Blockchain and Walmart

In the new year major retailer, Walmart, will test use of blockchain technology.  Specifically blockchain distributed ledgers will be used, and it will be a new advancement for blockchain in a new market.  Learn more about the plans and hopes for the future in the article below.

Walmart Testing Blockchain Technology for Supply Chain Management

 

U.S. retail giant, Walmart, is about to start a major test of blockchain technology for supply chain management, The Wall Street Journal reports. A pilot project, which will start in the first quarter of 2017 and run for four months, plans to leverage distributed ledger technology to track and trace pork in China and produce in the U.S. — two high-volume product categories with large markets.

This will be one of the first major tests of blockchain distributed ledgers outside the financial services industry. According to the WSJ, blockchain technology can help in overcoming delays and errors, resulting in more streamlined and efficient supply chain management. In fact, the supply chain management sector is a prime target for advanced applications of blockchain technology. Among companies in consumer goods and manufacturing, 42 percent plan to spend at least $5 million on blockchain technology in the next year, according to a Deloitte survey.

As explained in a recent Distributed article titled “How Blockchain Technology Is Reinventing Global Trade Efficiency,” the supply chain sector represents billions of dollars in enterprise revenue, but is fraught with losses and inefficiencies resulting from risk, fraud or anachronistic manual paperwork delays.

According to Frank Yiannas, Vice President of Food Safety at Walmart and leader of the blockchain effort, the pilot project will give Walmart a sense of how blockchain technology works and how well it scales. The main challenge, Yiannas explained, is setting up technology for farmers, field workers and others to collect data and insert it onto a blockchain. Innovative data entry tools running on ubiquitous smartphones, with backends in the cloud, are expected to allow field workers to input relevant data to a blockchain ledger that tracks all data, making it accessible “in minutes, rather than days,” Yiannas said, thereby improving Walmart’s supply chain efficiency, identifying bottlenecks and reducing food waste.

The project — a collaboration between Walmart, IBM and Tsinghua University in Beijing — was first unveiled in October, when the project partners claimed they were creating a new model for food traceability, supply chain transparency and auditability. “By harnessing the power of blockchain technology designed to generate transparency and efficiency in supply chain record keeping, this work aims to help enhance the safety of food on the tables of Chinese consumers,” noted an IBM press release. In fact, the pilot project was initially planned to track and trace Chinese pork; U.S. produce was added later.

The technical platform that Walmart will use is based on IBM’s blockchain technology developed for the Linux Foundation, Hyperledger fabric. An open source blockchain technology intended as a foundation for developing blockchain applications, the platform has modular architecture that allows for plug-and-play components, such as smart contract, consensus and membership services. In September, IBM unveiled a collaboration with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), which leverages the same technology to automate and streamline business transactions.

“As advocates of promoting greater transparency in the food system for our customers, we look forward to working with IBM and Tsinghua University to explore how this technology might be used as a more effective food traceability solution,” said Yiannas.

“Advanced technology has reached into so many aspects of modern life but it has lagged in food traceability, and in particular in creating more secure food supply chains. Our collaboration with Walmart and Tsinghua University is a step of global significance to change that,” added Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, Industry Platforms, IBM. “Food touches all of us, everywhere, so we are experimenting in China with Walmart and Tsinghua, given the size and scale of food consumption in this country.”

The Walmart pilot project will use transaction security and authentication technology developed by Tsinghua University, “China’s rapid economic growth has led to massive opportunities for innovation, but it has also presented quality of life challenges, including helping to assure that food sold in the country is safe to eat,” said Tsinghua professor Chai Yueting from the National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies.

Chai added that Tsinghua University is also committed to in-depth research of food safety — one of the most important areas that the world is focusing on. “We believe the work with IBM and Walmart can serve as a global model for others to follow and replicate,” he said.

Article sourced from: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/walmart-testing-blockchain-technology-for-supply-chain-management-1482354996

Improving Your Bitcoin Security

As 2016 comes to an end and a new year begins, you will notice market and economic changes take place as they do with any new year.  Currently Bitcoin prices are on the rise.  If you want to protect your share use the tips in the article below.  You can never be too secure.

