Walmart Uses Blockchain Tech to Track Shrimp Supply Chains

Walmart Uses Blockchain Tech to Track Shrimp Supply Chains

United States retail giant Walmart will use blockchain technology to track its Indian-sourced shrimp.

United States retail giant Walmart, in collaboration with IBM, will use blockchain technology to track its shrimp supply chains.

On Oct. 4, Indian business publication LiveMint reported that Walmart will use blockchain technology to track its Indian-sourced shrimp to select locations of Sam’s Club retail stores in the U.S.

This is reportedly the first time that blockchain technology will be used to track shrimp exports from the Indian farmer to an overseas retailer. President of the National Fisheries Institute John Connelly said: 

“As one of the most traded commodities in the world, seafood has a complex and wide-reaching supply chain, which makes testing and further developing technology-assisted traceability programs an important step. It is encouraging to see a retail leader like Walmart participate in seafood blockchain testing.” 

Walmart worked with the Indian seafood processor Sandhya Aqua to add the shrimp supply chain to the blockchain-enabled IBM Food Trust platform so customers can track where their shrimp comes from. 

Shrimp is India’s largest agricultural export, with the U.S. representing its largest shrimp market, consuming 46% of India’s shrimp exports. LiveMint reports that the application blockchain technology will help Indian shrimp farmers meet strict U.S. food standards, thus gaining the trust of U.S. retailers and securing shrimp farming as a long-term growth industry. 

Walmart has previously applied blockchain technology to tracking food in other countries like China. Distributed ledger technologies like blockchain purportedly make it easier for the firm to track its massive supply chains and to recall problematic food items or medicines should the need arise. 

Building on the IBM Food Trust platform

Cointelegraph reported in September that a group of global coffee companies is partnering with Farmer Connect, a tech startup developing farm-to-client traceability tools, to use the IBM Food Trust platform to apply blockchain to coffee supply chain tracking. The startup worked with IBM to build the “Thank My Farmer” app, which provides consumers with data about coffee products, which include origin and pricing.

Indian Police Can’t Move Seized Crypto Due to India’s Anti-Crypto Law

Indian Police Can’t Move Seized Crypto Due to India’s Anti-Crypto Law

Indian police have sought a court directive to move $1.2 million seized from a BTC ponzi scheme last year that has been frozen due to the country’s anti-crypto laws.

The police of Pune, a city in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, have sought a court’s directive to transfer 85 million Rupees seized from a Bitcoin (BTC) ponzi scheme last year.

$1.2 million frozen 

In an Oct. 3 article by the Times of India, Pune cyber police explained that the value of 244 cryptocurrency units (worth $1.2 million) was blocked in the bank account of company Discidium Internet, which was hired by the police to convert the seized crypto units into rupees.

The cyber police’s senior inspector Jairam Paygude said that the Central Bank of India was unable to transfer the money to the State Bank of India’s treasury branch in Pune as the account of Discidium Internet was frozen by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Discidium Internet is challenging the validity of RBI’s order, which prohibits dealings in virtual currencies and has requested that the RBI instruct the Central Bank of India to unfreeze the account.

The district government pleader Ujjwala Pawar said that the police request to transfer the money is pending before the sessions court. 

Bitcoin ban and brain drain

Cointelegraph previously reported that the Indian draft “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019”, which proposes a 10-year prison sentence for anyone who “mines, generates, holds, sells, transfers, disposes of, issues or deals in cryptocurrencies,” is already prompting local crypto businesses to take preemptive measures. Rahul Jain said:

“As a startup from India, we always wanted to serve from India, but this recent complication has made it difficult for domestic crypto exchanges to operate their businesses in India. So, we are now an Estonia-based company, and any Indian law to criminalize crypto will not impact us.”

Bithumb Global to Launch Regulated Crypto Exchange in India: Report

Bithumb Global to Launch Regulated Crypto Exchange in India: Report

South Korean exchange Bithumb’s international platform Bithumb Global is looking to establish a regulated cryptocurrency exchange in India, a report says.

South Korean exchange Bithumb’s international platform Bithumb Global is looking to establish a regulated cryptocurrency exchange in India.

