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Automobile Company SEAT Considers Blockchain for Supply Chain Management

Automobile Company SEAT Considers Blockchain for Supply Chain Management

Spanish automobile manufacturer SEAT announced last week that it was joining a consortium of blockchain operators on the Alastria ecosystem.

The company is currently developing a system that tracks automobile parts via the supply chain, leveraging its partnership with Telefónica.

The company has said that it is joining the consortium of over 70 companies drawn from a host of heterogeneous industries and financial institutions, to tap into the network of resources available to the members of the group. President of SEAT Luca de Meo has said that “the Alastria network opens up new possibilities,” one through which they can scale up their blockchain development from the early stages.

According to the post, it plans to promote initiatives that “optimize traditional processes” in finance. The efforts currently being channeled by the company into the development of the technology is due to the fact that it values the future of blockchain. Luca made this clear when he said: “We are convinced of the importance that Blockchain technology will have in the future.”

In recent times, more traditional companies have begun to show interest in cutting-edge technology such as the blockchain, especially when combined with other technologies. It is possible that as the speculative hide gradually exfoliates, the true value of the blockchain technology becomes more profound. SEAT is just one of many companies out there diving into the sector as part of the revolutionary 4th industrial era.

Even though the blockchain industry is about a decade old in terms of its development, many companies are just recognizing the technology as nascent. They may have been waiting and watching to see how it develops over time and are now ready to join the ecosystem.

However, while some are just trying to get a piece of the action and are heavily invested into researching various industrial use cases for the distributed ledger, others have made headways into including them in their core processes. This includes areas such as ethical food tracking being trialed by the WWF group, systems for commodities trading being developed by five global oil giants, facilitation of government processes, and a host of banking integrations.

 

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Spain’s Repsol Claims €400,000 Annual Savings from Use of Blockchain

Spain’s Repsol Claims €400,000 Annual Savings from Use of Blockchain

Spanish energy giant Repsol claims that it has successfully improved safety quality certification of its products using a blockchain platform, while giving a potential annual cost savings of EUR 400,000, reports Business Insider.

The blockchain-based platform has been developed by Finboot, a part of the Repsol Foundation Entrepreneurs Fund, in partnership with the Repsol Technology Lab Research Center. This platform has reportedly improved the petrochemical products certification system. Using this new technology, the company expects that it will be able to track its products and samples during the entire electricity production and distribution process.

Moreover, by using the blockchain-based approach, the company hopes that the number of errors during the production process will be reduced, potentially increasing profits by EUR 400,000 per year.

Tomas M Malango, the manager of experimentation at the Repsol Technology Lab Research Center, expressed his views by saying that the procedures which are used in the company involve the handling of a large number of samples. Due to the wrong labels or tags, loss or faulty connection of information, these samples are often subjected to rework. Malango added that the successful implementation of the system may lead to its application in other similar sectors of the company as well.

However, Repsol is not the only company to utilize the blockchain technology. Recently, ACCIONA Energía, also declared that it will be tracking electricity generation using a blockchain-based approach. It will allow ACCIONA’s customers to track the origin of electricity distribution.

Blockchain technology is steadily gaining recognition in the Spanish energy sector. Previously, Iberdrola, a leading energy company in Spain, declared that it will be using blockchain to track renewable energy production. It reportedly ran a successful test as well. During the initial test, the company monitored renewable energy production of two wind farms and one power station.

 

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Spanish Energy Firm to Use Blockchain Tracking System

Spanish

One of the biggest Spanish energy companies, Iberdrola, is going to use blockchain technology to track electric power across the country, according to local independent media outlet Europa Press.

The first trial of this decentralized system was conducted by Kutxabank and its subsidiary Cajasur, one of the biggest shareholders in the energy company. The bank is from the Basque, a semi-autonomous region within Spain. During the test, the power company used energy from two wind farms and one power station to the bank’s offices in the Basque and the city of Cordoba.

