Bank of England taskforce announced to explore CBDC potential

The Bank of England and the Treasury have announced the creation of a joint taskforce to explore the potential upsides and pitfalls of a UK central bank digital currency (CBDC), referred to as ‘Britcoin’ by chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The taskforce will be jointly led by the Bank's deputy governor for financial stability, Sir Jon Cunliffe, and the Treasury's director general of financial services, Katharine Braddick.

The use of cash in financial transactions has been...

Russia opens up blockchain database with launch of English language version

The Department of Information Technologies of Moscow has made an English language version of Russia’s blockchain knowledge base available on the ICT.Moscow portal.

Aimed at analysts, smart city experts, and developers of blockchain projects, the database currently presents 52 use cases of blockchain in various industries with the fintech and public sector categories featuring the largest number of applications – 16 and 13 respectively.

New use cases will be added...

China’s 14th five-year plan: Blockchain and digital currency part of ‘new infrastructure’ investments

China has referenced blockchain and digital currency technologies in its latest five-year plan.

The 14th iteration of the five-year plan, which is a guiding document for the country’s future social development and economic growth from 2021 to 2025, places significant emphasis on ‘new infrastructure.’

In a chapter called ‘accelerating digitalisation development and building a digital China,’ the government pledged to ‘strengthen the innovative applications of...

Associated Press auctions first NFT artwork commemorating blockchain usage in US election

As non-fungible tokens (NFTs) become an increasingly popular way to create artificial scarcity in the digital marketplace, the Associated Press (AP) has listed its first ever NFT artwork for auction in collaboration with Everipedia and digital artist Marko Stanojevic.

Total sales across NFT marketplaces stood at $500 million (£360m) in February, compared to just $200m (£144m) for the whole of 2020, signifying their increasing popularity due to Bitcoin’s growing value alongside...

Charles Hoskinson, Founder, Cardano: On restoring trust through decentralisation

The Block spoke with Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson about the blockchain industry and restoring trust through decentralisation ahead of the platform’s upcoming launch of smart contracts.

Hoskinson co-founded the current decentralised app platform leader, Ethereum, but left the project following a dispute about accepting venture capital and the need for a more formal governing structure. He went on to found Cardano in 2015 and became the CEO of the project’s main developer,...

NHS works with Hedera Hashgraph and Everyware to monitor Covid-19 vaccine storage

The National Health Service (NHS) is working with Hedera Hashgraph and digital asset tracking and monitoring provider Everyware to monitor cold storage equipment being used to store Covid-19 vaccines.

Certain Covid-19 vaccines, such as the vaccine developed by Pfizer which was approved for use in the UK in December, require exact cold storage for ideal efficacy. Centralised distribution centres and transportation units can store the vaccine at the recommended -70°C for up to 10...

SIMBA Chain secures $1.5 million Navy contract for blockchain demand sensing

SIMBA Chain, an Indiana-based blockchain technology provider, has been awarded a $1.5 million contract from the US Office of Navy Research to 'design and build a blockchain solution to enable demand sensing.'

The contract, which falls under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II branch, will see SIMBA Chain develop a demand sensing solution for the Defense Logistics Agency. Demand sensing is used by the US military to ensure critical replacement parts for weaponry...

Australian Border Force to work with Singapore on blockchain-based cross-border trade

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has launched a trial with Singapore Customs to use blockchain technology for enabling simpler cross-border trade.

The project, alongside Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), will use blockchain to test digital verification systems.

As regular readers of this publication will know, the Australian government has put an extensive roadmap in place to explore how the country can capitalise on blockchain technologies. The...

MIT paper says blockchain may ‘introduce additional problems’ for voting systems

A scathing report from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has noted moving from internet voting to blockchain-based voting may be 'going from bad to worse.'

The paper was authored by Neha Narula, director of MIT's digital currency initiative (DCI), Sunoo Park, Ronald L. Rivest, one of the creators of RSA encryption, and Michael Specter. The authors argued studies were 'inconclusive' with regard to online voting, potentially even increasing...

AP News publishes US presidential election results on blockchain for first time

As votes continue to be counted for the US presidential election - and some parties fear voting fraud - the Associated Press (AP) news agency has been publishing the results on blockchain for the first time.

The publisher is distributing race calls to Wiki-based online encyclopedia Everipedia, which has been using the EOS blockchain to generate edits and store information. Everipedia also looks to use an incentive system by providing editors with cryptocurrency.

In a...