The firm is planning to expand its services to India by partnering with local crypto exchanges, funding local blockchain startups and working on new industry initiatives, local media outlet The Economic Times reports Oct. 3.

“We are open to talking to regulators”

Javier Sim, co-founder and managing director at Bithumb Global, revealed that the company is willing to engage with Indian regulators to build a new regulated exchange. Sim reportedly said:

“We are open to talking to regulators, working with them to be a regulated exchange. We are a strong brand from Korea and do not involve ourselves in unregulated or illegal trade.”

Recent debut of Bithumb Global

While Bithumb Korea is one of the earliest crypto exchanges in South Korea that was founded in 2014, Bithumb Global’s beta launch took place in May 2019. The company officially announced its “next-generation” digital asset exchange on Oct. 1, claiming that Bithumb facilitates over 59% of the entire South Korean transaction volumes of Bitcoin (BTC).

According to Sim, Bithumb Global onboarded more than one million global users since launching the platform in beta while its daily trading volume exceeded over $381 million.

Complete ban on crypto is still reviewed in India

Meanwhile, India is apparently still awaiting a formal review of a proposed complete ban on cryptos.

In mid-September, local media reported that India was seeing the first signs of an anticipated brain drain as the government is planning to criminalize cryptocurrency investments in the country.

As Cointelegraph reported in August, Sidharth Sogani, CEO of crypto and blockchain research firm Crebaco Global, has estimated that India will lose nearly $13 billion worth of market if cryptocurrency is eventually banned in the country.

Indian Car Manufacturer Tata Motors Calls for Automotive Blockchain Tech

Indian Car Manufacturer Tata Motors Calls for Automotive Blockchain Tech

Indian car manufacturer Tata Motors is planning to integrate blockchain solutions into its internal processes as part of a newly launched program for startups.

Indian automobile manufacturer Tata Motors wants to integrate blockchain solutions into its internal processes as part of a newly launched program for startups.

As Business Insider India reported on Sept. 18, Tata Motors has rolled out a program for startups dubbed “Tata Motors AutoMobility Collaboration Network 2.0,” through which it intends to develop a range of industry-related products, including artificial intelligence and blockchain-enabled solutions.

The firm wants to apply blockchain-based solutions in various aspects of the automotive industry, including parking marketplace, demand prediction algorithm and real-time monitoring of fuel quality.

Commenting on the initiative, Shailesh Chandra, president of electric mobility business and corporate strategy at Tata Motors, said:

“Today, almost every segment of the automotive value-chain is required to drive its own innovation story. […] In the current age of uncertainty and speed of change, the above effort of sourcing solutions will need to be driven both through in-house initiatives as well as collaborating with external partners.”

Blockchain recognition by car industry leaders

Blockchain has seen wide adoption in the automotive industry, with some of the world’s leading car manufacturers having already embraced it. In late August, blockchain solutions company PlatOn created a platform for storing data and calculating the price of used business cars at Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service.

That same month, Volvo Cars, owned by Chinese automotive group Geely, produced electric cars with cobalt mapped on a blockchain, purportedly aiming to prove that their electric vehicles do not rely on conflict minerals or child labor.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, the blockchain devices market will purportedly see a 42.5% compound annual growth rate in coming years, to reach a valuation of $1.285 billion in 2024. In comparison, the value of the market in 2019 has reportedly amounted to $218 million to date.

Bitcoin Ban Means Massive Brain Drain for India, Crypto Industry Warns

Bitcoin Ban Means Massive Brain Drain for India, Crypto Industry Warns

India is seeing the first signs of an anticipated brain drain as the government considers stark legislation that would criminalize domestic cryptocurrency investments.

India is seeing the first signs of an anticipated brain drain, as the government mulls stark legislation that would criminalize domestic cryptocurrency investments.

A Sept. 16 Economic Times report has taken the measure of industry sentiment on the ground, as a proposed blanket ban — currently still in the form of draft legislation — awaits its formal review process by lawmakers. 