The system used in the pilot program was of the Energy Web Foundation, an open-source blockchain platform that allows different energy programs to test their pilot on their ledger. According to the results of the test, blockchain technology can enable a hierarchy of sorts of power producers and help automate the entire process from the point of generation to consumption.

Iberdrola will use the distributed technology-based system to issue “guarantee of origin”, a concept that enables customers to see the origin of their power thus allowing greener technologies to flourish. Additional benefits of the new system include added transparency and reduced operational costs due to automation.

Blockchain technology is now being adopted by the Spanish power industry on a wider scale. Recently, a Spanish power company was issued a blockchain syndicated loan with the BBVA bank acting as the intermediary between two other banks.

 

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Carrefour’s Blockchain Poultry Tracking Live in Spain

Retail company Carrefour has launched a new blockchain-based organic poultry tracking system in Spain. The new system has been deployed on the Hyperledger DLT system based in Spain.

The first-of-its-kind food tracking solution will be used to track organic chickens based in Galicia. Galician chickens are raised without antibiotic treatment and are considered extremely healthy for the human body but the problem lies with their tracking and recording of the originality of the meat. Now with the new system in place, the Spanish network will use a QR code tracker to search for detailed info on every Galician chicken’s date of birth, breed, nutrition and other important data.

Carrefour illustrates the importance of using the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for supply chains in its press release, claiming it provides increased transparency and allows customers to view the entire journey of their meat to their table.

The retailer has been testing blockchain poultry tracking solutions for a while now with experiments in France in early 2018 and announced its partnership with IBM and its Food Trust in October. The food association was announced by the tech giant back in 2016 to promote its Hyperledger blockchain ecosystem. Other companies have also joined the decentralized supply chain platform including major names like Nestle SA, Unilever NV and Walmart.

Several other blockchain-based supply chain management systems are already in use including Walmart’s vegetable tracking system starting directly from the farms. Other uses of blockchain are also being implemented in the food industry including food processing.

 

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Spain’s Tax Office Homes in on 15,000 Crypto Investors

As part of a new taxation law introduced in October by Spain’s Council of Ministers, which requires private citizens to declare their cryptocurrency holdings, some 15,000 individuals have now been targeted.

The new tax model centered on private cryptocurrency investors carries stiff penalties of up to EUR 5,000 (USD 5,740) for inaccurate tax returns. The 1,500 names held by the Spanish Ministry of Finance are of individuals who have conducted cryptocurrency transactions over the past year, according to Spanish paper El Pais.

As Bitcoin News noted when the original legislation was passed for tax reform, the move came as a notable shift in direction since the ousting of former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who was on the point of pushing forward legislation for possible tax breaks in order to create a more favorable environment for potential blockchain investment.

Spain’s National Fraud Investigation Office has now opened investigations into banks, financial companies and other organizations who conduct crypto transactions. The group of around 15,000 individuals has now been added to this list for further inspection.

Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria (AEAT) is targeting new technologies as part of its fiscal tax plan which includes “blockchain and, especially, cryptocurrencies” to combat both tax evasion and fraud. AEAT have put out the following statement outlining its intended activities:

“The use of cryptocurrencies, such as [Bitcoin], as payment means, is one of the most demanding challenges today. In order to face this threat, the use by the tax agency’s research units of the new information collection and analysis technologies in all types of networks will be enhanced.”

Spanish authorities have indicated that the small group may not be the limitation of its inquiries as it expects to broaden the field in the future if clear evidence of tax evasion is revealed en masse. However, the tax authorities have said that the main focus will be on those citizens who have failed to declare capital gains or those involved in money laundering activities.

 

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Valencia Port Joins Maersk in IBM Blockchain Shipping Project

The Port Authority of Valencia, Spain (POV) has announced that it has joined the TradeLens blockchain shipping platform co-developed by tech giant IBM and shipping magnate Maersk.

