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Blockchain

The world’s financial system is going through a lot of changes today. You must have felt its heat during the crashes of the crypto market, or through the promises of blockchain applications. It’s not new, and it all began almost a decade ago. Most of us were unaware of this ongoing revolution but, there are few, who looked under the hood, and became contributors to this world-changing technology. 


In an interview, Andres Zunino, COO of ZirconTech, told that he and his team were looking for innovative ideas to invest in since 2013, and at the end of 2015, they finally found blockchain, as their worthy candidate. They wanted to build something on top of this emerging technology and chose the blockchain insurance application, which later got presented at a prestigious blockchain competition.


As you may have heard time to time, our current financial infrastructure is “centralized” and has a lot of problems and loopholes in it. There are people who abuse their power, systems that fail from time to time, countless scams, public frauds, and a lot more day-to-day hassles that consumers go through. What if we tell you that we can replace each and every segment of this huge system with blockchain technology, and you will never see such problems ever again!


We have a long way to go but, it is possible. Let us elaborate …


Blockchain Explained


What is Blockchain?


The applications of blockchain can be tricky and difficult to understand, but its underlying concept is pretty simple. According to CB Insightsdefinition, “Blockchain technology offers a way for untrusted parties to reach consensus on a common digital history”.


You might ask, how can I trust this so-called common digital history? What if it has tampered with?


The reason people trust this common ledger is that it lives on the blockchain, which makes it unhackable. This is the beauty of this technology, where it shines the most. It provides immutability, transparency, and, of course, decentralization. 


Nobody can tamper with its data or took over the control because blockchain’s architecture distributes “data and control” over a network of computers (also called nodes). Changing data on one or a few nodes will not affect the entire blockchain, and hence the modified or malicious transaction will not be approved, assuring the integrity of the data. This way, it protects its assets and the credibility of transactions happening all around the world.



In comparison to this decentralized mechanism, centralized storage systems are highly vulnerable because there is a single point of failure. One misconfigured security setting can collapse the databases and the entire system of control. Unlike blockchain, there is no way for us to trust that all the transactions are valid in a centralized infrastructure. We just have to believe that the transaction history is not yet hacked. 


In addition to the inherent security feature that decentralization provides, blockchain uses cryptographic hashing techniques to protect the personal information on the network. Only the right person with a valid private key can access certain associated information, and no one else.


Example Usecase


Let’s take an example to understand how a typical currency transaction takes place:


Say there are two parties, Alice (the sender) and Bob (the receiver).  Both, Alice and Bob, have their respective wallets, and each wallet has 2 keys, one public key, and one private key. 


Supposing that initially both have zero funds in their wallets and Alice wants to send 1 ETH to Bob. To do so, she accesses her wallet using her private key and initializes the funds from, let’s say, the bank. To receive the payment, Bob provides his wallet’s public key to Alice to use as an address. Alice can now initiate the transfer and once the transaction is completed, updated funds get reflected in Bob’s wallet. 


In this process, there is a small gas fee involved. That means, to transfer exactly 1 ETH to Bob, Alice needs to pay some extra fee on top of the principal amount. This fee is necessary to power the blockchain network. It serves as an incentive for the miners who use their computational power to validate transactions.


Mining and its Mechanism


Mining is the process of adding new coins into circulation and it is also important for the maintenance and development of the blockchain ledger. Miners provide their enormous computational power to solve an abstract mathematical equation, a cryptographic hash generated by each transaction. For every valid transaction that is solved, a new block is added to the blockchain. The hash value of this freshly generated block is dependent on the hash value of its previous block and the details of the transaction. This is called the “proof-of-work” mechanism, on which most of the famous cryptocurrencies operate, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc …


So as you can see, in the whole process, there is no centralized entity involved who is making the decisions. It is a self-sustaining system that can power the entire financial system of the planet.


Cryptocurrencies: The Bloodline of Decentralized Applications



According to Investopedia, a cryptocurrency, as the name suggests, is a cryptographically secured virtual/digital currency that is impossible to counterfeit or double spend. Usually, it is based on blockchain technology, which is simply a distributed ledger. No government or central authority has controls over it, and it is famous for its portability, transparency, and inflation resistance quality.


There are different types of cryptocurrencies present in the market, bitcoin being the most famous among all. Bitcoin is considered the father of all cryptocurrencies and every other variant comes under the category of “Altcoins”. Combinedly, the value of all cryptocurrencies adds up to 1.5 trillion dollars (USD), where BTC captures more than ⅗ of the market.


So let’s have a look at the top cryptocurrencies in the market:-


Bitcoin


Back in 2009, a mysterious person with the pseudonym, “Satoshi Nakamoto”, released a whitepaper containing a revolutionizing concept, which later resulted in the creation of Bitcoin. That whitepaper came with the promise of lower transaction fees than the traditional payment gateways which were controlled by the banks and huge private organizations. It offered a decentralized solution to the banking that nobody controls, an incorruptible infrastructure, that can power the global financial markets.


Consequently, Bitcoin became super popular and it triggered the development of hundreds of other cryptocurrencies. Today, it is often abbreviated as BTC in the trading markets and referred to as “digital gold”.


Ethereum


Like Bitcoin, it is also a blockchain platform, with the associated currency called Ether (or ETH). Currently, It is also working on the proof-of-work concept and they’re planning to shift it to a proof-of-stake mechanism in later 2022. The new version will be called Ethereum 2.0. 


This blockchain is famous among decentralized application developers because it allows them to deploy smart contracts using the Solidity programming language. In terms of market value, it is around 266.83 Billion dollars in capital, right next to Bitcoin. Most of the tokens that you see on the exchanges are built on top of Ethereum, which powers a variety of DApps (Decentralized Applications) in the industry.