“The first large democracy” to ban crypto

As the Economic Times notes, the draft Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019 has proposed a 10-year prison sentence for anyone who “mines, generates, holds, sells, transfers, disposes of, issues or deals in cryptocurrencies.”

The severity of the proposed penalty and the extreme position reflected in the document — whether or not and in what form it eventually becomes national law — is already prompting local crypto businesses to take pre-emptive measures to protect themselves. 

Rahul Jain — an employee at formerly domestic exchange Bitbns — told the Economic Times:

“As a startup from India, we always wanted to serve from India, but this recent complication has made it difficult for domestic crypto exchanges to operate their businesses in India. So, we are now an Estonia-based company, and any Indian law to criminalize crypto will not impact us.”

Nischal Shetty, CEO and founder of well-known Indian exchange WazirX has meanwhile argued that the proposed bill is poised to erode the wealth of over five million Indians who own “crypto assets worth thousands of crores.” 

The executive said that the arbitrary decision to criminalize crypto-asset investment would destabilize existing businesses that have been operating legitimately and make the country an unfortunate pioneer in its role as “the first large democracy to ban an innovative technology such as crypto.”

Missing out on a $10 trillion industry

While local opinions differ as to whether or how the bill will evolve into a definitive statutory shape, the Economic Times’ sources were unanimous in viewing the summer’s developments as a retrograde move for the country. Shetty said:

“As a country largely reliant on the services sector, India will lose its edge as a technological power if the ban on crypto is enforced. Shunning this industry will mean massive job losses and a brain drain […] Crypto is predicted to be a $10 trillion industry in the next five years, and if we are to achieve our Prime Minister’s goal being a $5 trillion economy, then crypto is integral to that vision.”

As reported this August, Sidharth Sogani — CEO of crypto and blockchain research firm Crebaco Global Inc —- has forecast that India will lose around $12.9 billion worth of market if cryptocurrency is eventually banned in the country.

New Study Reveals Countries With Most Registered Crypto Exchanges

New Study Reveals Countries With Most Registered Crypto Exchanges

The U.K., the U.S, Hong Kong and Singapore have the largest number of registered digital currency exchanges, per a recent report.

The United Kingdom, the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore have the largest number of registered digital currency exchanges, according to data from Bitfury’s blockchain analytics platform Crystal.

Crystal published its “Report on International Bitcoin Flows 2013–2019” on Sept. 9, in which it provides insight into cryptocurrency operations and Bitcoin (BTC) transactions around the world between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 30, 2019.

U.K. and U.S. lead the rating

The findings show that the largest number of registered crypto exchanges are in the U.K., the U.S., Hong Kong and Singapore. Countries such as Argentina, India, Mexico, Russia and Indonesia report the fewest registered exchanges.

Per the report, almost 10% of all exchanges considered in the survey do not have countries of registration.

As for Bitcoin transactions, in 2013, 96% of all Bitcoin transferred between exchanges was sent by exchanges from the “G20 & Other” group (shown below), while in 2018 the number slumped to 70%. The report further states:

“In 2018, the total volume of bitcoin directly transferred between exchanges was almost $92.6 billion. A total of $65.1 billion was transferred by exchanges from G20 countries, Hong Kong, and Singapore.”

Registered exchanges in “G20 & Other” group

Registered exchanges in “G20 & Other” group. Source: Crystal

Impact of crypto regulations

As previously reported, G20 leaders reaffirmed their previous stance towards cryptocurrencies in a declaration following the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 29. The G20 leaders stated that cryptocurrencies do not currently constitute a threat to monetary stability, and that technological innovation can deliver significant benefit to the economy.

Although the U.K. is widely considered to be a global leader when it comes to crypto adoption and innovation, the environment is purportedly still confusing and complicated for exchanges, platforms and other related businesses, as the industry has been neglected in the push to protect consumers.

Crypto Exit Scams — How to Avoid Falling Victim

Crypto Exit Scams — How to Avoid Falling Victim

Experts share their insights on how to best avoid crypto exit scams, highlighting the biggest red flags investors should look out for.

