrencies’ role in terrorist financing.

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Firefox Quantum Offers Anti-Cryptojacking Feature




Firefox Quantum, the latest version of open-source internet browser Firefox, has a new privacy toggle that protects against cryptojacking, according to a blog post by Mozilla on May 21.

Mozilla previously warned official blog post that websites can deploy scripts that launch a crypto miner on a user’s machine without them being aware — a practice known as cryptojacking.

To combat these exploitative practices, Mozilla partnered with online privacy company Disconnect to create a crypto mining blocker for their browser. Users can now toggle an opt-in feature, that purportedly blocks would-be cryptojackers from taking advantage of spare computing power to mine cryptocurrencies.

Mozilla initially announced that it would block cryptojacking in new browser releases in August 2018. As per a report by Cointelegraph, Firefox featured cryptojacking protection in its Firefox Nightly 68 and Beta 67 versions this April, just prior to the launch of Quantum.

Firefox Quantum also aims to mitigate the practice of so-called “fingerprinting,” which makes a sort of digital fingerprint of a user that is employed to monitor their activities on the internet.

Cryptojacking at the consumer level was called “essentially extinct” by cybersecurity company MalwareBytes on April 23. According to the report:

“Marked by the popular drive-by mining company CoinHive shutting down operations in early March, consumer cryptomining seems to have gone the way of the dodo. Detections of consumer-focused bitcoin miners have dropped significantly over the last year and even from last quarter, while business-focused miners have increased from the previous quarter, especially in the APAC region.”

According to the report, consumer malware detections have gone down by approximately 40%. Businesses, however, are being targeted more heavily by cryptojacking attempts, with

Business detections increasing by about 7% during the first quarter of 2019.

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