Stablecoins


Stablecoins is a category of cryptocurrency that aims to provide a stable market price on the exchanges. Unlike their other volatile counterparts, they are backed by some reserved assets, called collateralization, so their value is derived from an external reference. For example, a stablecoin can be pegged with the US Dollar, or with some commodity like gold.


Examples of Stablecoins include, 


  • Tether (USDT)
  • Binance USD (BUSD)
  • True USD (TUSD)
  • Paxos Standard (PAX), also knows as PAX Gold

Altcoins


The term, Altcoin, refers to every cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin. It is a combination of 2 words, “Alt” and “Coin”. Stablecoins, utility tokens, security tokens, etc…, all come under this category. 


Collectively, Altcoins captures around 2/5th of the total cryptocurrency market, with more than 9000 variants listed on the exchanges. As of March 2021, ETH and BNB had the largest market capitalization and they’re still growing. This term will most probably refer to the mining-based cryptocurrencies only, in the future, as we move towards other than proof-of-work-based technologies.


How to become a Blockchain Company?



Implementing Smart Contracts


Smart Contracts are the programs that are deployed on the blockchain network. They get executed when some predetermined conditions are met, for example, to automate a legal agreement or a financial transaction. Smart contracts are being popularly used in certain Voting Systems, Financial Services, Healthcare, etc …


Since they don’t need any intermediary, malpractices by third parties can be avoided and the whole process can be automated, saving a lot of business hours. Apart from that, all the documents are backed up automatically and the strong encryption of the blockchain algorithm takes care of the safety from any kind of infiltration.


ICOs: Initial Coin Offering


ICO is the new IPO, but with much less hassle.


The term ICO stands for “Initial Coin Offering”. It is similar to a real-world IPO (Initial Public Offering) of the company but, it happens entirely on a blockchain network. It is mainly used by technical people for raising funds for decentralized projects that have some potential in the future.


In the interview, Andres Zunino briefly pointed out his initial struggles as, 


“We needed to dedicate a lot of effort to research, test, and develop competencies. We are happy with the point reached today thanks to the initial funding, the support from the Research and Innovation Agency in Uruguay, and all the dedicated effort”


Today, several startups are opting for ICOs for fundraising, instead of sharing a piece of their company with venture capitalists. Launching an ICO requires only two things: a spectacular announcement, and a digital campaign. In return for the money that is invested, the blockchain company provides utility tokens, that can be used in the future for using their decentralized service.


NFTs: Non-Fungible Tokens


NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. In layman’s terms, non-fungibility means unique and irreplaceable. Unlike a normal currency, which is fungible, NFTs derive their value from their uniqueness and scarcity in the market.


All the currencies that you see in the market are fungible, including Bitcoin, Ether, etc… Theoretically, a 10 dollar bill in my pocket is equivalent to a 10 dollar bill in your pocket. This is called being fungible. But in the case of NFT, an original digital asset, say any artwork, cannot be replaced by a replica of the same, despite being exactly identical. NFTs provide a stamp of originality that cannot be corrupted.


You would not pay the same price for a Mona Lisa’s duplicate, as you would pay for the original one, however real it may look. Would you?


If you want an in-depth understanding of NFTs, we highly recommend this article.



Blockchain-based ID Protection


Today, blockchain technology has made Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) possible. The ideology behind this is to give control to the individuals over the usage of their identity. This means you can register yourself, with the accurate details, on an unalterable decentralized database and use the generated unique identity hash to represent yourself online. In comparison to the centralized identity management systems, it is much more secure and reliable. This technology has the potential to completely change the way how we interact with different online services.


DeFi: Decentralized Finance


Decentralized Finance refers to a new financial system that is transparent and gives control to the user over his/her accounts. It provides you with the option to interact with the global markets using alternate currencies, instead of using government-issued fiat. As of now, tens of billions of dollars have been pumped into it via cryptocurrencies and it’s still growing. Anyone with an internet connection can use these services, and no one can deny access to them or choke your payments. No human errors are possible in these self-sustaining systems, which makes them much faster than their traditional counterparts.


Fact: A group of crypto-enthusiasts in Argentina used DeFi to escape inflation.


Associated risks with Crypto


Extremely Volatile Market Prices


If you have been crypto-trading for some time, then you know what we’re talking about. There is great instability in the prices of crypto due to its unregulated nature, which makes them extremely high-risk investment tools. You need to understand it deeply before jumping into the sea of crypto. Currently, the market sentiment for cryptocurrencies is very uncertain, which leads to sharp and unexpected price movements frequently. 


To keep your portfolio in crypto, you need a strong risk appetite.


Vulnerable Smart Contracts


Smart contracts are self-executing, unalterable, autonomous programs that live on the blockchain networks. In the land of decentralized applications, smart contracts give birth to the philosophy, “Code is Law”. But, is it a good thing or a bad thing? If there is a vulnerability or loophole in a smart contract, then exploiting it is acceptable or not? Is it any different from the situation where a lawyer bends the law to suit his client? It’s an ongoing debate in the crypto community with no clear answer.


Smart contracts that power DApps are difficult, or sometimes impossible, to change once they’re deployed on the network. So if any mistakes are made, then you’ll have to deploy it again before it’s too late. That’s why rigorous testing of all the external functions of a contract is quintessential.


On 20th July 2016, the original Ethereum Blockchain Network was hacked due to a small vulnerability in a smart contract, which enabled hackers to siphon off almost 33% of the funds to a subsidiary account. To restore all the funds, the Ethereum community hard-forked a new branch and essentially had to split Ethereum into two. The original Ethereum continued as “Ethereum Classic”, whereas the new, unhacked, branch is now called “Ethereum”.



