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Hyperledger

Does Blockchain Have a Role in Gaming?

By | Blog

Guest post: Alex Migitko, COO, GameCredits

Blockchain is becoming increasingly present in the gaming industry, but more as a concept than a tangible solution. That’s understandable because the technology is fairly new and I’m confident that blockchain will find its place in this industry, which has always been known for fast adoption and innovation.

What you can see so far are roadmaps and plans detailing how blockchain can be implemented in gaming. But in terms of actual use, there aren’t many companies that can show off a viable product. Most of these projects are still works in progress.

Is Gaming Ready for Wider Adoption of Blockchain?

I might be a bit of an idealist, but in my opinion blockchain is a much-awaited disrupting factor in an industry that has started to neglect its fundamental elements: gamers and the game itself.

Let me expand on this a bit further.

There are some inherent inequities that aren’t only limited to the gaming industry. For decades, there have been a few big players dominating the market, overshadowing the many independent developers who have struggled to compete with them. But that’s not the issue I want to raise here.

Being on the forefront of the IT industry, gaming companies have always been among the first to adopt new technologies. That has always been beneficial to the end user.

But in recent years, being in a state of constant development has brought about changes regarding business models and monetization. The late 2000s saw an expansion of the ‘free-to-play’ model, which led more mainstream publishers to move away from traditional subscription-based models. While this worked well for some games, it also raised a whole variety of new issues.

Making games free to some extent has meant that publishers need to rely on in-game purchases to drive revenue. This has proven to be difficult to balance, and in the past few years there have been cases of reputable companies being criticized for putting their budgets first and consumers second.

This is how the term ‘pay-to-win’ was coined. Many gamers now complain that the only way to get good at a particular game is to pay for otherwise unattainable items. Success depends on the amount of money you are willing to spend through microtransactions and in-app purchases, not on your skill level.

The other force driving change in the gaming industry is the popularization of eSports. This ever-growing segment has become practically an industry on its own, with eSports now generating millions in revenue. Given that its profits and popularity keep increasing, it’s evident that this is just the beginning.

This is where blockchain technology can play a pivotal role.

Using blockchain, developers will be able to introduce competitive gameplay to almost any game on every platform. This will add a whole new appeal for consumers, and will help level the playing field.

The adoption of this model will mean that more players can participate and compete – not just a selected few, as is the case currently with eSports events. In this case, blockchain offers security, transparency and a simpler transaction process by eliminating third-party entities.

Moreover, the introduction of competitive gameplay will create a more engaged community of eSports fans, who will be able to easily view – and even interact with – competitions.

Can blockchain resolve the issue of digital goods ownership?

Whenever there’s talk about blockchain and gaming, digital goods ownership almost always become the focal point of the discussion. Since there’s no real solution on the market, I can only offer my opinion, which reflects my status as someone who has been working in the gaming industry for the past 10 years.

From one perspective it sounds like a great solution that every item you own in a particular game actually belongs to you. That creates the possibility of using that same item in other games published by the same company. Moreover, this provides a chance to regulate the trading process of in-game items and make trading possible even outside the game. For many, this is the best use case for blockchain as a technology and cryptocurrency as its byproduct. But my personal stance is a bit different.

While this may sound like an easy solution to a problem that has been plaguing gamers for many years now, it raises more concerns for game developers.

Ultimately, this is a choice that game developers and game publishers will be making, and from their point of view it isn’t such a seamless solution. Creating the in-game economy is a very difficult task as it is. There are numerous variables that influence the decision-making process, and even the biggest gaming companies have made determinantal mistakes in the past.

By liberalizing the whole in-game economy and allowing your items and currency to be used outside your game, you will also lose any control you once had over the situation. Everything that engineers, designers and developers worked hard on creating can be changed by external factors that are now beyond their control. That is a significant problem that needs to be addressed before any progress can be made in that direction.

Conclusion

Everyone at GameCredits strongly believes in the open-source approach, especially when it comes to emerging technologies. In order for blockchain to evolve and reach mass adoption across different industries, more companies need to get behind the technology in a mutual effort. There’s a wealth of accumulated knowledge between all Hyperledger members. GameCredits will look to incorporate existing know-how and use it to make further progress with our gaming products.

