If you say blockchain, you say Bitcoin (BTC). However, that’s not the only thing you should think about when you hear blockchain. Blockchain is much more than Bitcoin, and more and more companies are discovering that. Blockchain technology offers many opportunities and ensures that long-standing problems can be solved. In this article, we will tell you which companies use blockchain technology, and what this means for the business operations they follow. And no, we won’t just be talking about Tesla in this article!
- 1 Microsoft
- 2 Walmart
- 3 Daimler
- 4 Mitsubishi
- 5 Sberbank
- 6 Samsung
- 7 JP Morgan
- 8 Wells Fargo
- 9 Volkswagen
- 10 Conclusion
In 2015, Microsoft created its product Azure Blockchain and offered it as a Blockchain as a Service (BaaS). However, they will stop doing this as of September 10, 2021. Existing deployments will be supported until that date, but no new deployments or new members have been supported as of May 10, 2021.
So it started in 2015 in a partnership with ConsenSys. In late January 2016, Microsoft had made available a preview of a lab environment in Azure’s DevTest Labs, allowing services and partners working on blockchain to leverage these technologies outside of virtual machines. Microsoft’s short-term goal for Azure BaaS was to provide a certified blockchain marketplace. In the meantime, the emphasis has been placed on adding all kinds of partners, rather than trying to select a limited number of potential partners.
Microsoft eventually offered a preview of Azure BaaS, but did little to update the service. However, Microsoft’s Azure BaaS product page lists GE, JP Morgan, Singapore Airlines, Starbucks, and Xbox among its customers.
Microsoft’s documentation recommends that users start migrating to an alternative now. The recommended migration destination is ConsenSys Quorum Blockchain Service. Users can also choose to manage their blockchains themselves using virtual machines (VM).
Microsoft is still interested in blockchain
Despite the discontinuation of the Azure Blockchain, Microsoft continues to have a strong interest in blockchain technology. In recent years, the American software company has proposed several projects based on blockchain.
Last year, Microsoft launched a decentralized digital identity service (DID) on the Bitcoin mainnet (BTC). A few months earlier, the American giant also unveiled a smart contract verification tool. But it doesn’t stop there.
With the help of researchers from Alibaba and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Microsoft’s research division has developed Argus, an anti-piracy tool based on the Ethereum blockchain. The system is intended to prevent illegal copies of content, such as software, films or series.
Specifically, the Argus system plans to reward all users who help find a pirated copy of a content. Users will then automatically receive a reward via the blockchain in exchange for their report.
First, all content must be watermarked. This watermark prevents pirates from using or viewing the stolen content. It also contains information that allows content to be precisely identified with the blockchain.
“The owner has an interest in getting an accurate count of the number of pirated copies,” the researchers explain in the Argus presentation report.
When an internet user encounters pirated content, they are requested to report it using the invisible code embedded in the watermark. They will then receive a compensation. The blockchain will then register that the content has been illegally copied so that the internet user does not have to report it repeatedly.
Microsoft’s goal, of course, is to encourage Internet users to report cases of piracy. Ultimately, Argus must make it possible to trace a pirated copy back to the person who put it online. To do this, Microsoft relies on watermarking and the benefits of the blockchain.
To keep transaction costs (Gas) as low as possible, Microsoft researchers have conducted several experiments. “Because Argus works on a public blockchain, the gas consumption of the process must be very low. The cost of notifications will be reduced to a price equivalent to 14 transactions in Ether,” Microsoft said.
To resolve billing disputes with its transportation suppliers, the retailer Walmart has implemented the DL Freight blockchain solution. The result: a 97% decrease in the number of disputed invoices.
Disputes between customers and suppliers are not uncommon when it comes to billing. At its Canadian subsidiary, retailer Walmart estimates that 70% of invoices were the subject of litigation.
To solve this costly administrative problem, the company has deployed a blockchain application. And the latter’s contributions benefit not only Walmart, but also its carriers, whose payments used to be deferred.
Today only 2% disputed invoices
As Walmart Canada’s vice president of transportation, Francis Lalonde, summarized to FreightWaves, “life was a little hard when it came to processing payments.” You want to process them on time. Carriers want to be paid on time.”