Lost Cold Storage


The term, Cold Storage, refers to the offline crypto wallet that is not connected or dependent on an internet connection. This protects it from all kinds of cyberattacks, hacks, and vulnerabilities that a normal online digital wallet possesses. But, its prime advantage is also its worst disadvantage. There have been several cases in the past, that you might’ve heard of, where the owner has lost large sums of crypto in his/her cold storage which now worth millions of dollars.


Government Restrictions


Without a doubt, we’re in the middle of a crypto-revolution and most of the countries acknowledge this fact. Today, governments all around the world are working on “regulating” the usage of cryptocurrencies and making and modifying constitutional laws for this new financial system. The pros of this technology outweigh the cons, hence, accepting this change is their best move.


But unfortunately, there are countries like Iran, Bolivia, North Macedonia, etc… that do not see the good side of implementing cryptocurrencies. They have restricted its usage and declared it illegal in their jurisdiction. Hence the development of Blockchain technology is difficult, if not impossible, in those parts of the world. And for blockchain-based companies, it presents a new challenge when they try to go global.


Why should you care about this transformation?


The world is transforming rapidly, faster than ever. Businesses and organizations are automating their transactions with blockchain networks, and rebuilding their services in a decentralized manner. 


Andres describes the usage of blockchain technology  as, “Dramatically simplifies financial processes, being a self-maintained network that substantially increases the security and efficiency of transactions.”


This dramatic shift towards crypto is due to the increase in public awareness. People now know about all the benefits that decentralization provides and why it’s necessary. If your business does not adapt according to this changing digital landscape, it will soon be ex-communicated and vanished.



In the interview also, Andres mentioned the increasing awareness over there as:


“In Uruguay, the blockchain movement really started this year [2017], because several people started to talk about it and because IBM is pushing a lot the IBM Hyperledger blockchain services.”


On the personal level, he and his team started contributing ever before that: Andres said, “it was Alejandro who started the Blockchain meetups in Montevideo in 2015”!


The rate of social adoption and technological advancements in this field are exponential and the future applications of blockchain are beyond our imagination. If implemented correctly, it provides you with impenetrable security and an inherent data backup system. You can leverage other DeFi services and present new and exciting features to your customers. You can sell utility tokens or security tokens that can help you in fundraising and power your platform. 


With so many things going on, one thing is absolutely certain, that blockchain isn’t going anywhere soon. Either welcome it with open arms or be left out.


How to incorporate a blockchain-based solution into your existing infrastructure?


Adding new payment gateways for crypto


There are numerous crypto payment gateways out there, but BTC is still considered and accepted as the standard form of receiving payment. There are several bitcoin payment gateways in the market, like Coinbase, Coingate, CoinsBank, etc …, that provide you with all the integration facilities that you’ll need. 


By adding these payment gateways, you can attract new customer segments that prefer cryptocurrencies over fiat. Also, if you happen to provide a sensitive service, where confidentiality is the key, then integration of such crypto payment gateways is the perfect choice for you.



Creating Smart contracts


We know, that for most businesses, automating everything with smart contracts is near impossible. It is also true that not everything can be automated through smart contracts. But, there are areas in any organization that can benefit from such automation. Like several legal aspects that follow a fixed standard procedure, or business logic that can be encoded for faster execution. To develop and deploy smart contracts within your blockchain company, coders and business experts must join their hands and work together.


In regards to the success of smart contracts, Andres believes in the power of Ethereum, since it is the most popular blockchain network where smart contracts are deployed. 


“As long as the community continues to develop in Ethereum, it will be required ethers so that the smart contracts can be executed by the nodes, and therefore will have demand.”


Conclusion


Throughout the article, we explained blockchain, how it works, what are its application, what are the risks involved, and how you can incorporate blockchain solutions into your existing business infrastructure. We also saw that Andres and his team were talking about this revolution long before it became trendy in the eyes of the commonwealth. In the realm of technology, first movers always get the advantage, but it’s not too late. Now it’s up to you to use this information and create something valuable.


YOU CAN BE INTERESTED IN THESE ARTICLES TOO:
1. Benefits of Notarization with Blockchain
2. Smart Contracts with blockchain: Monax success story
3. Smart contracts with blockchain: Clause.io business case

About ZirconTech: A trusted partner that helps organizations thrive in their digital transformations. Mobility, Internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY AND HAZARDOUS WASTE: THE ECUADORIAN ASSOCIATION OF LUBRICANTS (APEL) IMPLEMENTS SMART CONTRACTS

Aware that used lubricants are waste considered dangerous at a global level and that their disposal generates negative impacts on the environment, the companies of the Ecuadorian Association of Lubricants -APEL launched in April 2021 a program for the collection and comprehensive management of this waste. APEL turned to SUSCRIBO and the use of smart digital contracts to quickly formalize its commitments with suppliers and customers and automate tasks.

The program, called RECOIL (www.recoil.ec), which also includes the collection of containers, meets the “Instructions for the Comprehensive Management of Used Lubricating Oils and Containers” issued by the Ministry of the Environment and with the Ecuadorian Environmental Code.

RECOIL supposes the financing of environmental actions by incorporating an economic value called ECOVALOR, in the invoices for each gallon of lubricant sold by the participants in the Program. Each month, on the basis of official information that the companies in the sector report to the National Hydrocarbons Authority, RECOIL will settle, invoice and charge each participant the total ECOVALOR that corresponds to pay, which will finance the collection and management of the waste in question throughout the Ecuadorian territory.

