To that end, Volkswagen, the German car manufacturer, said this week it is launching a blockchain pilot aimed at tracking battery supply chains that wend their way from production to the carmaker’s own factories. The trial involves suppliers and sub-suppliers that are responsible for two thirds of Volkswagen lead battery requirements.
As reported on The Next Web, the company has partnered with Minespider, which is an open-source blockchain protocol that tracks and certifies mineral supply chains. The joint efforts between Minespider and Volkswagen seek to provide greater transparency about how (and from where) the batteries are sourced. The Volkswagen pilot follows other automakers’ blockchain announcements where, for instance, Mercedes-Benz said earlier this year it has partnered with Icertis to help document supply chains and gain visibility into third-party suppliers.
Marco Philippi, head of strategy for Volkswagen Group Procurement, said in a statement dovetailed with the release that: “Digitalization provides important technological instruments that enable us to track the path of minerals and raw materials in cross-border supply chains in ever greater detail.”
Separately, in China, reports came this week that the first blockchain-enabled notary has opened in that country, at the Beijing CITIC Notary Office. As reported in local press there, through the website People, Director Wang Mingliang has said the initiative offers value in the form of notary services and legal certification.
As explained by the site, the notary-with-blockchain offering lets certificate holders view and verify contents of a document though codes that are scanned – effective lines of defense against fraud.
In addition, as reported earlier this month, Blockdata estimated there are 263 blockchain-related projects in China, a tally that accounts for as much as 25 percent of the global total of blockchain projects.
The British Virgin Islands has linked with a blockchain startup, Lifelabs, to devise a crypto payment platform that will help speed and streamline financial transactions between the dozens of islands in the territory. Under the terms of the partnership, the BVI and the blockchain firm will provide Rapid Cash Response in case of emergencies. Users, by deploying an app, can access accounts to deposit funds as emergencies strike. Digital currencies can be sent and received through the accounts.
“The intrinsic value of LIFElabs.io’s platform is found in its trifecta of security, transparency and efficiency,” said LIFElabs.io CEO Sanjay Jadhav in a statement about the partnership. “It is estimated that adopters of our blockchain platform as a service (PaaS) will reduce their current transactional fees in excess of 50 percent, all while incurring zero out-of-pocket cost to implement it, speeding the average transaction time exponentially compared to Automated Clearing House (ACH) electronic payments, wired [payments] or over-the-counter cash transactions.”
Finally, in further evidence of JPMorgan Chase’s burgeoning moves into the blockchain, the banking giant is expanding its projects to help reduce errors in global, cross-border payments.
The company is boosting the number of new features with its Interbank Information Network, which looks to help the 220 banks using the network (which began operations two years ago) to view real-time payments data. As reported by the Financial Times, John Hunter, JPM’s head of global clearing, has said the blockchain-enabled feature can help verify the validity of the bank accounts to which payments are sent.
“Banks’ straight-through processing rates are in the mid-80s to mid-90s. It’s that gap – the 5 to 20 percent of payments – that have to be assessed by operations where we’re trying to alleviate some of that pain,” the executive told the FT.
The verification feature is slated to debut in the fall of this year.