(12.6.17) Huffington Post: A Healthy Reminder to Take Your Meds [On Blockchain]

By | News

It’s flu season, but most of us are still forgetting to take our medications. That includes the elderly, infirm, and those suffering from psychochemical illnesses, for whom forgetting to medicate can result in chemical imbalances, hospitalization, or even death. Medication non-adherence and noncompliance is a $300 billion problem: 49% of Americans forget to or altogether stop taking their prescribed medications at any given time, and often it’s the most ill who forget to take their medications most, which compounds their problems further.

More here.

Developer Showcase Series: Nathan Aw, NTT DATA

By | Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Quilt

Our Developer Showcase blog series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s incubated projects. Next up is Nathan Aw, who is a Digital Advisory & Solutions Manager, of Emerging Technologies & Innovation Practice at NTT DATA.

What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain?

Build software like how we build our houses. Architects draw detailed plans before a brick is laid or a nail is hammered. Programmers and software engineers seldom do – perhaps this is why programs crash more often than houses collapse?

In practical terms, it means… spend a lot of time on writing (thinking) specifications, devising blueprints. For programmers who are building on top of say Hyperledger Fabric, read and understand the protocol specifications. Thereafter write your own specifications for your program. I cannot over emphasize the importance of clarity of thought before one starts building on Hyperledger.

Nathan Aw, NTT Data

Give a bit of background on what you’re working on, and let us know what was it that made you want to get into blockchain?

I am working on Hyperledger Quilt. I got into blockchain purely by chance. Back in college my favorite Computer Science (CS) modules were distributed systems and cryptography (hashing, digital signatures, public-key cryptosystems). When I graduated, I found myself working on middleware (Integration – SOA, AMQP, OSB, etc). When blockchain arrived at the scene, all the stars aligned – I suddenly found my favorite subjects in school and my experience in middleware aligned.  

What project in Hyperledger are you working on? Any new developments to share? Can you sum up your experience with Hyperledger?

Hyperledger Quilt. Amazing community – full of passionate folks who are willing to lend a helping hand. The mailing list is so responsive.

What do you think is most important for Hyperledger to focus on in the next year?

Cross chain interoperability. scalability and security.

As Hyperledger’s incubated projects start maturing and hit 1.0s and beyond, what are the most interesting technologies, apps, or use cases coming out as a result from your perspective?

I find the use cases of diamond supply chain and verifiable IDs for refugees most interesting.

What’s the one issue or problem you hope blockchain can solve?

I hope blockchain can help usher in a new age of trustless paradigm. People no longer need to trust organizations but instead trust the software, the cryptographic proof, the process. Blockchain ideally should bring people closer than before – collaboration and cooperation for the betterment of mankind.

Where do you hope to see Hyperledger and/or blockchain in 5 years?

I hope to see blockchain deployed in all the major industries, the major sectors and on a global scale.

What is the best piece of developer advice you’ve ever received?

Build Software like how we build our houses!

What technology could you not live without?

Blockchain – To be more specific, Hyperledger. (I mean it!)

 

Nathan Aw Ming Kun is a Digital Advisory & Solutions Manager with NTT Data whose primary focus is on Blockchain technologies and other fast emerging technologies such as Robotics Process Automation (RPA). In his current role, he designs and delivers blockchain solutions for his clients. He is also an active participant in the open source collaborative ecosystem such as the Hyperledger Project, among many others. His passion is to help organisations quickly identify, adopt and scale digital technologies thereby pushing the digital frontier and capturing its full value. Nathan Aw brings with him 6 years of enterprise software and implementation experience from leading companies such as NTT Data, Accenture and Oracle.

Not Slowing Down

By | Blog

Guest post: Travin Keith, Founder, Agavon

After being in the blockchain space since 2013, it’s interesting to look back and see how far things have grown, both in the business use of blockchain as well as the development in the cryptocurrency space. I remember when only a tiny percentage of the technologies that were publicly known introduced anything innovative to the code initially introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto. While a lot of these projects still exist today where modifications are as small as modifying the total amount of tokens existing on the blockchain, there has been a large growth in the amount of innovative projects around the space, with more and more being introduced as interest in the technology grows.

Though I’ve been around since 2013, I took a two-year hiatus following the developments around the space to take care of some other things in life. When I came back in May 2016, I was astounded at the growth that has occurred, despite the cryptocurrency market not really reflecting this. Though not everything was perfect and there were still a number of unresolved issues, it was quite encouraging to see. I took a gamble and dedicated myself to catching up as well as learning more about the technology in-depth. The more I learned, the more impressed and interested I got. Eventually I started spurting out use cases from my head left-and-right as I tried to visualize how the technology could be applied. A lot of these ended up being shelved as there were limitations that I wasn’t aware of, as well as general economic restraints to the solutions I thought about. Still, this encouraged me to keep learning and I used these as benchmarks to see how far I’ve come.