To achieve the launch of its Program, APEL resorted to SUBSCRIBO and the use of smart digital contracts to quickly formalize its commitments with suppliers and customers and automate tasks.

Between March 03 and 12, APEL signed adhesion contracts with all the companies that participate in the RECOIL program, that is, 18 digital contracts in 9 days, something unthinkable in the use of traditional paper contracts.

Likewise, it signed a cooperation agreement with the main used lubricant management company in the country, BIOFACTOR, so that it can carry out the management of collection-land transport, temporary storage and treatment of waste. In addition, APEL hired SAMBITO, a leading company in environmental services consulting and technology for the development of SAAS that allows RECOIL to integrate the entire chain of management of used oils and packaging, in accordance with the traceability requirements contained in the applicable regulations.

With MONAX (www.monax.io) technology, marketed by SUSCRIBO (www.suscribo.com), APEL – RECOIL perfected the contracts in which it launches its circular economy model in the lubricants sector in 2021. The contracts signed with BIOFACTOR, SAMBITO and all the companies in the sector, like the other contracts to be signed, are therefore using a unique combination of blockchain technology and process modeling, to give security, transparency, analytics and above all life to the contracts integrating with other business processes. Initially, this consists of the automatic calculation of the ECOVALOR to be settled by each company, based on the volume of its commercialization reported to the authority, as well as the automatic production of invoices and their subsequent collection. In addition to this, each contract includes notices, milestones for the fulfillment of obligations and notifications.

For the first time in the history of the region, as perhaps the world, a circular economy model on hazardous waste is formalized so quickly and is managed through smart contracts, allowing cutting of costs, time and physical contact in contractual processes and of business.

This work is derived from SUSCRIBO-Contratos Digitales and ZirconTech strategic alliance to work on developing smart contract solutions in Latin America (https://zircon.tech/blog/smart-contract-alliance/).

About APEL:

The Ecuadorian Association of Lubricants -APEL- is a non-profit corporation that represents importing, producing and exporting lubricant companies domiciled in Ecuador. Among the brands represented in APEL are world leaders such as Castrol, Valvoline, Havoline, Texaco, Terpel, General Motors, Golden Bear, Kendall, PDV (Citgo in USA), Total, Caterpillar. In addition to supplying more than 90% of the Ecuadorian market, APEL companies export to the region, so their corporate leadership has international projection.

On the smart digital contracting functionalities capitalized by APEL:

Both the participants of the RECOIL program as well as BIOFACTOR and SAMBITO will have at their disposal 24 hours a day the attached documents and signed contracts, safely archived in the blockchain, they will obtain key analytics on compliance with contractual obligations, they will receive notices and notifications about key dates such as billing, payments, renewal, termination and even the schedule of activities, to ensure compliance and avoid delays in managing paper contracts. In other words, each time a clause programmed in the contract must be complied with, the parties will receive an email as a reminder for its effective implementation. In a second phase, automation will be gradually added to the digital contracts already signed until the ECOVALOR report and monthly settlement trigger billing and collections without human intervention. This second phase should be completed by December 2021.

References:

Ecuador promotes a circular economy model for its used lubricating oils – RECOIL

https://www.ambiente.gob.ec/ecuador-impulsa-un-modelo-de-economia-circular-para-sus-aceites-lubricantes-usados-recoil/

‘RECOIL’, FIRST CIRCULAR ECONOMY INITIATIVE FOR AUTOMOTIVE OILS IN ECUADOR

https://gycomunicaciones.blogspot.com/2021/04/recoil-primera-iniciativa-de-economia.html

First circular economy initiative for automotive oils in Ecuador

https://entretenidosec.com/primera-iniciativa-de-economia-circular-para-aceites-automotrices-en-ecuador/

SUSCRIBO-Contratos Digitales and ZirconTech announce a strategic alliance to work on developing smart contract solutions in Latin America.

https://zircon.tech/blog/smart-contract-alliance/

About ZirconTech: A trusted partner that helps organizations thrive in their digital transformations. Mobility, Internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.

NFT; NFT meaning; non fungible tokens; what are nfts; NFT explained

Although the first NFT was created and shown to the world by Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash on May 3, 2014, at a conference at the New Museum in New York City, NFTs have recently obtained notoriety because they are becoming an attractive way to buy and sell assets as digital artwork. Since November 2017, an incredible 174 million dollars has been spent on NFT.

A group of experts thinks they’re a bubble that will pop, but others believe NFTs are changing the way people are investing and that they are here to stay. There are many questions about NFT, and we will analyze this fantastic world in this article.

What Are NFTs?

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital assets representing real-world objects like photos, videos, audio, in-game items, and many other types of digital files. They can be bought, sold online, and they are usually encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptocurrencies.

Unlike most digital creations that are almost always infinite in supply, NFTs are usually one of a kind or one of a minimal run and have unique identifying codes. NFTs allow buyers to own the original item, and they contain built-in authentication, which serves as proof of ownership. Sometimes those “digital rights” value relatively more than the item itself.

YOU CAN BE INTERESTED IN THESE ARTICLES TOO:
1. Benefits of Notarization with Blockchain
2. Smart Contracts with blockchain: Monax success story
3. Smart contracts with blockchain: Clause.io business case

How NFT Works?

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are single tokens encrypted on the blockchain network. NFTs function like cryptographic tokens, but unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, NFTs are not interchangeable or not fungible. The most crucial feature of NFTs is that they certify unique and proprietary assets that cannot be changed.