A couple of years back, the term “exit scam” became synonymous with the crypto industry. This was at a time when the market (at large) was replete with a number of cash grab ventures that looked great on paper but had little to no substantive value to back them up.

In its most basic sense, an exit scam can be thought of as a fraudulent scheme wherein the organizers of an initial coin offering (ICO) or a similar fundraising avenue disappear with their investors’ funds after acquiring a sizeable sum of money. 

In this regard, during November 2017 — a time when the crypto market was at its apex — the owners of an escrow-related crypto startup called Confido vanished overnight after acquiring a sizeable sum of $175,000 from their backers. As a result, the market capitalization of Confido’s associated crypto offering (under the ticker CFD) dropped from $6 million to a paltry $70,000 within the span of just seven days.

Related: What Are the Biggest Alleged Crypto Heists and How Much Was Stolen?

Other notable cases include Bitconnect and OneCoin, with the former probably being the most famous altcoin scam of all time. The aforementioned ploys each cost gullible investors in excess of $3 billion — with Bitconnect’s native token offering, BCC, even becoming a top-10 crypto in terms of total market capitalization. 

Hence, in order to gain a better understanding of exit scams and how best to steer clear of them, Cointelegraph reached out to Ben Samocha, the founder and CEO of CryptoJungle, a leading Israeli digital platform for how-to guides. According to Samocha:

“You can never know when it’s truly about to happen. For example with BitConnect if I had to bet, I would’ve said they should’ve exit-scammed way before the time they did.”

In regard to how investors can assess when an exit scam is about to go down, Samocha pointed out that it can be extremely useful for all stakeholders to actively pursue information related to the project (such as confirmations of partnerships, licenses, etc.) by following the company’s blockchain wallets as well as their media engagement levels. 

For example, if a project’s online media output suddenly starts to drop — or stops a month or two after its inception — this can be taken as a definitive sign that something shady is going on.

Obvious red flags to be wary of

The principle behind an exit scam is quite simple. First, the promoters launch or propose a new crypto platform that is based on a promising concept. Through an ICO, the organizers are then able to acquire a decent sum of money, following which, they proceed to make their getaway — thereby leaving their investors in the lurch. 

Along the way, there are usually a number of red flags that investors should keep an eye out for. Here are a few prominent examples:

Shoddy white paper

A lot of exit scams tend to feature white papers that are either under-researched or are of extremely poor quality. For example, they may feature full sections that have been directly copied from other established projects or come laden with a number of spelling mistakes and basic grammatical errors.

Unrealistic profit projections

Another surefire sign that a project is shady is if it makes bold, outlandish claims related to its financial returns. For example, upon its release, Bitconnect promised its core clientele a daily revenue stream of 1% — a figure that would eventually transform one’s initial $1,000 investment into a little over $50 million within a period of just three years. 

Related: Exit Scam in Wonderland: Bitconnect’s Tentacles From Texas to Gujarat

At the time, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin was highly critical of the project and called it a Ponzi scheme — and rightly so, because within a few months time (January 2018, to be exact), BitConnect closed down all of its lending and exchange services, which resulted in the project’s market cap falling from $2.7 billion in December 2017 to around the $17 million mark by the end of March 2018. On the subject, Samocha pointed out:

“Conduct proper due diligence, do not believe unsustainable false promises such as 6%+ profits guaranteed, look for the fundamentals and the proofs: they claim to have a partnership? Ask for transparency, approach the partner and verify it, etc. In addition, take extra care for MLM models that have several layers of profits (meaning, you gain commissions not from the people you recruit, but from their recruits as well).”

Team details

Back in 2017, a number of ICOs were able to raise substantial sums of money from investors, despite the organizers not providing any tangible details regarding the project’s key personnel. 

Not only that, a host of established ventures in the past have even resorted to buying likes, tweets and followers across various social media platforms to increase their online credibility. Thus, it is of utmost importance that people carry out their own research in regard to the promoters and backers of a particular ICO that they might be interested in. 

No working product

If a crypto project is backed only by a concept and not a working model, it is quite likely that the envisioned final product may never see the light of day. And while it is true that there are some technologies that have been developed from scratch, when it comes to crypto, any groundbreaking idea should ideally come backed by some sort of operational platform at the time of raising funds.