So, in partnership with startup DLT Labs, Walmart has adopted a blockchain-based freight billing and payment system. The application processes tens of thousands of invoices per month. Of the 150,000 invoices processed monthly today, only 2% were disputed.
The data stored on blockchain technology thus forms a “single source of truth” for shippers and carriers. Shared data allowed Walmart to automate invoice processing and payment.
This started as a pilot program and is now the standard for the entire group in the country. However, the platform is not set in stone. Further developments are planned to ensure that the platform always meets the wishes and requirements of users.
In particular, Walmart would like to integrate data related to the loading of goods. It should be noted that the US retailer has also been a member of the HyperLedger blockchain consortium since 2020. Therefore, we can expect a lot from Walmart in the future in the field of blockchain.
Multiple benefits from this solution
For example, the DL Freight application designed by DLT Labs can process data passed through the Internet of Things (IoT) in real time. Including this additional data should make the supply chain more transparent.
It should also provide a better view of the tensions between carriers and their customers. The IoT could pass data on the temperature of goods, which could then be shared on the blockchain.
Invoicing in physical transport is not the only application of the blockchain. The transport of data over telecommunications networks is another area of application. The blockchain simplifies the management of roaming charges for Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone.
While Bitcoin’s energy-hungry nature initially distracted the green sector from cryptocurrencies, new bridges are gradually being built. A recent example is Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, which has explained that it wants to track its CO2 emissions using a blockchain tool.
As explained in a group press release, Daimler has teamed up with the startup Circulor to achieve an ambitious goal: carbon neutrality for their passenger cars by 2039. First, the pilot project will focus on cobalt, which is used, among other things, for batteries. for electric cars. The blockchain created for Mercedes and Circulor will map the material flows and the associated CO2 costs. The idea is to give preference to recycling and shorter circuits as much as possible.
The network may also display other data, such as the working conditions and rights of the workers supplying the materials, and the level of environmental protection of the companies supplying Daimler.
This is not the first foray into blockchain territory for the Mercedes manufacturer. Just under a year ago, it was reported that Daimler had created a blockchain wallet that would identify vehicles and automatically transact. Similar technology has also been tested by Renault, BMW, Honda, Ford and General Motors.
Tokyo University of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation have announced a partnership to develop a blockchain technology that optimizes peer-to-peer (P2P) energy sharing.
This technology is expected to contribute to a more efficient use of surplus electricity through a renewable energy source. It will create a business environment that supports the management of electricity on an ongoing basis. Electronics giants and its partner will evaluate and test the performance of the new blockchain system before bringing it to market.
Peer-to-peer energy trading systems allow producers and consumers to do business directly as sellers and buyers. Tokyo Tech and Mitsubishi Electric are looking to adapt their blockchain to make the new system less dependent on high-volume computing and hardware-intensive use.
The partnership will allow the electronics giant to design its P2P energy exchange system and transaction execution functions. Tokyo Tech, on the other hand, is responsible for designing an optimal settlement algorithm and performing R& ;O with regard to blockchain technology.
Forecasting the maximum amount of excess electricity
The new distributed optimization algorithm will enable clients’ computers to share trading targets by matching buy and sell orders through basic calculations.
Tokyo Tech and Mitsubishi want to ensure that the maximum amount of excess electricity will be readily available for trading in the market. When it is possible to use a peer-to-peer solution for this, electricity retailers will no longer hold the market hostage when they react to market fluctuations.
This is not the first blockchain-based digital energy platform, some of which have been up and running for some time. For example, Power Ledger , an Australian company, offers a blockchain-based energy solution, which includes virtual power plants and peer-to-peer energy trading. It also provides the ability to trade renewable energy certificates and carbon credits. Both Tokyo Tech and Mitsubishi have stated that they intend to commercialize the project once it has been properly tested.
You may not be familiar with the name, but the Sberbank is very well known in Russia. In fact, it is the largest bank in Russia and Central and Southern Europe. The history of the Sberbank aligns with that of the banks in Russia. The Sberbank was founded on November 12, 1841, when Tsar Nicholas I signed a decree allowing the creation of savings banks. Today the Sberbank Group is largely owned by the Russian government .