The platform itself was launched back in August this year and it uses DLT for global supply chains. Ports and shipping are a primary part of the supply chain process. Recently, the Port Authority of Rotterdam had also joined the platform to become a part of the new decentralized shipping revolution. UK’s top port operator signed an agreement with Marine Transport International to develop blockchain-based logistics system for its port operations.

The TradeLens system is seeking to improve efficiency and security of supply chains. They can include shipping lanes, port and terminal operators, taxation and duties watchdogs and other concerned parties. The platform can be used to access the data and the documents involved, thus making it simpler and much more effective.

The Port Authority of Valencia has now integrated the platform and has become an “early adapter” of TradeLens. It means that the port will now take part in the early development of the system. There are 20 participants in the early adaptation platform.

TradeLens is gaining traction for supply chain systems as it has already processed more than 154 million shipping-related data transactions including information on container shipping, warehouse timing and customs documentation. According to early estimates, the blockchain-based system can be used to cut shipping times by almost 40%.

The POV has unveiled plans to develop a smart port which is based on blockchain and big data technologies since the start of October this year. According to the person-in-charge of implementing new technologies, Jose Garcia De La Guia, DLT-based systems can improve supply chain logistics on a global scale and thus help create fully electronic ports with no paperwork which can help reduce the maintenance times and increase efficiency.

 

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Spain Bank BBVA Announces $150 Million Syndicated Loan on Blockchain

Spanish banking behemoth BBVA has announced it has completed a pilot test of a syndicated loan through a DLT system, according to a report from Financial Times.

The report states that the Spanish bank organized the loan for Red Electrica, the national grid operator and the biggest electricity distribution company in the country.

BBVA organized the syndicated loan through two other banks namely Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Paribas from France. The loan was agreed by these three banks and then recorded on the Ethereum blockchain to make the transaction immutable.

A syndicated loan is when a number of banks team up to lend money to one borrower, usually a big company itself. Since syndicated loans normally involve significant funds, the data for the loan was time-stamped at each step of the process.

Traditionally, banks rely on centralized records for complex information like a syndicated loan. They normally involve fax papers which is not only slow but also expensive and inefficient. Blockchain has been touted as a major disruption technology for banking circles which are most affected by these outdated technologies. It can also lower the transaction times from two weeks to one or two days while reducing operational costs.

BBVA, buoyed by the recent success of a blockchain-based syndicated loan process, is now investing more into DLT and will look to process more loans like that in the future. This is not the first time the bank has issued a blockchain-recorded loan. In April, a USD 91 million sum was approved for corporate clients and recorded on the Ethereum blockchain for safe-keeping.

 

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Spain Wants Crypto Holders to Declare Assets Under New Law

The new administration in Spain under Pedro Sánchez is beginning to show its stance on cryptocurrency as new measures are introduced to cut down on tax evasion in the country.

The new law will require holders of cryptocurrency to declare their all their holdings. Finance Minister Maria Jesus Montero has stated that the new legislation will require “the identification of the holders and the balances contributed by these virtual currencies”.

This makes a notable shift in direction since the ousting of former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who was on the point of pushing forward legislation for possible tax breaks in order to create a more favorable environment for potential blockchain investment. Under Rajoy, cryptocurrencies were still being considered for legislation, with some of the digital currencies viewed as being “located in a grey area of regulation”, by the political party Podemos.

Alberto Montero, the deputy of the political alliance under Rajoy, presented favorable legislation to Spain’s lower house with a view that blockchain could significantly boost security levels for social and economic transactions, suggesting that blockchain had “enormous potential”.

Under the new tax laws, Spain clearly sees cryptocurrency as a potential source of revenue and is even proposing measures to track down crypto assets held offshore by Spanish nationals. To this end, the government has further plans to extend the range of its tax havens so that holdings, when tracked, can be taxed in the same way as fiat.

The government has indicated that a potential EUR 850 million in tax receipts could be the outcome of the proposed changes to its tax legislation.

The previous position was that Spanish Congress supported a draft regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in theory. The Partido Popular’s original suggestion was that the state cooperated with the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) and the Bank of Spain to coordinate its position on cryptocurrency in line with EU guidelines.

