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South African Central Bank Ethereum Blockchain Tests Successful

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has just completed a multi-bank testing of bank-to-bank transfers using blockchain.

South Africa’s central bank has been testing the Ethereum based platform Quorum in collaboration with eight banks including SARB, Absa, Capitec, Discovery, Investec, FirstRand, Nedbank, and Standard Bank.

The program, called Project Khoka spread over 14 weeks, conducted tests which replicated transactions normally handled by the South African Multiple Gross Operation Settlement System (SAMOS), rather than handling actual transactions.  The project was aimed at proving that a DLT based program might be able to replicate SAMOS which can handle 70,000 daily transfers in two hours.

Project Khoka successfully used public cloud servers offered by Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services to add power needed for the transaction verifications.  SARB was happy with the outcome of the tests and claimed that the Quorum blockchain handled the transfers with “scalability, resilience, confidentiality, and finality.” The SARB post-test report stated:

“Both the process, as well as the outcome of the project, contribute to the SARB’s goals. The decision was made to assess the use case for DLT in wholesale payments and interbank settlement and thus build on and extend the work done in other parts of the world.”

SARB suggested that more testing would be required before DLT is suitable for such interbank settlements as exhibited in the trial, and if proven satisfactory for bank use would most probably be utilized as a backup system, rather than actually replacing its current system, according to Francois E. Groepe, SARB’s Deputy Governor.

Banks are increasingly testing DLT for interbank settlements around the world, some aiming to use blockchain in order to update outmoded systems. Recently the Bank of England announced that it was rebuilding its Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system to work with DLT. The announcement came after BoE Governor Mark Carney commented that private business and platforms need to be able to work with the bank’s own RTGS system.

RTGS is a system generally used to transfer large volumes of funds between banks.

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CEOs Say Amazon and Walmart Sparked Blockchain Revolution

CEOs are posing the question whether major companies such as retail giants Amazon and Walmart, and tech multinational Microsoft adopting blockchain technology will create a “blockchain revolution”, writes Hedge Co.net.

All of these companies have announced recent blockchain projects this year. Walmart published plans to use the technology in partnership with the IBM Corporation and Microsoft recently announced its Azure Blockchain Workbench, aiming to provide developers with tools to implement the ready-to-use infrastructure for blockchain application solutions, according to TruthMedia.

Amazon with its Amazon Web Services (AWS) blockchain templates, will now implement a system similar to Microsoft’s which claims “provide a fast and easy way to create and deploy secure blockchain networks using open source frameworks”.

Walmart’s vice president of food safety and health, Frank Yiannas, says that its new blockchain system reduces food tracking time from six days to two seconds, reducing contamination and food wastage.

According to Luis Manuel Lopez, the general coordinator at Workchain Centers, blockchain initiatives by Walmart and Amazon will have a positive impact on the retail industry.

He says, “Having started in a pure and theoretical technological world, blockchain has come second place in applications that make our life more comfortable, including assembly lines, traceability of objects… we are facing the beginning of a revolution that will change our way of doing business, buying food, curing our illnesses. And this will come sooner or later because it takes time, but it will come, sure.”

Vadim Kurochkin, CEO of Soundeon, sees the moves of multinationals unsurprising as the technology is brought to the mainstream, suggesting that research and development projects will reap the benefits due to increased activity in crypto space.

“As this technology is brought to mass-market, we foresee a robust merger and acquisition activity within the sector. Hence, early crypto-investors in successful, research and development driven projects will reap the benefits.”

Juan Imaz, founder, and CEO of Profede, also sees the potential of such companies influencing others to move towards updating its systems with the new technology:

“The cryptocurrency industry is likely to see a revolution in the near future across different industries, with the addition of giants adding, evaluating and planning to use blockchain which will change how the world works.”

 

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