How to best avoid exit scams

It is quite clear by now that most crypto scams are usually centered around an ICO. However, it is worth pointing out that there have been more complex cases in the past — e.g., Bitsane, a scammy venture that was able to operate for a few years before finally being forced to shut down. 

To better understand some of the security-related aspects of exit scams, Cointelegraph reached out to Robin Singh, the founder of Koinly — a crypto portfolio tracker and tax calculation platform. Regarding security, he explained:

“As with all investments you really need to do your due diligence when investing in a crypto product or company. Do you understand the product? Can you corroborate the numbers showcased by the promoters from independent sources? Is there any evidence of demand for the product? Is the team behind the product ‘real’? Most scam companies use fake linkedin accounts to avoid accountability so it is always a good idea to validate their existence.”

Additionally, Singh also pointed out the following aspects that he believes can be useful for crypto investors in general:

  • Investors should ensure that they are being offered a working and validated product that already has some traction. 
  • Investors should avoid investing in an idea-only product with a multiyear roadmap. 
  • Investors should keep in mind that, though global investor sentiment usually decreases after an exit scam is revealed, people still seem eager to invest in Bitcoin – evidenced by the price reaching the $10K mark recently. 

In a similar vein, Nischal Shetty, CEO and founder of WazirX — India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange — pointed out that the most important thing to remember when investing in a nascent crypto venture is whether its founders have a good track record or not. 

Additionally, potential investors should look up a project’s founders on Twitter, LinkedIn (and possibly even Facebook) to verify whether they have been active in the crypto realm for at least a few years. Additionally, on the topic of what to do in case one falls prey to an exit scam, Shetty outlined to Cointelegraph:

“Raising a complaint in your country’s cyber crime division is a good first step. Cyber crime teams can try to trace the location of such scamsters. Most times, if the scamsters are smart then they’ll employ techniques that allow them to be completely anonymous or use a different identity. The best way to curb is to ensure there is enough public information about the founders. Founders with a good social standing will not pull an exit scam and even if they do, it’ll be easy for law enforcement to catch them.”

It is all down to common sense?

It should be made abundantly clear that the safety of financial assets is entirely the responsibility of the individual. Making money via crypto trading or investments requires a lot of due diligence by the investor and it thus is always desirable that investors do their homework before going in big on a particular crypto project.

Indian IT Giant Tech Mahindra to Launch Blockchain Finance Management

Indian IT Giant Tech Mahindra to Launch Blockchain Finance Management

Mahindra Group subsidiary Tech Mahindra partnered with DLT startup Adjoint to launch a blockchain financial management and insurance solution.

Tech Mahindra, the IT subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group, partnered with American distributed ledger technology (DLT) firm Adjoint to launch a blockchain financial management and insurance solution.

Telecommunications industry news outlet CommsMEA reported on Sept. 2 that the solution is the first of its kind. With this service, clients will reportedly be able to save $4 million for every $1 billion of financial risk management and banking relationships.

Auditable data recording

Per the report, users of the new system will be able to validate the business case with their own data in their own secure environment and help eliminate out-of-order and double data entries. 

In order to ease reporting and compliance, auditors can purportedly be given access to an immutable record of all transactions.

The system is based on UpLink, an open source DLT platform aimed at enabling compliant modern financial processes management. The platform has a dedicated messaging protocol and consensus mechanism meant to let participants in the blockchain ecosystem establish what data is put on the distributed ledger.

Previous blockchain initiatives

Earlier this summer, Tech Mahindra announced a blockchain-based anti-spam phone call initiative. The solution allows phone companies to comply with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s regulations to protect mobile phone subscribers from unsolicited calls.

As Cointelegraph reported in April, Samsung SDS has reportedly agreed to cooperate with Tech Mahindra in an attempt to enter the overseas blockchain market.

India: 5 Arrested for Allegedly Torturing Bitcoin Businessman to Death

India: 5 Arrested for Allegedly Torturing Bitcoin Businessman to Death

Five men in the Indian state of Kerala have been arrested for allegedly torturing the head of a failed $62.5 million Bitcoin investment scheme to death.