However, even after spending countless hours dedicated to learning and researching, I’m still left with a large amount to learn. With the immense, and accelerating, speed of growth, it’ll be impossible for me, alone, to be able to keep up with the new developments around the technology. While it was one reason why I started my company, it’s also a primary reason why joining Hyperledger was one of the top things on our list after the company was created. After a year of being involved, I saw how beneficial it was to be an active member. Keeping up with the developments of the various frameworks became much easier and took up less time as I collaborated directly with those contributing to the code. Keeping up with the evolving sentiment around the blockchain space was also made easier as I collaborated with other companies, both large and small, as we worked on the various projects of the Marketing Committee. It’s a common misconception, though an understandable one sometimes, that dedicating key resources to a collaborative project is never the most beneficial use of these company resources. However, the amount of indirect benefits, such as valuable insights and networking, can justify the resources spent as more would’ve been needed otherwise. As a company with consulting services, these are direct benefits to us as it greatly increases our expertise in the space.

One of the other primary reasons for us joining Hyperledger is because interoperability is one of its goals as there are six frameworks under the organization. Because of this, there is a strong incentive for the consortium to dedicate resources towards this, especially since multiple members of the consortium have their own blockchain, or other distributed ledger technology, product. We share the vision of multiple frameworks existing in the space and are looking forward to participating in research and development on this front move forward, given the numerous growth possibilities when connections between public chains and private chains, whether permissioned or permissionless, are possible. These are exciting times and we’re happy to be part of it.

[VIDEO] Hyperledger Interviews Yoshinobu Sawano, Fujitsu

By | Blog

Yoshinobu Sawano is a manager at Fujitsu and serves on the Hyperledger Governing Board.

Fujitsu is using Hyperledger for many different applications. They joined Hyperledger as a Premier member in order to experience different use cases and understand the application of blockchain outside of FinTech.

By being open source, Hyperledger gives Fujitsu’s customer’s confidence and trust. It also helps speed up the development time, according to Yoshinobu.

Watch the full video below!

 

Transcription here.

Build it on Blockchain: A Sustainable Palm Oil Industry

By | Blog

Guest post: Jesus Oregui and Kiran Kumar of Wipro Limited

The production of palm oil has risen to unprecedented levels in the past decade to meet its consumption demand. As a result, there is a great deal of public scrutiny into its use, environmental impact, and the sustainability of its supply chain. 

The industry’s initiatives to address growing concerns by developing sustainability benchmarks have made some headway. For example, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)1 works to implement best practices in production and trade, while leading brands have pledged to be committed to 100% RSPO-certified palm oil and oil products. However, despite their best efforts, only 17% of global palm oil production is certified sustainable.2

In reality, the supply chain is still relatively opaque, making it hard for regulatory bodies to ascertain whether a producer is genuinely sustainable and for consumers to know they are buying ethical products. There is no foolproof system to trace back the produce to the plantation, and traceability is still in its infancy – and in many cases almost impossible.

However, there’s good news for producers, regulators, and consumers. Emerging technologies like blockchain could have a transformative impact on the palm oil industry – not only by creating near-perfect transparency in the supply chain but also creating value for its stakeholders, both upstream and downstream.

Blockchain to the rescue

The financial services industry has already embraced blockchain technology to create more transparency in its transactions and reduce leakages. What’s more, there is a precedent for the use of blockchain in building sustainable supply chains. British technology platform Provenance piloted the use of blockchain to bring greater transparency to the controversial tuna fishing industry so that the entire sourcing process – from farm to table – was visible to every stakeholder in the supply chain.

We believe that by 2030, the use of blockchain combined with smartphones, RFID, IoT networks, and mobility applications could create a palm oil trading industry with near-perfect sustainability records. While we may realize this vision earlier, there are real technology adoption challenges in palm oil-producing countries that must be factored in.

What is a blockchain?

Simply put, a blockchain is a tamper-proof, encrypted database that resides with every participating entity – or node – in a value chain. Each of these nodes contains precisely the same transaction records – be it the farmer, producer, transporter or buyer, every transaction in the value chain will exist in every node. Transaction data is encrypted and stored in containers of information called “blocks” which are pushed out across all the nodes. A blockchain can also embed business rules, known as “smart contracts” into the system that apply “if this, then that” logic, making actions free of human arbitration.