In Russia, Sberbank consists of eleven regional banks and has 14,200 branches in 83 regions. Globally, the Sberbank is strongly represented in more than 18 countries. In total, Sberbank employs more than 281,000 people, making it the fifth largest employer in Russia.
On Monday, November 30, 2020, Herman Gref, CEO of the Sberbank, had made some startling announcements. He detailed his plans for 2021, when the regulation of crypto assets in Russia comes into effect.
Sberbank launches its own blockchain platform
First, the first announcement concerns the launch of a new blockchain platform. So far, few details have been leaked. However, it is known that this platform will be used to support digital asset transactions.
The most surprising announcement was the one about Sbercoin. Last year, Reuters news agency announced that the Sberbank would create its own cryptocurrency called Sbercoin.
To that end, the Sberbank group has teamed up with another well-known player: JP Morgan. The creation of the Sbercoin is considered a full-scale test. Again, few details have been given about this new crypto. At the most, it has been announced that the arrival of the Sbercoin is expected in the course of 2021. This announcement comes in a special context as the Bank of Russia is developing a central bank for digital currencies (CBDC).
Apparently, the intention for the Sberbank would be to make the release date of this new crypto coincide with that of the digital ruble, which is being prepared by the Russian central bank. Recently, Sberbank had shown some divergence on the terms of the digital ruble. For example, the Sberbank argued that every electronic ruble should be given an identification number and that transactions should be managed exclusively via smart contracts . Regardless of whether or not its creation is related to these differences, the Sbercoin is intended to be an alternative to the digital ruble.
After launching with the Galaxy S10 in 2019, the Samsung Blockchain wallet has expanded to support a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), ERC-20 tokens, as well as Tron (TRX) and TRC- 20 tokens.
The digital wallet announced with Galaxy smartphones will support Ledger’s devices, which are specifically designed for securing cryptocurrencies through cold storage.
“We will start by providing integration for Ledger products, including Nano S and Nano X. After that, we plan to expand our support to more cold wallets,” said Woong Ah Yoon, vice president at Samsung. In the future, partnerships with other wallet providers such as Trezor will also arrive.
While Samsung invested 2.6 million euros in the French company Ledger in 2019, the integration of this technology in its mobile devices further strengthens the ties between the two companies.
In 2020, Gemini followed suit, which allowed Samsung to expand particularly in the US and Canada by offering users a wide range of crypto assets. As security is one of the main obstacles to the adoption of blockchain on the mobile medium, Samsung can now boast that it is at the forefront in this area.
After announcing that JP Morgan would offer Bitcoin (BTC) to its customers, JP Morgan has done something else. The US bank is opening the door for its customers to invest in cryptocurrencies, according to a report from Business Insider today.
In fact, according to a source with direct knowledge, JP Morgan has reportedly given the green light to its financial advisors to offer all of their wealth management clients to invest in cryptocurrency funds.
Specifically, JP Morgan asset managers will be able to take buy and sell orders from their clients on five cryptocurrency products. These are the Bitcoin Trust, Bitcoin Cash Trust (BCH), Ethereum Trust (ETH) and Ethereum Classic Trust (ETC) from Grayscale Investments and the Bitcoin Trust from Osprey Funds.
JP Morgan’s advisors will be able to buy or sell these products at the formal request of a client. However, they may not recommend it or conduct unsolicited transactions.
JP Morgen is behind crypto and blockchain
This follows recent claims by Mary Callahan Erdoes, JP Morgan’s head of wealth and wealth management. In an interview with Bloomberg, she said many of the bank’s customers view cryptocurrency as “an asset class unto itself” and would like to invest in it.
While this view is not yet fully and officially shared by JP Morgan, the bank’s senior manager believes it is important to respond to investor demand.
Still, JP Morgan has long been known for its somewhat lukewarm stance on cryptocurrencies. In 2017, its CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin a fraud and threatened to fire its employees who had it in good hands.
Since then, the tide has turned and the company has revised its stance. JP Morgan strategists have even advised their clients to invest 1% of their portfolio in digital assets.