Five men in the Indian state of Kerala have been arrested for allegedly torturing the head of a failed $62.5 million Bitcoin investment scheme to death. Yahoo! News reported the news on Sept. 2.

Killers believe victim defrauded investors

According to the report, the Dehradun police in Uttarakhand were alerted to the incident after a local hospital found the body of the deceased in a car abandoned in a parking lot. 

Identity documents revealed that the victim was Abdul Shakoor, 35, from Malappuram in Kerala. Hospital authorities told police that a group of four men had brought the body to the car and fled the scene.

Markings on the body indicated that Shakoor had been tortured to death. Dehradun Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Arun Mohan Joshi has now disclosed the details of the police investigation, which established that Shakoor had been running a Bitcoin (BTC) investment scheme in Kerala prior to his apparent murder.

He is reported to have overseen a network of teams that collected money from investors across various regions — to the tune of 450 crore rupees ($62 million). 

When the business apparently failed, Shakoor fled Kerala with four members of his core team. He is reported to have told one of them that his Bitcoin account had allegedly been hacked and that he envisioned launching his own cryptocurrency in order to pay back investors.

His confidant, however, was unconvinced and suspected that Shakoor still had access to cryptocurrency worth crores of rupees. 

He contacted his colleagues to plan how to extort Shakoor’s password to retrieve the funds.

“Crores of money would be lost with his death”

On Aug. 12, Shakoor’s confidant took him to Dehdradun. On Aug. 26, he and the four other suspects rented a house, where they proceeded to torture Shakoor to force him to disclose the password. Local police told the media that:

“The accused tortured him so much to retrieve the password that Shakoor died. Because crores of money would be lost with his death, the men took him to a hospital, hoping for a miracle. However, since that hospital declared him dead, they took him to another hospital, where they received the same response. So, they abandoned the body in the car and fled the hospital.” 

Multiple police teams are reported to have traced the five suspects using CCTV and local surveillance partners across hotels and transport hubs. 

As reported last year, a Russian cryptocurrency investor and blogger murdered by masked assailants in Saint Petersburg after having boasted of his crypto-derived wealth online.

Super-Rich Indians Choose Bitcoin Over Altcoins for Investment: Poll

Super-Rich Indians Choose Bitcoin Over Altcoins for Investment: Poll

The super-rich in India prefer Bitcoin to altcoins as one in ten plan to invest in cryptocurrency, according to a new survey.

High net-worth individuals (HNIs) in India are more likely to invest in Bitcoin than other cryptocurrencies, according to a new Huru India survey, FinancialExpress reported on Aug. 30.

Digital currencies were the fourth most preferred asset overall, although almost half of the respondents didn’t know what cryptocurrencies are.

One tenth of wealthy Indians plan to invest in crypto

Of the Indian HNIs surveyed, around 10% said that they intended to invest in cryptocurrency over the next three years.

This made digital currency the fourth most favored asset class. Real estate is unsurprisingly the most preferred asset, followed by stock and fixed-income assets.

However, almost half of those who responded, indicated that they didn’t know much about virtual currency at all.

Those who are knowledgeable prefer Bitcoin

Of the respondents who were aware of cryptocurrency, almost 30% stated a preference to invest in Bitcoin (BTC). A further 9% preferred Ether (ETH) as an investment, with 7% indicating a preference for XRP.

The Indian authorities have a tumultuous ongoing relationship with cryptocurrency. As reported by Cointelegraph last week, the Indian Supreme court has been running out of patience with the central bank. It gave the bank just two weeks to justify a ban on servicing crypto-businesses that it imposed in July 2018.

India’s Kerala Blockchain Academy Partners with R3 for Dev Education

India’s Kerala Blockchain Academy Partners with R3 for Dev Education

Blockchain firm R3 partners with the Indian government’s Kerala Blockchain Academy to launch a developer certification program on R3’s Corda blockchain.

The Kerala Blockchain Academy (KBA), a government initiative under the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, is now a general partner of R3.