NFTs use Blockchain infrastructure to manage digital storage of any kind of visual, audio, or written works. Most of them are part of the Ethereum blockchain that supports NFTs. We can say that an NFT is unique because it is tied to the token. NFTs have metadata processed through an algorithm that computes a unique string of letters and numbers called the “cryptographic hash function.” 

Examples of NFTs

The scope of the NFT covers anything that is unique and requires demonstrable ownership. Although the NFT world is relatively new, today can find different kinds of examples of NFTs such as:

Unique Digital Artwork

Foundation helps creators to auction their unique digital artwork as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. With their bids, collectors feed a new system of value for online expression. NFTs are helping artists, musicians, and all kinds of digital creators to invent a new cultural paradigm. 

The Future of Collectible Sneakers

The X Evolutions is a next-gen sneakers studio creating the future of collectible sneakers for the metaverse. It is a project by RTFKT studios created in collaboration with the Artist MGXS. This design is unique and will never be made again. The Sneaker will be “hypercrafted” by the expert RTFKT team with premium leather and materials.

A Fully Decentralized Virtual World 

DAO stands for “Decentralized Autonomous Organization,” and it is the first fully decentralized virtual world. Thanks to the NFT technology, users can control these virtual spaces. Through the DAO, the community will propose and vote on policy updates. Users are in control of the policies designed to determine how the world behaves.

What Is the Point of an NFT?

NFTs are getting very popular in the art world because an NFT allows the buyer to own the original item. It contains built-in authentication, which serves as proof of ownership. These kinds of features are very valuable for both artists and collectors. 

Since the minting artist is always listed as the original owner of the digital artwork linked to the NFT, it provides clear and unique evidence of ownership and authorship by the artist. It is essential to clarify that minting authenticates an item on Ethereum’s blockchain by assigning a token like a digital record.

Fungible And Non-Fungible Tokens

The comparison between Fungible Vs. Non-Fungible Token is a critical aspect that can define the future of the blockchain ecosystem. NFTs provide a clear improvement over fungible tokens in terms of security and immutability. 

As a new technology, ordinary users may have difficulty trusting NFTs, although they have a broader acceptance in the blockchain ecosystem with prominent arts and gaming applications. 

The Different between Fungible And Non-Fungible Tokens

For fungible tokens such as Bitcoin, fungibility is scripted in the code of the cryptocurrency. A fungible good is standardized, and the units of fungible goods don’t have any uniqueness.

In contrast, NFT features unique features that indicate restrictions for replacing or exchanging it with an identical token. Therefore, NFTs serve as a unique token variant without any interchangeability with other tokens. 

NFTs are different from cryptocurrencies because they don’t have any inherent value, and they receive discounts from the assets or goods represented by them. 

What Are Fungible Tokens?

One of the most known types of tokens is fungible tokens. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are fungible tokens, which means that each cryptocurrency unit is the same as any other. For a token to be helpful as a currency, it needs to be indistinguishable from the other tokens in the same ecosystem.

For example, Bitcoins aren’t more valuable or rarer than others. If you own one unit of Bitcoin, it doesn’t matter which exact Bitcoin you own. These tokens are interchangeable and indistinguishable like regular government-issued money. 

What Are Non-Fungible Tokens?

The other most known types of tokens are non-fungible tokens. Non-fungible means that each token is unique, and there’s no standard value for a token. Each token represents unique, distinct ownership information. So you can’t necessarily exchange one token for another equally. 

Non-fungible tokens are adequate when we need to prove ownership or identity. They belong to a completely different protocol for their creation than fungible tokens. Non-fungible tokens are different from their fungible counterparts, even on the basis of the source code. For instance, in Ethereum, fungible tokens follow the protocols ERC-20, while non-fungible tokens follow ERC-721. 

NFT and the Ethereum Blockchain

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are tokens secured by blockchains such as Ethereum, they can only have one official owner at a time, and no one can modify the record of ownership. Users can use NTFs to represent ownership of unique items like pieces of art, collectibles, and even real estate. 

NFTs are powered by smart contracts on the blockchain. They provide content creators more power than ever before, and they are a way to represent any kind of unique digital artwork.

The Internet of Assets

One of the significant problems on the internet today is that as everything becomes more and more digital, there’s a need to identify physical things like uniqueness and proof of ownership. NFTs can solve this kind of problem by giving the user tools to represent ownership of unique items. 

Today, a copy of a file, like a .mp3 or .jpg, is the same as the original. But as NFTs are digitally unique and no two NFTs are the same, users can generate ownership for different files without the possibility of copying or plagiarism.

Another example is that today the ownership records of digital items are stored on servers controlled by institutions. But with the use of non-fungible tokens, every NFT must have an owner, and it is indeed a public record and very simple for anyone to verify.

Are NFTs Only on Ethereum?

The NFT market value tripled in 2020, reaching more than $250 million, and there has been increased interest in using NFTs In 2021. NFTs are now being used to commodify digital assets in art, sports, music, and other mass-market items. 

Most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain, but other blockchains can implement their versions of NFTs. Blockchains like Tezos and Flow have their standards when it comes to supporting NFTs. Each of these works to ensure that the digital item represented is authentically unique. 

What Is a Digital Collectible?

NFT identifies a one-of-a-kind item that only exists in the digital world and a new form of digital collectible that is making the online world go wild. Recently digital artists, musicians, and even food franchises have sold NFTs for millions of dollars.

Unlike real-world originals, which need to be verified by an auction house or expert, ownership and authenticity of NFTs are public and provable thanks to the blockchain, the same technology that powers cryptocurrencies.

We need to keep in mind that NFTs can also lose their value. There are marketplaces If you want to check out some NFT’s. OpenSea is one of the biggest online marketplaces for them.

