Japan, 2 Other Countries Announce Big Blockchain Breakthroughs All in the Same Week

Japan, Singapore, and Russia all took a step further into blockchain innovation as they announced their respective breakthroughs on October 29. The shared date of their announcements may either be seen as a coincidence or a message that reflects how more countries are now accepting blockchain technologies into their systems.

Blockchain was created to provide secure, transparent, and efficient transactions. Governments and companies from different countries have incorporated blockchain into their businesses.

Switzerland, for one, encourages blockchain-based startups to bring more foreign investments to the country. Estonia also digitized its public services on a blockchain platform called e-Estonia. And just before October ended, the technological advancements of blockchain graced the banking industry of Japan, energy industry of Singapore, and diamond mining industry of Russia.

Japan’s Fujitsu Builds Blockchain-Based Inter-Bank Settlement Platform

According to a press release, the Japanese Bankers Association appointed Fujitsu, a multinational IT equipment and services company, to develop a collaborative blockchain platform to transfer funds settlements.

This project will be conducted along with nine other domestic banks including MUFG Bank, Resona Bank, and The Bank of Fukuoka, among others. The trial for this project will be initiated by Zengin-Net, the Japanese Banks’ Payment Clearing Network.

The purpose of the trial is to see if microtransactions can be done at a low cost. It will also test if the system will be reliable and viable. The press release states:

“It [Fujitsu] will additionally leverage the P2P money transfer platform it developed in fiscal [year] 2017 with three major banks to generate the money transfers to other banks that will trigger interbank funds transfer settlement. By participating in this project, Fujitsu aims to establish a new platform that utilizes cutting-edge technology to help realize a cashless society.”

The platform will be using its own digital currency for better functionality. Such currency, whose name is yet to be revealed, is planned to be tied with and be of equal value as Japanese yen. The purpose of this new digital currency is to lower interbank transfer costs and to eliminate the use other funds clearances from the process.

Singapore’s SP Group Launched Blockchain-Powered REC Marketplace

Singapore Power (SP) Group is a major corporation that provides electricity and gas transmission in the country. During the Energy Business Forum participated in by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) dignitaries in Singapore, the company unveiled the plan of a blockchain-powered renewable energy certificate (REC) marketplace.

The SP Group incorporated blockchain technology into the company’s system to increase the efficiency and transparency of its transactions and to improve its REC offerings. With the use of auto-generated smart contracts, SP Group can speed up its deal-making process while reducing costs.

During the ASEAN Energy forum, Samuel Tan, SP Group Chief Digital Officer, said:

“Through blockchain technology, we enable companies to trade in renewable energy certificates conveniently, seamlessly and securely, helping them achieve greener business operations and meet their sustainability targets.”

@SPGroupSG tweeted about the launch of the marketplace. The tweet read:

“At the #ASEAN Energy Business Forum, SP Group’s Chief Digital Officer Mr. Samuel Tan launched one of the world’s first blockchain-powered renewable energy certificate marketplace, enabling companies like CDL, @dbsbank & @katoennatie to go green & save cost.”

The REC marketplace is designed to support both local and international renewable energy contracts. In fact, the first smart contracts have already been signed by major Singapore companies DBS Bank and City Developments Unlimited. Other companies that joined the blockchain-powered marketplace are LYS Energy Solutions, Cleantech Solar Asia, and Katoen Natie Singapore.

Russia’s Alrosa Joined Tracr Pilot Project

The “World’s Largest Diamond Miner,” Alrosa, joined the pilot project of its rival diamond company De Beers Group. The project involves groups of companies working on blockchain-powered diamond traceability platform, Tracr.

On October 29, @debeersgroup tweeted about the announcement. It read:

“Tracr, the end-to-end #diamond industry #blockchain traceability platform being developed by De Beers Group in collaboration with industry stakeholders, is pleased to announce that @ALROSA_official has joined the platform’s pilot programme.”

With blockchain technology, Tracr can ensure auditability, tamper-proof records, security, smart contracts, democratic collaboration, and data authenticity.

Tracr creates for each diamond a digital certificate which is stored on the blockchain. The certificate consists of the record of past transactions and the diamond’s key attributes. With this process, clients can avoid buying “blood diamonds.”

By merging their operations together, Alrosa and De Beers can produce around half of the world’s supply of raw diamonds while assuring that their gems are natural and conflict-free. With the help of blockchain, both companies can provide transparency that will earn more their customer’s trust.

Sergey Ivanov, Alrosa CEO, said:

“Traceability is the key to further development of our market. It helps to ensure consumer confidence and fill information gaps, enabling people to enjoy the product without any doubts about ethical issues or undisclosed synthetics. Alrosa is glad to participate in testing Tracr, along with other market solutions. We believe tracing requires industry cooperation and complementation for the sake of a common goal.”

Other companies involved with the pilot Tracr initiative are Diarough, Rosy Blue NV, and Signet Jewelers, among others.

Fujitsu, SP Group, and Alrosa are only some of the companies worldwide that are aiding their country toward blockchain development. Other companies that have also integrated blockchain innovations in their businesses on the same week are trading platform WePower, consulting firm Bain & Company, and multinational financial services corporation Visa.