Local news outlet The Economic Times reported on Aug. 27 that New York-based enterprise blockchain firm R3 chose the KBA as a general partner. According to the article’s author, the academy already designed a developer certification program on the firm’s Corda blockchain, meant for banking and technology professionals.

Governmental blockchain education

Per the report, KBA is the first government institution in India which offers a Corda blockchain development program. Moreover, the initiative also provides in-person training on technologies such as Hyperledger and Ethereum (ETH).

While being a hostile environment for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, India has been more open towards blockchain. It was, for instance, recently reported that the government of the Indian state of Maharashtra is preparing a regulatory sandbox for testing blockchain solutions across various applications. 

R3’s broader work

The Financial Times wrote that many banks in Kerala have already started the implementation of the Corda platform into their core banking systems. According to the article, R3 leads more than 300 organizations working to develop distributed systems for use in fields such as insurance and financial services.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, the development of R3’s enterprise blockchain platform Corda was being plagued by fundamental disagreements over its core vision, causing frustration and delay.

US Charges Two Canadian Nationals Over Alleged $230K Bitcoin Fraud

US Charges Two Canadian Nationals Over Alleged $230K Bitcoin Fraud

Two Indian-origin Canadians are charged in the U.S. with a $230K Bitcoin fraud using a fake Twitter account of HitBTC exchange.

Two Canadians of Indian origin were charged in the United States with a $233,220 Bitcoin (BTC) fraud using a fake HitBTC account on Twitter.

Scammers posed as HitBTC customer service on Twitter

Karanjit Singh Khatkar, 23, and Jagroop Singh Khatkar, 24, of Surrey, British Columbia, allegedly stole 23.2 Bitcoin from a woman in the U.S. state of Oregon, Indian publication The Week reports on Aug. 23, citing charges filed with the federal court.

According to the report, the defendants used a fraudulent Twitter account named @HitBTCAssist to trick victims into believing they represented customer service from Hong Kong-based crypto exchange HitBTC from October 2017 until August 2018.

Using the fake HitBTC account, the alleged scammers reportedly convinced the woman to pass them her login data to take over her email, HitBTC and Kraken accounts.

Using the information, the defendants transferred over 23 BTC from the victim’s HitBTC account to Karanjit’s Kraken, who in turn sent nearly 11.6 in stolen Bitcoin to Jagroop’s Kraken account, the report notes.

Multiple charges

Now the two alleged criminals are facing various counts, including one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft and multiple counts of money laundering. 

While Karanjit was reportedly arrested upon arrival at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas in July 2019, Jagroop still remains at large.

Earlier this month, major global crypto mining hardware supplier Bitmain accused a crypto project of falsely using its name to promote a product dubbed Mangocoin and sale a product dubbed “Bitmain Cloud Miner.”

India: Supreme Court Gives Central Bank 2 Weeks to Justify Crypto Ban

India: Supreme Court Gives Central Bank 2 Weeks to Justify Crypto Ban

The bank has failed in its duty to respond to complaints over the ban it instigated last year, judge rules.

India’s Supreme Court has slammed the country’s central bank over its handling of a cryptocurrency business ban and ordered it to address complaints.

Judge: RBI has not properly responded to representation

In the latest session of an ongoing hearing into the actions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Aug. 21, the court ruled that officials had not appropriately responded to concerns from the cryptocurrency industry over its actions. 

The RBI forbade banks from servicing crypto operators such as exchanges in July 2018 — effectively stopping such platforms from continuing to operate in India. 

On Wednesday, the move came in for severe criticism from Supreme Court Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman.

As summarized by advisory resource Crypto Kanoon, which was present at the hearing, Nariman gave the RBI just two weeks to justify its actions.

“Now justice Nariman questions RBI why you have not properly responded to the representation. You just said that we are forwarding to Govt. Angrily says this is not an answer,” one update on Twitter read.

RBI agrees to two-week deadline

Discussing the final outcome of the hearing, which is now over, Crypto Kanoon summarized:

“Case takes the most unlredictable turn. Justice Nariman directs that RBI must respond to the representation in the manner appropriate. Offers to defer the case for 2 weeks as part heard, let the answer come on reconsideration of banking ban by RBI. RBI has agreed.”