In conclusion, this announcement by the largest US bank of a proposal to its clients to invest in cryptocurrency funds is another important step towards its adoption and democratization.
Wells Fargo is an American company with a strong interest in blockchain technology. For example, it invests in Elliptic, among others. This is a company that develops monitoring solutions for blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, and has raised an additional $5 million.
In an extension of its Series B funding round, Elliptic has raised $5 million from US financial group Wells Fargo, bringing the startup’s total money raised to $40 million. Wells Fargo joins other financial giants such as Japan’s SBI Group and Britain’s Santander InnoVentures, which have supported Elliptic since last year.
Elliptic’s technology helps cryptocurrency companies, including crypto exchanges such as Binance , to spot and neutralize suspicious activity related to money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud and other forms of financial crime.
With its latest product Elliptic Discovery, financial institutions can analyze incoming and outgoing flows of cryptocurrencies and thus better assess risks.
More and more banks are realizing that even if they don’t touch crypto, they are indirectly exposed and have a responsibility to understand what the risk is and how to manage it,” Elliptic CEO and co-founder James Smith told CNBC.
In a press release, Smith said the partnerships with investors will enhance his company’s ability to “work with banks around the world.”
Rather than leaving financial institutions in the dark about digital assets, our goal is to analyze every activity and empower them to manage the risks,” he added. Elliptic also announced that its analytic solution now supports transactions on Ripple’s XRP blockchain.
The Volkswagen group announced the imminent use of IBM’s blockchain by its services in a press release dated April 18, 2019. The technology developed with Hyperledger Fabric will enable better traceability of minerals and metals. It focuses primarily on cobalt, which is still widely used for lithium battery production. The initiative will also enable the German manufacturer to improve its logistics performance and reduce costs.
Volkswagen is focusing on cobalt first, because its extraction can have serious consequences. Two-thirds of production comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, with an estimated 2 million miners. These miners are victims of human rights violations, and many of them are children. It is therefore important to ensure that this widely used component does not come from these illegal mines.
Using blockchain is the perfect way to do this, the press release said. IBM’s technology will “support responsible procurement standards developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), enabling continuous traceability to track compliance with requirements.” The new platform used on this blockchain is being built by Hyperledger Fabric, a Linux company that provides industries and businesses with custom blockchain solutions.
Blockchain ensures optimal traceability
Volkswagen joins a growing list of major companies that rely on this technology. Ford Motor Company, Huayou Cobalt and LG Chem had already started using the program for their purchases. But IBM’s initiative doesn’t stop at minerals. In France and the rest of the world, the food industry is particularly interested in these types of solutions. Similarly, Carrefour and Nestlé recently joined forces to launch a traceability test for processed food products. The American multinational therefore intends to position itself where the needs will be most urgent in the future.
Product traceability is one of the blockchain applications that seem to appeal to large multinationals. Its immutability and transparency make it an ideal tool for producers and consumers. And it helps fight fraud and health scandals more effectively than ever. And best of all, it improves the reputation of cryptocurrencies by giving large companies the ability to adopt blockchain. IBM understands this and is not going to let it go. In the future, the company will offer to extend its technology to aerospace, mining and consumer electronics.
This is a positive note after the Volkswagen scandal years ago. Here, Volkswagen wanted to hide certain details about their cars from the outside world. That caused her a lot of problems. Now they seem to have learned from this, because they want to be transparent with this. It is a great example of a company that has turned in the right direction after a mistake.
Before reading this article, you might not have expected that so many companies are working on blockchain. And let’s be honest: they are not the least companies. They are large companies that have a lot of power, and seem to be at the forefront of a revolution that we will all notice. Blockchain will play a major role in our daily lives.
Companies that choose to close their eyes run the risk of falling behind. The same is currently happening at companies that did not switch to a webshop years ago. These are the companies that are going bankrupt these days. It is therefore important that a company keeps up with technical developments. If it doesn’t, the chances of survival will be very slim.
In addition, it can also actually help companies move forward. Blockchain offers various opportunities and solutions for problems of current ICT systems. For example, think of the safe storage of data, which has always been a problem in our world.
Thanh Lanh Tran(1989) is Chief Editor from BitcoinUSD.com