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Swiss Post, Swisscom Developing New Blockchain Platform on Hyperledger

Swiss Post, the country’s national postal service, and state-owned telecoms provider Swisscom have united to develop a blockchain platform.

The two announced Thursday that they are using Hyperledger Fabric to build their “simple, secure and sustainable” private blockchain infrastructure, intended to be utilized by their own, as well as other companies’, applications.

The infrastructure is designed to meet the high security levels required by banks, while all data hosted will remain within Switzerland, they added.

The announcement indicates that the system is more energy efficient than public blockchain offerings, stating:

“In contrast to “public blockchains” (e.g. bitcoin and ethereum), this private blockchain infrastructure requires much less energy, since it can only be used by identified users who have a contractual relationship with the providers of an application. This enables more efficient agreement procedures as well as significantly higher security and performance.”

The first pilot blockchain apps are scheduled for launch in Q2 2019, with use cases said to be focusing on corporates and government agencies desiring to digitize business processes in a “secure and verified” manner.

Swiss Post and Swisscom also said they are open to accepting other partners to join them on the project. Ultimately, they desire “to enable the Swiss economy to quickly obtain a leading position when it comes to using this promising technology.”

The two companies are already using blockchain technology for several use cases.

Swiss Post’s financial services unit PostFinance, for instance, launched a pilot project in May that provides smart energy billing via blockchain. It also stores temperature data on a blockchain for monitoring pharmaceuticals in transit.

Swisscom is working with its subsidiary, Daura AG, on a blockchain system that facilitates the issuance, purchase and sale of shares.

Swiss postal mailbox image via Shutterstock

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FedEx Joins Hyperledger in Blockchain Consortium’s Latest Expansion

Global shipping giant FedEx has just become one of the 14 newest members to join the Hyperledger consortium.

Hyperledger announced that FedEx, Honeywell International, as well as a number of crypto startups, have become the newest participants in its mission to to build blockchain platforms and applications for enterprises, according to a press release on Wednesday.

Executive director Brian Behlendorf noted in a statement that the group includes both established firms and startups, adding:

“We are gaining traction around the world in market segments from finance to healthcare and government to logistics. This growth and diversity is a signal of the increasing recognition of the strategic value of enterprise blockchain and commitment to the adoption and development of open source frameworks to drive new business models.”

FedEx has previously joined a number of other blockchain consortia, including the Blockchain in Transport Alliance and the Blockchain Research Institute.

Chairman and CEO Fred Smith has touted the technology in public appearances, telling the audience at CoinDesk’s Consensus conference in May that it “has the potential to completely revolutionize what’s across the border.”

He touted the ability to track goods’ chain of custody using the technology, as well as the fact that such information can be made publicly available for customers.

FedEx image via monticello / Shutterstock

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Forrester Research: 90% of Blockchain Initiatives by US Firms Will Never Become Operational

According to the U.S. market research firm Forrester Research, 2018 will become “the year of reckoning for blockchain initiatives.”

About 90 percent of currently active U.S. companies’ blockchain initiatives will ultimately be abandoned. This statistic comes from a study by Forrester Research, cited by Bloomberg in an article July 31.

The U.S. market research firm Forrester Research predicts that most of blockchain-powered projects initiated by American companies will be put on hold in 2018. Specifically, Forrester Research estimates that in a whopping 90 percent of cases, the projects will “never become part of a company’s operations.”

The researcher also claims that “some companies,” which have been striving to incorporate the widely touted distributed ledger technology (DLT) in their businesses, are now pulling back and scaling down their ambitions.

The most recent study marks at least the second instance in which Forrester has predicted a grim future for blockchain applications in corporate America. Back in 2017, the company published an article entitled “Predictions 2018: The Blockchain Revolution Will Have To Wait A Little Longer,” claiming that 2018 will be “the year of reckoning for blockchain initiatives.”

“Those who failed to translate the headlines into reality will write off their investments and give up, while others that have a deep understanding of the technology and its transformational potential in the long run will continue to forge ahead.”

According to Bloomberg, Ron Resnick, the first executive director of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), argued that blockchain development might still experience an uptick in 2019, saying that “[companies] are still testing the waters.”

Previously, Executive Director of Hyperledger Brian Behlendorf claimed that the “coming wave” of blockchain applications will not come from established tech giants, such as Google, Amazon or Facebook, as these companies “have a blind spot when it comes to blockchain.”

Earlier in July, former Wall Street executive Mike Novogratz predicted that mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain is “still five to six years away.”