NFTs and Their Value

The value of a particular NFT can be calculated differently depending on the asset that the NFT represents. Therefore, investors can use this framework to evaluate if an NFT is worth investing in, and developers can consider different ways to increase the value of NFTs to bring users and investors. The main point of all this is that NFTs create multiple new ways for values to be created for both developers and asset owners.

Another critical point of this new NFT Era is that any creator can tokenize its work to sell it as an NFT. But the recent extraordinary interest in NFTs has been fed by headlines of multi-million-dollar sales. For instance, an animated Nyan Cat GIF ─a 2011 meme of a flying pop-tart cat─  was sold at auction for $587,000 in cryptocurrency last 19 February.

Why Buy NFT?

Miami-based art collector Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile told Insider that “People have long used art to store value. Crypto extends easily into digital art. It is just a more modern approach to investing in art and using it like someone would use gold or bitcoin.”

Fraile thinks about NFT as a product of the tech boom that was accelerated by the pandemic. Although, younger generations would have eventually pushed it anyway. 

The recent NTFs multi-million dollar sales have captured the spotlight and produced a gold rush for many artists in the music industry. But from the buyer’s point of view, they can be motivated to buy NFTs because it provides a different connection to the creator that hasn’t existed till the moment with any other art form.

How to invest in NFTs?

Users can do whatever they want with NFTs, just like physical goods. But unlike material goods, NFTs have exciting new attributes such as uniqueness, scarceness, usability across multiple applications, and they can be managed with all the programmability of digital assets.

OpenSea, Mintable, and Raible are among the leading marketplace to buy, sell, and discover exclusive new digital assets. OpenSea is building an open digital economy for new digital goods such as Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs. 

Founded in 2017, OpenSea has 113K users, 477K collections, 15.3M NFTs, and over $354 million in trading volume. They are the first and largest marketplace for user-owned digital goods, including digital art, collectibles, gaming items, domain names, and other securely backed blockchain technology assets.

NFTs and Smart Contracts

Mark Cuban is an American successful entrepreneur and investor that has found many ways to invest in NFTs. He said he is excited about the Smart Contracts contained in NFTs. This means that a creator can get royalties when an NFT is resold, which Cuban describes as a “game-changer.”

Since the launch of the Ethereum blockchain in 2015, the term “Smart Contract” has been applied explicitly toward the notion of operation that takes place on a blockchain. Smart Contracts are sometimes called self-executing contracts. They are programs that are stored on the Ethereum blockchain ledger, and that will execute the clauses automatically. 

Cuban believes that the collectible NFTs we’re witnessing now is only the beginning. There’s plenty of business applications that have yet to unfold. NFTs could be an exciting way to collect when you’re a collector. NFTs are improving all the time the way users buy, store, and display.

Which Is the Most Expensive NFT Ever Sold?

2021 will be remembered as the year in which NFT comes to public knowledge. This is because the crypto community has shown great excitement to invest in NFTs such as images, collectibles, songs, GIFs, and even Memes. We are witnessing the creation of a brand new form of digital assets industry in the last few months.

Michael Joseph Winkelmann, known as Beeple, is an American digital artist known for creating clever works with social and political commentary and using pop culture figures as references. Beeple was not that much popular until last year, but he had recently sold one of the most expensive NFT artwork on the market. 

“Everydays: the First 5000 Days.”  is a massive compilation of the first 5000 digital arts by Beeple that had been sold by the astonishing sum of  $69.3 million in an auction that took place at Christie’s. Although the bidding started at $100, it is incredible that it soon raised and was sold at $69.3 million. 

The Future of Art & Entertainment with NFT

The actual NFT ecosystem is vast, diverse, and is constantly growing. Christie’s partnership with Beeple is one of many examples of a company branching out from traditional to more innovative markets as Non-Fungible Tokens are gradually going mainstream. 

As NFTs are revolutionizing how artists sell and trade their work, these creators show how brands can enter the world of decentralization of NFTs. Right now, a significant number of new businesses are finding innovative uses for NFTs in many different areas such as art marketplaces, virtual worlds, decentralized finance, NFTs for physical collectibles, and many others.

What Brands Need To Know about NFT

According to Forbes, fashion and entertainment will be the Holy Grail on the blockchain. We can see how users are reselling or trading digital items right now. But maybe soon, we could be able to outfit our avatars and digital homes on the blockchain. 

The Argentinian designer Andrés Reisinger recently sold ten pieces of virtual furniture on Nifty Gateway. These pieces can be placed in any open-world like Minecraft, Somnium Space, Decentraland, and others. The most expensive of these ten pieces of virtual furniture was sold for almost $70,000. 

Karinna Nobbs, the co-founder of THE DEMATERIALISED, says that brands need to be conscious of several things when selling fashion via NFTs: “There is a first-mover advantage right now as there are so few fashion brand NFTs in the marketplace, so the first advice is to experiment, jump in early to this nascent market and it will get you higher media/social exposure and will bring you new audiences.” 

“Choose to release limited-edition iconic pieces with a design signature that a brand is known and recognized for to harness scarcity and drive demand, as well as partner with a marketplace and blockchain provider that has an easy-to-use UI and UX – especially if you are trying to convert the regular fashion consumer, as for many this would probably be their first fashion NFT journey,” said Nobbs. 

NFTs and Crypto-Art

Crypto-Art is not much different from any other type of digital art. But Crypto-Art is treated like physical art because it can hold verified ownership of the piece of art indeed.  

Crypto-Art gives the creator and the buyer the capacity to verify an original painting using a Non-Fungible Token, just like physical art can be authenticated. 

