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Orbs Blockchain | Raises $15 Million With Kakao’s Help

South Korean app provider, Kakao, has helped to raise over $15 million in cryptocurrency for Orbs, a hybrid blockchain platform.

Orbs Blockchain Raises $15 Million

Kakao joined the fundraising venture through its investment arm because it “always seeks to invest and support innovative startups and Orbs is a good example.

It also builds on the pair’s existing partnership; Orb already partners with Kakao’s blockchain subsidiary, Ground X. The two companies develop blockchain applications, along with researching and developing projects.

The latest investment will “focus on helping Orbs further the protocol’s development and growth.”

On the investment, Daniel Peled, Orbs CEO and Co-Founder said:

“With Kakao’s consumer applications counting more than 50 million active users worldwide, the investment in Orbs represents a significant endorsement of the long-term potential of our technology.”

About Orbs Blockchain

But what exactly is Orbs doing? How is it innovative?

According to its website Orbs is “a public blockchain to complement base-layer protocols.”

Describing itself as a “universal and scalable second layer for decentralized applications with the liquidity of a base layer,” Orbs is a hybrid public blockchain that proves performance without compromising security.

Raising Funds

The startup raised approximately 139,000 Ether and 892 Bitcoin. This amounts to around $15.4 million USD at the time of writing.

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Orbs is planning on putting the cash into further research and development of its core technology.

Peled explained further:

“A lot of the funds have been used for R&D and research, and one of the other verticals that are very important is obviously to enable the growth of the ecosystem around the infrastructure […] The test product is already live, and people can use the APIs and we’ve released a testnet version.”

The fundraiser has been running throughout 2018, and the company has been clever with its raised cryptocurrency. To avoid market decline (and 2018 has been one big decline!) Orbs has been converting some of its cryptos along the way into fiat currencies.

Orbs’ mainnet is scheduled to go live in April 2019.

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Blockchain Phone | Will Samsung Enter the Ring? Trademarks Say Yes!

The excitement of late in blockchain has centered around a particular blockchain phone. A first of its kind, this phone has crypto nerds alike beaming with joy; the idea of decentralized apps running on your phone is exciting, and that’s before we consider all the crypto possibilities.

Blockchain Phone

It started with Sirin Labs, whose pioneering phone ‘Finney,’ let people store and use digital currencies without transaction fees. Then HTC came to the party with the world’s second blockchain phone called Exodus 1. This phone boasts a “Social Key Recovery” function that lets a user use a select number of trusted contacts to regain access to their funds, should they lose their private key. Kinda cool.

But now… Samsung is about to join the battle. Yes, one of the world’s biggest phone makers is reportedly on the verge of creating its own blockchain smartphone.

But how do we know this? Well, we don’t know it for definite, but there’s something cooking in the kitchen.

European Trademarks

Earlier in the week, Samsung submitted three European trademark requests for blockchain-based smartphone features. They are named as the following:

  • Blockchain KeyStore
  • Blockchain Key Box
  • Blockchain Core

So while it’s not necessarily definite, its pretty obvious.

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So the news has enthusiasts’ brains ticking over. Is Samsung working on a form of hardware wallet that will be implemented into future devices? Do these names allude to forms of private or public key storage?

One particular clue is that the document states that the trademarks will apply to “Smartphones; Software applications for use with mobile devices; Computer software platforms; Application software.”

But that’s all we know.

Advocate

Samsung has been an advocate for storing cryptocurrency on its phones, stating “smartphones have the best security for blockchain and cryptocurrency.” However, many security experts have disputed this statement.

Further, with $761 million in cryptocurrency thefts this year alone, security is not something you want to take lightly. Perhaps it is time for Samsung to create a blockchain phone made for cryptocurrency storage and then it can truly back up its own statements.

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State Farm | Testing Blockchain Technology for Auto Insurance Claims

US automotive and life insurance group State Farm is now testing blockchain technology to potentially speed up auto claims. The company announced the new pilot for its blockchain-based subrogation platform on its website yesterday.

State Farm Testing Blockchain Technology

According to the company’s website, the company processes just over 38,000 claims per day and has 519,000 accounts in mutual funds.

