We have seen significant progress towards developing the blockchain technology in recent weeks. Financial institutions and governments which were initially the main opponents have now turned out to be the leading proponents of the blockchain technology.
The research on blockchain applications has now started spreading across almost all industries and supported by leading multinationals and government agencies. Commodity Inside has started covering blockchain applications related to the telecom, automotive and energy sectors and found that a significant amount of works is going on in both public and private sectors.
Some recent announcement at government levels
European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) was established in April 2018 with the aim to support the blockchain technology and to build the regional blockchain infrastructure to facilitate cross-border public services. This month Hungary has become the 29th member of the group.
Russia is making a partnership with Vostok to standardise various government operations through blockchain technology. Vostok has a previous track record of working with telecom companies, transport companies and banks.
Blockchain technology has no longer restricted to developing markets and regions such the Middle East has also started actively involved in exploring its applications. For instance, the state-owned organisation in Oman Blockchain Solutions and Services (BSS) has collaborated with Omantel and Swisscom and deployed Hyperledger Fabric and Indy platforms. This will help to develop the technology further on a national scale. Meanwhile, in Jordon Microsoft agreed to help the country in the development of digital technology by using artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things and blockchain.
Key blockchain developments this year
This year various telecom and payment processing companies started exploring the blockchain market. Below are some of the key developments.
- Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been actively involved in exploring blockchain applications. It has collaborated with companies such as IBM on various pilots projects. Some of the projects it has completed included Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and Do Not Call Registry (DNC) for controlling spam calls.
- Italtel plans to unveil the updated version of its Mobile Number Portability (MNP) which will be based on the blockchain technology, providing access to telecom operators to country-specific MNP database and automates the numbers synchronisation.
- SWIFT has joined hands with R3 to use the blockchain platform Corda for new payments standards framework.
- The US’s Akamai Technologies has set up a joint venture with Japan‘s Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG) to develop a blockchain based payment system which is expected to be launched in H1 2020 in Japan.
- Both UAE exchange and Unimoni have now joined RippleNet to process cross border transactions to Thailand initially. They will work in Thai’s Siam Commercial Bank which has already been using the RippleNet platform.
- Dubai’s Du, has also recently joined an international blockchain consortium of telecom operators called Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG).
- Similar to mobile operators, smartphone manufacturers are spearheading and exploring new business opportunities. For instance, Samsung may introduce some blockchain related features in its upcoming Galaxy S10 handset, likely in the form of blockchain wallet app to store cryptocurrencies.