It now remains to be seen exactly which direction the Sanchez government takes regarding cryptocurrency legislation. The tax law regarding crypto is the first legislation to date to be made by the new administration. It is as yet unclear if the Unidos Podemos proposal for a body to oversee the implementation of blockchain technology and crypto regulation in the country is to go ahead.

The coalition formed from left-wing parties Podemos, United Left, Equo and smaller parties suggested the move in order to study the benefits of blockchain and implement its use in public administration in the country as well as to explore its industrial potential.

 

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Catalonia Independence-Fund Donations Now Exceed 80,000 Bitcoin

The support fund started after exiled Catalonia leader Carles Puigdemnot’s plea for financial support this year is reportedly gaining some ground.

According to Spanish news outlet El Confidencial, officials have now reportedly collected 80,000 BTC in support of exiled politicians. Current claims suggest donations of 81,000 BTC, although the exact number is difficult to confirm.

Catalan politicians who incited a break away from Spain last year and used public funds to organize an independence referendum which the Spanish courts had declared unconstitutional are either now in exile or in prison. The fund was organized by Carles Puigdemont who is currently living in exile in Belgium. Once the former Mayor of Girona, Puigdemont served as the President of the Government of Catalonia from January 2016 to October 2017.

The donated funds are to go towards legal support for those politicians who fled after the Spanish government decided to act against the renegade Catalonians last October.  Funds will also be used towards the security of some of the exiled politicians and activists involved in last year’s push for Catalonian independence.

The fundraising website was registered in the Caribbean state of Saint Kitts and Nevis by the co-founder of torrent tracker Piratebay, Peter Sunde. The Bitcoin wallet address for fund donations, posted on Reddit, shows transfers of more than 81,300 BTC, but as of October 19, the balance was 51.176 BTC. However, El Confidencial noted how “no report on the management of the funds has been presented” in over six months. It also said there has been no word about who is on the independent council.

Meanwhile, Spain has hit a wall in terms of its own crypto/blockchain aspirations following the ousting of Prime Minister Rajoy back in June and replacement by Socialist chief Pedro Sanchez as a result of a no-confidence vote following corruption charges aimed at the ex PM’s center-right People’s Party.

The Sanchez-led no-confidence vote may delay the current pro-crypto legislation, which had been scheduled to go to a vote by 7 July after public consultation on 7 June. New elections could delay legislation for more than six months.

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Spanish Political Coalition Calls for Regulatory Body to Explore Crypto

Spanish coalition party Unidos Podemos is proposing a body to oversee the implementation of blockchain technology and crypto regulation in the country.

The coalition formed from left-wing parties Podemos, United Left, Equo and smaller parties has suggested the move in order to study the benefits of blockchain and implement its use in public administration in the country as well as explore its industrial potential.

Under the last administration, then Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was suggesting possible tax breaks in order to create a more favorable environment for potential blockchain investment. Although Spain’s new prime minister Pedro Sánchez has promised to raise taxation on companies and increase public spending, so far, his views on new technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency still remain unclear.

Alberto Montero, the deputy of the political alliance, has presented the plan to Spain’s lower house as he sees blockchain significantly boosting security levels for social and economic transactions, suggesting that blockchain has “enormous potential”.

Regarding cryptocurrencies, the alliance is looking at examining current regulation for the use of digital currencies in Spain. Many of the major currencies are described by Podemos as being “located in a grey area of regulation”.

Podemos is not the only party looking at the adoption blockchain in government, as members of the current ruling party Partido Popular (People’s Party) had proposed a similar bill, although it now remains to be seen if this position is taken up by prime minister Sánchez as that proposal was made with Rajoy at the political helm before his departure in June of this year.

The current position is that Spanish Congress supports a draft regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in theory. The Partido Popular’s original suggestion is that the state cooperates with the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) and the Bank of Spain to coordinate its position on cryptocurrency in line with EU guidelines.

 

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