“Today, subrogation is a relatively manual, time-consuming process often requiring physical checks to be mailed on a claim-by-claim basis between insurers,” said Mike Fields, innovation executive of State Farm. “You can imagine the time and resources required to complete these transactions.”

If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know how long the grueling process of filing claims and bringing those claims to completion can take. State Farm is trying to keep up with new technology to speed up that process and in turn, save themselves time and money.

In the cycle of the claims process, State Farm is applying blockchain to the very last part of the cycle that tends to take the longest. Subrogation is where the insurance company recovers claim costs it paid to its customer for damages from the at-fault party.

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“The blockchain solution we are working on has many potential benefits,” says Fields. “It helps us automate a manual process securely and creates a permanent transaction record of each payment which can easily be verified for accuracy. It also has the potential to decrease the amount of time for consumers to receive their deductible reimbursement.”

Insurance Companies on the Move

State Farm isn’t the only insurance company to attempt to make a transition to the blockchain. Last month, Japan-based Sompo partnered with BitPesa and the partnership focused of the “digitalization of global remittance services.” Back in September, the People’s Insurance Company of China (PICC) partnered with VeChain to improve fraud and Know Your Customer (KYC) practices.

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The US Department of Homeland Security

The US Government has just released an announcement that it is offering grants up to $800 thousand for the development of a blockchain-based anti-forgery solution. The US Department of Homeland Security is focusing its blockchain efforts on enhancing its capabilities of spotting fake documentation.

US Department of Homeland Security and Blockchain

The DHS, through its unit Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), will distribute the non-dilutive funds in four phases. The department chose the non-dilutive route so that the entity doesn’t need to sell equity in order to receive the funding. The funds will be distributed through its Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP).

The things that the US Department of Homeland Security hopes the blockchain can effectively track are identity documents for travel, tribal identity documents for travel, cross-border oil import tracking, raw material imports, and citizen, employment, and immigration authorization documents.

“The broad Homeland Security mission includes the need to issue entitlements, licenses and certifications for a variety of purposes including travel, citizenship, employment eligibility, immigration status and supply chain security,” said S&T SVIP Technical Director Anil John. “Understanding the feasibility and utility of using Blockchain and distributive ledger technology for the digital issuance of what are currently paper-based credentials is critical to preventing their loss, destruction, forgery and counterfeiting.”

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This $800 thousand of funding is open to small businesses and start-up companies that have not had funding from a government contract in the last year that totaled $1 million. The organization isn’t allowed to have less than 200 employees at the time of application, either.

This isn’t the first time the US Department of Homeland of Security has explored blockchain technology. The organization started accepting research proposals on the technology back in 2015.

In addition to the government entity, the US Air Force graduate program released a course centered around blockchain technology for supply chain use.

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US Air Force Develops New Blockchain Tool

The grad school for the United States Air Force just developed a tool to help supply chain professionals learn about blockchain. The US Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) released its free tool in hopes of advancing the current infrastructure built around supply chain management.

This news was released by the US business journal Modern Materials Handling (MMH) back on December 3rd.

US Air Force and Blockchain Technology

AFIT has put together a live application that is paired with a set of video tutorials. This application can be accessed from any smartphone or computer. AFIT built it in hopes that the tutorials and module would be used in a classroom or business meeting setting, as well as for individual use.

When blockchain emerged into the mainstream tech scene in 2017, supply chain was one of the hot topics surrounding the new tech. While the blockchain is anything but new, it didn’t start catching big eyes until the last few years.

The report by MMH emphasizes that even some experts have predicted that blockchain will revolutionize the way we think about “designing and operating the digital infrastructure of supply chains.” The US Air Force grad school deciding to take on this task must mean it sees flaws in its own supply chain system. Blockchain technology could provide the military with better visibility into extremely complex logistic networks.

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With the US Air Force being deployed everywhere, it can be difficult to track parts that are sourced from one region and then assembled and used on a completely different continent. While this sounds like a no-brainer, blockchain technology can be difficult to understand for most. That’s the exact reason why AFIT built this module and live application.

It remains unknown if the Department of Defense will utilize blockchain technology in the near future for supply chain, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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