NFT technology uses a unique token that is a unique ID linked to a piece of Crypto-Art that is used to verify ownership of a piece and cannot be replicated. So the creator can use this ID to any kind of media file. 

The specific token proves ownership of the ‘original’ file, and it is stored on a Blockchain that can be read but not modified. From then on, the blockchain is used to verify proof of ownership of a digital asset. 

How Are NFTs Creating More Equity for Artists?

Some artists are beginning to experiment with Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), looking for ways to benefit them from financial and legal systems that habitually favor dealers and collectors.

Recently artists are starting to understand the benefits of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) on their artwork and how financially viable NFTs can add value to an artists’ work. 

NFTs have tremendous potential, ensuring royalties for artists when a gallery resells an artwork. Artists can also use Smart Contracts to distribute percentages of sales between the different workers in the galleries. 

NFTs can help artists using technology to circumvent the traditional art market altogether. Most of the recent sales of artworks with NFTs have been made on platforms such as Foundation by individual artists without gallery representation. 

One of the main points of this technology for artists is its potential to make the back-end business of studio inventory and gallery sales contracts more transparent. Another innovative use of NFT can be to build micro-investment for creative projects that are difficult to fund with traditional methods. 

The Future of NFTs

NFTs can create new business models that didn’t exist in the past. For instance, artists can add stipulations to an NFT to ensure they get fair profits every time their artworks are resold. This way, artists can achieve something unthought till now, and they can benefit if their work increases in value. 

Another example of this technology is that art platforms can demonstrate they own the digital works they claim to have. The NFT will always ensure that ownership is authentic when customers purchase art from the platform and guarantee no problems with copyright or originality.

When it comes to Sports Memorabilia, a significant part of these items are thought to be fake. NFTs can help overcome this copying problem by giving these items a clear transaction history back to their creator. In the music industry, NFTs can provide musicians the potential to produce enhanced media for their fans. 

But the potential of Non-Fungible Tokens can go much further because they carry ownership rules to another level. Lawyers will not be necessary to establish trust in transactions anymore in the future, thanks to NFTs, because transactions recorded on blockchains cannot be changed. 

Lawyers also can be replaced with Smart Contracts to automatically ensure that both parties honor their agreements when assets change hands. NFTs convert assets into tokens guaranteeing a fair and trustful system. 

About ZirconTech: A trusted partner that helps organizations thrive in their digital transformations. Mobility, Internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.

Smart contract; digital contract

SUSCRIBO-Contratos Digitales and ZirconTech announce a strategic alliance to work on developing smart contract solutions in Latin America.

SUSCRIBO-Contratos Digitales is a company formed in 2019 by investors from different Latin American countries to provide contract digitization, electronic signature, and business flow automation services using blockchain-based smart contract technology.

In March 2020, SUSCRIBO undertook to search for a technology provider and partner focused on specializing in smart contracts to act as a representative and distributor of services in the Latin American region (LATAM). During this search process, SUSCRIBO chose ZirconTech as a partner to identify, evaluate, select and implement a Software as a Service (SaaS) service for smart contracts for legal and natural persons, both public and private.

ZirconTech is a company that offers information technology services, conformed mostly by a team of Latin American professionals with more than two decades of experience in systems development, support, and technology implementation; ZirconTech is a specialist in blockchain, internet of things, cloud computing, web and mobile applications, big data, and artificial intelligence.

Toño Rumbea and Martin Machin, representatives of SUSCRIBO and ZirconTech, agreed in expressing that “After the COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely that will survive only those institutions that manage to digitize and automate their processes and paper contract files as soon as possible, incorporating the management of contractual obligations with other business systems for digital signature, management, billing, collections, and analytics”.

From this strategic alliance, SUSCRIBO and ZirconTech carry out research, testing, and development actions. Currently, the specialists have successfully linked intelligent contractual flows with CRMs and customer ERPs while executing integration projects with transactional banking APIS, with credit bureau and price index databases, and finally activities with electronic signature and certificate systems according to jurisdictions. Both companies are also working on structuring a back-office technical support component for clients in Latin America.

More information about us at www.zircon.tech

More information about SUSCRIBO-Digital Contracts at www.suscribo.com

About ZirconTech: A trusted partner that helps organizations thrive in their digital transformations. Mobility, Internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.

Benefits of notarization with blockchain

Notarization plays an integral role in any legal transaction and negotiations. Notarized documents are an indication that the parties involved are genuine and can be trusted. In other words, the notary public provides a security level that prevents us from becoming victims of fraud.

With the emergence of technology in the business landscape, blockchain entered the picture to automate notarizations. The blockchain serves as storage for notarized records and documents. In this way, any unauthorized user will not be able to edit nor delete portions of the document.

Notarization blockchain technology ensures the integrity of data as soon as it enters the chain. It provides functionalities, including tampering-resistance, non-repudiation, and traceability.

These tools automate notarization and streamline its typical process. Let’s discuss the benefits of the notarization service blockchain more thoroughly below.

What are the Benefits of Notarization with Blockchain?

Notarization service blockchains introduced a private, remote notary channel to address all your notary needs. This channel allows organizations to acquire notaries without having to step out of their homes or offices. Thus, companies like ZirconTech leverage notarization with blockchain to provide notary solutions to organizations across different industries. Notarization blockchain technology testifies to the documentation of proof of ownership to protect owners of their rights. Notarization via blockchain can also establish agreements across multiple parties. These documents can only be accessed and signed on the blockchain.

