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South African Central Bank Reports Successful Trial of Blockchain Project Khokha

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Project Khokha

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has reported the success of Project Khokha’s trial process, which aimed to build a proof of concept ‘wholesale payment system for interbank settlement using a tokenised South African Rand on JPMorgan’s Ethereum-based enterprise blockchain Quorum.

The project, which kick-started on January 2018 and was in operation for 14 weeks, was a collaborative process that involved a consortium of banks such as Absa, Capitec, Discovery Bank, FirstRand, Investec, Nedbank, and Standard Bank. Other partners were Ethereum-based blockchain technology company ConsenSys and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In its report entitled ‘Exploring The Use Of Distributed Ledger Technology For Interbank Payments Settlement In South Africa’, Francois Groepe, Deputy Governor SARB says:

“Our goal with project Khokha is to contribute to the global initiatives which assess the application and use cases of distributed ledger technology (DLT) through this collaborative effort piloted by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) together with the national banking community.”

Khokha is the Zulu word for ‘pay.’

Trial Results

The trial results show that the Quorum blockchain can process the usual daily volume handled by South Africa’s Real-Time Gross Settlement System (SAMOS) of nearly 70,000 transactions in 75 minutes. On average, transactions were handled within two seconds and at a 100 percent settlement rate.

SAMOS is an interbank settlements system created on March 9, 1998, by SARB. The South African central bank owns and manages the system.

Some of the factors highlighted in the report that contributed to the success of the project include SARB’s interest to discover more about DLT, the collaboration with ConsenSys, training of participants, and key stakeholder engagement.

ConsenSys brought onboard experience from working on Singapore’s Project Ubin, an effort to digitise the country’s currency on the blockchain.

Several Issues to Consider Before DLT Implementation

According to the report, Project Khokha brings to light several challenges that arise from setting up a DLT. The main considerations that need to be addressed are: “evaluation of supporting frameworks and other systems that integrate with the RTGS system legal, regulatory, and compliance factors.”

The report also clarifies that the project does not wish to replace SAMOS. Rather, it aims to evaluate the use case of DLT in wholesale payments for interbank settlements and, therefore, build on and enhance the work done in other countries.

SARB has joined other central banks around the world that are experimenting with distributed ledger technology such as Brazil and Canada.

Blockchain Technology

IBM, Ford, LG Chem and Huayou Cobalt Join Forces in Cobalt-Tracking Blockchain Project in Congo

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cobalt blockchain congo

Technology giant IBM, carmaker Ford, China’s Huayou Cobalt, and South Korean cathode maker LG Chem have partnered in a new blockchain project that is set to monitor the supply chain of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Making Cobalt Mining “Cleaner” in the Congo

The project is meant to help manufacturers ensure that children are not involved in the mining process for cobalt that is used in lithium-ion batteries and neither does it fuel any type of conflict, according to a report by Reuters. Responsible-sourcing group RCS Group has been overseeing the pilot project since December of last year until it was officially announced on Wednesday.

cobalt blockchain congoIn the past few years, companies have been put under pressure by investors and consumers to prove that no human right abuses occur when minerals are mined. However, this has been a huge challenge given that manufacturers had no way of tracking the entire journey of the raw materials.

The project will focus on the industrially mined cobalt in Congo and monitor the supply chain process of lithium-ion batteries that are used in Ford vehicles.

DR Congo, a country that is afflicted with political tension and civil war, has a huge concentration of cobalt that is needed in high volumes for electronic devices and electric vehicles. The outcome of the elections that were held in December are still being contested to date despite being Congo’s first democratic elections to be held in six decades and were geared towards change of power.

Blockchain-based Cobalt Tracking Platform

According to RCS Group, the IBM blockchain platform may be used to incorporate other minerals as well as give artisanal miners an opportunity to be part of a blockchain-based network of authorised participants in the future.

The pilot project, which is expected to end around mid-2019, will see cobalt from the Huayou’s industrial mine be placed in secure bags, recorded onto the blockchain and tracked from the mine and smelter to the cathode and battery plant owned by LG Chem in South Korea and then to Ford’s plant in the United States.

Minerals can be difficult to track given that they are often mixed with minerals from different sources in the smelting process. To counter this, the RCS project is expected to implement best practices by making use of the guidelines developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

IBM also has plans to explore the probability of chemical analysis using artificial intelligence to identify the origin of cobalt and certify that clean cobalt was not fused with minerals that were sourced in an irresponsible manner.