How Not to Lose Your Bitcoin in 2017

(@pamelawjd) | Published on December 28, 2016 at 12:58 GMT

2017 is almost here and the bitcoin price is surging!

Are you surprised by how much your bitcoin is worth? Don’t let that surprise turn to dismay by losing it. Now is the perfect time to take a few basic precautions to keep your cryptocurrency secure.

Here are 8 do-it-yourself tips to help you improve your security:

1. Backup today

You can never say it enough: back up your wallet. If you haven’t yet backed up your wallet, do it now.

Most hardware and software wallets use an industry standard backup protocol called BIP 39 that allows your wallet backup to be 12, 18, or 24 English words.

It’s important to write the words down, on paper, in order, and securely store the backup somewhere safe from people, water and fire. If you don’t back up your wallet, you could well lose your bitcoin. Forever.

2. Check on your backups

If you have backed up your wallet, check on the backup locations.

The new year is a perfect time to check on your important papers, including your wallet backups. Can you still access them? Can you still read the words? Are they secure from fire, water and theft? If you’ve given the backups to someone else (lawyer, accountant), ask them to check their storage.

Do they still have them? Verify the location and security of your backups.

3. Set a calendar reminder

While we all know we should be checking our backups, wallets and estate plans regularly, it’s hard to remember to do it.

Add a reminder to your calendar now, to check all these things again in three, six or at most 12 months.

4. Move money off your smartphone

With the increase in the bitcoin price, you might be shocked at how much money you’ve been carrying around on your smartphone.

Now is a great time to move your coins onto a hardware wallet or into cold storage. Hardware wallets are very easy to use, with user-friendly software components, and are considered one of the safest ways to store bitcoin.

While it’s great to carry petty cash or spending money on your phone, never carry more bitcoin on your smartphone than you would carry as cash in your wallet.

5. Move your money off exchanges

If you have coins sitting on an exchange, move them out today to a wallet you control.

Most of the popular exchanges pool coins and while you have a “balance” showing on your account, you do not actually control the keys. If the exchange gets hacked you could lose your money. Remember that you only control the bitcoin if you control the keys: “not your keys, not your bitcoin”.

6. Upgrade to two-factor authentication

Add two-factor authentication to your bitcoin-related accounts and to all other important online accounts. The best two-factor solution is a hardware token and you can buy one for just $20–$30.

Otherwise use a smartphone authentication app, such as Authy or Google Authenticator. SMS is not a very good two-factor solution, though it is still better than none at all.

7. Use a password manager

Humans are great at identifying patterns and that makes us terrible at randomness. Password best practices – choose a different random password for each site, never write them down – pose management problems.

For most people, the only way to accomplish this is to use a password manager – one which generates and stores your passwords securely on multiple devices. Popular managers include 1Password, LastPass, and the open source KeePass.

Many offer free basic services, with premium services costing less than $80 per year. They’re easy to use and in just a couple of weeks you’ll never want to be without one again.

8. Plan for your family

If something happened to you tomorrow would your family be able to access your bitcoin? While this tip takes time to implement, it’s worth it.

It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to make a plan and decide who you want to get what, write down instructions and tell your family about your plan.

Be sure to consult an attorney, to make sure your plan is consistent with local law and can’t be challenged in a court. If you have a will, trust, or other estate plan, let your attorney know that you have new assets that need to be included in your plan.

Getting your first bitcoin is becoming easier and easier, but keeping it safe from hackers, insolvent exchanges, and loss isn’t as easy.

These 8 tips will help you bring in the new year with a renewed sense of confidence that you can safeguard the bitcoin that you have, especially now that it’s worth a lot more.

Have an opinion on blockchain in 2016? A prediction for 2017? Email editors@coindesk.com to learn how you can contribute to our series.

Keys image via Shutterstock

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, CoinDesk.

 

Article sourced from: http://www.coindesk.com/how-not-to-lose-your-bitcoin-in-2017/