The case comes at the same time as the Indian government considers making cryptocurrency illegal for all Indians. In July, a government committee recommended Delhi moves to ban all tokens except an official digital version of the rupee. 

Subsequently, as Cointelegraph reported, an expert estimated the country would lose a market worth around $13 billion if it signed the ban into law.

Second-Largest Indian State to Use Blockchain in Various Spheres

Second-Largest Indian State to Use Blockchain in Various Spheres

The second-largest state in India, Maharashtra, is ramping up its plans to apply blockchain tech across various spheres of administration.

The government of the Indian state of Maharashtra is preparing a regulatory sandbox for testing blockchain solutions across various applications. 

According to a report by Indian English-language news daily DNA India on Aug. 19, the government aims to apply blockchain technology in supply chains, agricultural marketing, vehicle registration and document management. 

The Maharashtra Information Technology Directorate will lead the development and the government has already earmarked 100 million rupees (~$1.4 million) for blockchain adoption from 2019–2020. 40 million ($560,000) has been approved outright by the implementation committee. State IT department principal secretary S.V.R. Srinivas told DNA India:

“The state government is adopting a cutting edge technology to help enhance efficiency in the governance. Already the government has completed its first blockchain pilot in the fields of health, supply chain, documents and SSC certificates. A detailed report has been prepared to go in for extensive use of blockchain technology in various government departments. A regulatory sandbox, which will be a common framework for adopting blockchain technology, will be prepared in next five to six months.”

Containing the capital of Mumbai, the state of Maharashtra is the second-largest state in India and is home to over 114 million people. The state’s government previously signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bahrain Economic Development Board to develop a framework for the joint promotion of fintech. 

Various Indian companies and government institutions have been applying blockchain technology to their businesses and administrative models. In June, news broke that the Reserve Bank of India is developing a blockchain platform for banking in its R&D branch.

Last week, Indian telecoms provider Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited announced that it was developing one of the world’s largest blockchain networks. The firm’s chairman and managing director Shri Mukesh D. Ambani said, “Over the next 12 months, Jio will install across India one of the largest blockchain networks in the world, with tens of thousands of nodes operational on day one.” Jio has a current user base of over 330 million people. 

Indian Telecom Jio Reveals Blockchain Network for 330 Million Customers

Indian Telecom Jio Reveals Blockchain Network for 330 Million Customers

Telecoms company Jio wants to build the blockchain system over the next 12 months, its managing director has revealed.

Indian telecoms provider Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (known as Jio) has pledged to build what it describes as one of the world’s largest blockchain networks.

Chairman: Nodes to be active from day one

Speaking at the company’s 42nd AGM (1.01) on Aug. 12, chairman and managing director Shri Mukesh D. Ambani said blockchain technology formed one of three main areas of expansion for Jio. 

Since debuting in 2015, the company has become one of India’s major mobile networks, with a current user base of over 330 million people. 

“Over the next 12 months, Jio will install across India one of the largest blockchain networks in the world, with tens of thousands of nodes operational on day one,” Ambani promised. 

His comments came as India faces a backlash over its plan to ban cryptocurrency while championing blockchain technology at state level. 

As Cointelegraph reported, outside commentators have joined the anger coming from the local crypto industry amid warnings from the central bank it could criminalize interaction with unsanctioned tokens such as Bitcoin (BTC) in future. 

Customer data owned and controlled by the Indian people

Staying away from the topic, meanwhile, Ambani focused on blockchain’s role in empowering Indian consumers.

“Using blockchain, we also have an opportunity to invent a brand new model for data privacy, where Indian data, especially customer data, is owned and controlled by the Indian people and not by corporates — especially global corporations,” he said. 

The exact nature of Jio’s blockchain installation remains unclear, with Ambani not going into specifics about how users could potentially engage with or monitor their data. 

Beyond India, estimates have put the potential value of the global blockchain telecoms industry as reaching $1 billion by 2023.