Speaking to Reuters, the General Manager of IBM’s mining and industrial sector business, said: “There is no fool-proof method, but you have to keep the ball moving forward, to keep raising the level of accuracy. Blockchain has been proven to be a very effective technology in raising the bar.”

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Blockchain Technology

ConsenSys Partners With Black Girls Code to Teach Blockchain Coding to Young Women of Colour

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Black Girls Code

ConsenSys – the leading Ethereum development lab – has partnered with the non-for-profit organisation Black Girls Code to increase the number of young women of colour in the computer programming community.

ConsenSys and Black Girls Code to Teach Blockchain Coding to South African Girls

Black Girls Code

Image by BlackGirlsCode.com

With its focus centred on impacting young women with blockchain coding knowledge, ConsenSys and Black Girls Code have decided to create a comprehensive blockchain technical training curriculum that will cover topics such as cryptocurrency, the fundamentals of blockchain technology as well as solving for user experience problems. Through this, young women of colour will be provided with everything they need to make an entrance into the blockchain industry.

According to a recent report by Forbes, young women between the age 7 to 17 across Black Girls Code chapters in Oakland, New York City, Atlanta and Johannesburg, South Africa will be the focus of the training program.

This partnership program will represent the very first blockchain training program on a national scale for young women of colour.

The Black Girls Code Token

Using the black girls code token, these young girls will be able to practice what they have learned. They will use the token to create their own cryptocurrencies as well as their own smart contracts.

So far, about 60 students have been introduced to blockchain basics (from Solidity development to aspects of cryptocurrency philosophy) through the program.

Speaking about the effectiveness of the project, Kimberly Bryant, Black Girls Code’s CEO stated that:

“Our BGC tech divas have embraced blockchain technology with vigour and are excited by its potential to create equity and impact on a global scale. This partnership is an extremely important addition to an already vibrant ecosystem which will flourish by this influx of fresh ideas, perspectives, and insights.”

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CannaSOS Launches its Anonymous Cryptocurrency Wallet, PTPWallet, for Android and iOS Users

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PTPWallet

CannaSOS has completed the development of its PTPWallet – a hybrid cryptocurrency wallet that has been created to connect businesses and users in the crypto space. The mobile wallet was launched on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and is now available for download.

CannaSOS’ Contribution to the Cannabis Industry

CannaSOSCannaSOS is a social platform for the Cannabis industry that hopes to change the way cannabis enthusiasts interact with their peers and businesses. The company developed the PTPWallet in order to address the need for a payment processor for the cannabis industry. However, a change in the company’s long-term objectives saw CannaSOS develop a wallet that would serve all industries worldwide.

Oleg Cheine, the President and Founder of CannaSOS Corp, said in a press release: “We are very happy and proud to announce that after 11 months of development, PTPWallet is finally live on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. We see the application bridging the gap in the retail sector; something that is crucially missing in the crypto industry.”

The PTP Wallet

The team behind PTPWallet considers it a “revolution”. This is based on the fact that the cryptocurrency wallet includes a centralised and decentralised technology that seeks to ease the use of its users. Although funds that are sent or withdrawn from the PTPWallet undergo the normal decentralised way, all transactions made within the wallet undergo centralised technology. This means that all transactions done within the wallet are instantaneous, fully anonymous and that the platform can process millions of transactions each second.

The PTPWallet has an inbuilt referral program and a game called ‘Drain the Bank’ that is akin to a lottery. In addition, the wallet provides users with the ability to build a business page as well as build a loyalty program that provides users with cash back in crypto for purchases they make. The wallet also gives users the ability to send digital currencies via email and SMS making it the only wallet with such a feature.

Cheine went on to add: “After conducting many surveys, businesses, for example, don’t really care about decentralised or centralised technology. They all want to use crypto but have to deal with slow transactions speeds and for there to be too much transparency – which could lead to potential hacker attacks or robberies. So, what we did is we incorporated both centralised and decentralised technology, flopped in a bunch of cool new features and now businesses are more connected with our users. The app is free to use and setup takes only around three minutes when you include the business page and loyalty program.”

CannaSOS gave users who installed and tested the PTPWallet 1,000 crypto coins for the first six days after it launched in order to celebrate the launch of the app. Users who download the app after the first six days will get 800 crypto coins for the next six days and the coin amount will keep decreasing.

The app is currently available on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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