Building sustainability on Blockchain

Blockchain finds an astute place in the palm oil supply chain, where it is capable of closing current gaps in transparency. Exhibit 1 shows the concept of how a digital layer can shift the value chain into a sustainable digital supply chain with an audit trail that runs from end to end.

Exhibit 1: Sustainable palm oil supply chain supported by blockchain technology

A plantation worker (1a) tags the fresh fruit bunches to the palm tree using a mobile device. Information such as the tree’s location, plantation identity, worker identity, date and time harvested, and batch ID can be captured and uploaded into a blockchain application in near real-time. Blockchain can support the registration process for compliant plantations, which can then be used to check the geolocation data of the harvested fruit bunches (1a & 1b).

This not only provides an unprecedented level of transparency, but also contributes to protecting the working conditions and legal employment of field workers, and gives plantations rich data on crop harvesting. Thanks to digital maps with geolocation features, farmers, governments, certification authorities, and producers can maintain digital inventories of the plantations, and implement sustainable land usage planning policy.

Another primary concern that blockchain can address in the supply chain is to minimize the spoilage of oil. Palm oil has a propensity to rapidly oxidize or hydrolyze under sub-optimal storage and transport conditions (2a, 2b, 3 & 4). Both these reactions – activated by high temperature, moisture, or impurities – can increase the contents of Free Fatty Acids (FFAs) in the oil, which could prove to be hazardous for human consumption.

Palm oil mill and refinery within a plantation at remote location

With blockchain and IoT-backed sensors, transportation companies can monitor temperature and humidity during processing, storage, and transport, and integrate the data on a blockchain to record out-of-range instances, thus efficiently identifying poor batches. Blockchain’s smart contracts can then enforce rules that automatically grade products in a way that only those that meet the highest standards enter the market for human consumption.

Similarly, in the palm oil’s multimodal transportation chain, shipping companies could use tamper-proof GPS-enabled seals to lock containers, and mobile devices to record product shipment information in the blockchain application. Once the shipment reaches the destination, only authorized personnel can access the credentials from the blockchain application to open the seal and start the receiving process.

Finally, retailers can (5) present the end product with identifiers such as RFID, NFC chips or QR codes, enabling buyers to view the oil’s journey back to its source. In the age of the environmentally aware and health-conscious consumer (6), this level of transparency will usher in a new era of trust and brand loyalty that is of great value to companies in a competitive age.

Addressing challenges to implementation

Despite blockchain’s many benefits, there are several hurdles to building a truly sustainable supply chain. Some of the prevalent challenges are:

  • Cooperation amongst the industry’s stakeholders (e.g., pickers, farmers, producers, buyers, regulators, etc.)
  • Lack of familiarity with enabling technologies
  • Organizational alignment, synergies and “silo” risks
  • Scalability, integration, and cost
  • Legal and regulatory challenges that are both local and international

Adopting the following four-step approach could potentially address many of the implementation challenges:

  1. Blockchain Strategy & Roadmap: Secure the commitment and participation of a critical mass of stakeholders to build a blockchain strategy and roadmap; coach targeted executives within each organization to align them with the initiative. This helps align various stakeholders towards a common cause and paves the way for regulatory and legal cooperation.
  2. Blockchain Readiness: Run design thinking workshops and ideation engagements to collaborate, innovate and experiment to find the right solution. This helps familiarize the key stakeholders with the enabling technologies, as well as enlist the support of people who are collaborating to build a universal solution.
  3. Blockchain in Action: Bring together the necessary architecture and design teams to build a proof of concept (PoC); scale this up, produce, and implement it, running change management in parallel. This also helps familiarize stakeholders across the value chain with enabling technologies – from those who tag the baskets of raw produce, to manufacturers who use palm oil in their products.
  4. Blockchain is Mainstream: By this time, enough case studies prove the efficacy of blockchain in creating sustainable practices in the palm oil industry, and the value generated from a more efficient and rapid supply chain, reduced wastage, and increasing consumer affinity for sustainable products.

We anticipate that our aspirational timeline to 2030 will shorten as trust and understanding of blockchain technology deepens, and new enabling technologies emerge to make it easier for users to adopt blockchain, even in the most remote locations of palm oil-producing countries.

 

(1) WWF Palm Oil Score Card 2016 – http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/wwf_palm_oil_scorecard_2016_1.pdf

(2) RSPO – Round of Sustainable Palm Oil – http://www.rspo.org/about