Notarization with blockchain has several benefits to organizations, but here are key points on how they helped businesses flourish:

Secured Storage of Notarized Documents

The primary goal of notarization is to certify the authenticity of any document. Notarization blockchain technology leverages various automated tools to carry out this goal seamlessly and quickly. On top of that, users can secure the storage of notarized documents on the blockchain. This organized and infinite storage process allows them to retrieve the agreement when needed and detect any changes made through the timestamps attached to every document.

Encrypted Documents Providing Users With Private Access

A majority of notary services require user information for creating an account and proof of ownership. This security measure happens on their system database for your notarization needs. The transaction ID and the user account information in the database often reside outside the blockchain. This measure gives security to the users considering that most authentication services happen on the blockchain system. They would only take a hash of the document to verify the proof of ownership of the user to notarize documents.

Moreover, the transaction ID integrates encryption to documents for easy retrieval. User account information helps perform cross-checks of the document’s ownership before its release.

Transfer Document Ownership Seamlessly

With notarization service blockchain, organizations can transfer ownership of documents seamlessly. The system would first verify the ownership of a specific form through the user account that acted. Blockchain technology locates the certificate authority system that confirms the blockchain’s bounded blocks’ data.

Users can quickly transfer document ownership by following these steps:

  • Like modifying any legal record, the system identifies the user through the previously recorded transactions used for verification.
  • The transaction identification verification will then create a signature for the user in the data field.
  • Notarization blockchain technology prompts the hash verification and signature storage on the duration of deploying the contract.

Offshoring Notarization Projects

For notarization needs in various parts of the world, some services by other providers can be limited. There are quite a few companies that perform offshoring notarization projects. Yet, ZirconTech has proven to be an expert in providing exceptional notarization service blockchain. This company’s blockchain professionals are pioneers in offshoring notarization projects for unavailable signers from all over the world.

Public blockchains allow data to be stored and retrieved for an unlimited time. This reliability offers trust and security to all involved parties. In case the need arises wherein you want to make some changes within the notarized document, you are required to create a transaction. These transactions combine into blocks. It gets before incorporating the modifications into the blockchain. Since the building blocks of a blockchain are interconnected, you can always monitor your data seamlessly. Every block receives a label with timestamps and block numbers arranged in chronological order for quick retrieval.

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About ZirconTech:
A trusted partner that helps organizations thrive in their digital transformations. Mobility, internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.

Smart contracts with blockchain

Legal tech emerged throughout the years, along with smart contract technology. A majority of businesses began bringing their legal businesses to smart contract blockchains to expedite the processes. With the innovations surrounding offshore blockchain development, smart contracts appear to be on the rise.

As one of the leading blockchain legal contract companies, Clause introduced its smart contract blockchain platform. It is a dynamic tool that lets businesses convert legal agreements into automated documents. Clause aims to derive an advanced smart contracting technology using blockchain and natural language processing techniques. They introduced the platform to bridge legal compliance, security, and savings between businesses and their clients. From developing the clauses and provisions to leveraging the automatic payment, Clause brings smart contracting to a whole new level.

Smart Contracts

Smart contracts use automation to streamline provisions and clauses expressed in agreements via blockchain. With that in mind, smart contracts blockchain enforce the terms and conditions agreed upon by either party. They can proceed to memorialize these terms in smart contract code, stored in the blockchain database.

With smart contracts, businesses can also carry out dependable transactions without the help of third-party providers. In other words, smart contract technology makes it possible to eliminate the process of seeking intermediaries to manage business deals. It automates the execution of the predetermined terms and conditions of the smart contract. Therefore, the contract provisions involved controls what it’s programming.

The Role of Blockchain in Smart Contracts

Blockchain plays a fundamental role in sustaining a robust, decentralized network of smart contracts. Smart contracts blockchain verifies and enforces terms previously agreed upon across multiple parties.

Moreover, transactions get streamlined according to the provisions expressed in the agreement. Offshore blockchain development companies like Zircontech partnered with Clause to carry out these transactions in full transparency. In this way, they can carry out payments without a central entity, external enforcement, or legal system. Smart contract Ethereum provides maximum security when it comes to such transactions that are both irreversible and traceable.



Lastly, smart contracts blockchain innovated ample data storage that is both secure and retrievable. It provides businesses with peace of mind since all smart contracts get encrypted in a ledger. This storage allows users to retrieve them as needed and make modifications when necessary.

How Clause Works

A clause is a smart contracts blockchain platform that decentralizes connected contract networks to reduce risks against legal compliance. More importantly, the platform’s goal is to unlock the full potential of your digital paperwork.

Clause works by connecting the contracts into their platform. The contracts can be accessed and modified by other members of your company along with your clients. Either Word or PDF format is importable into the database to start the data verification. Clause configures real-time validations to expedite the legal proceedings. Users can also readily utilize its built-in tools and software to automate specific actions.

These tools allow creators to incorporate functionalities to various provisions in the contract. For instance, they use Clause tools to provide a space for signature and buyer’s payment information. Once the payment details get fulfilled, it can automatically trigger a payment using channels like Stripe. Depending on the clauses in the agreement, a smart Clause stipulates the payment. This process indicates that you can also trigger the payment at a later date if needed.

The Bottom Line

Smart contracts blockchain aims to simplify the tedious process of legal agreements. With the use of Clause, businesses can skip the intermediaries and go straight to smart contracts. A clause has also partnered with the leading firms and blockchain companies like ZirconTech to make innovations and keep up with smart contract technology. As one of the blockchain pioneers in Latin America, ZirconTech continuously finds ways to leverage offshore blockchain development on legal tech. They make it their mission to contribute to blockchain-based legal technology to establish their products and services.

This collaboration paved the way for Clause to improve its smart contract platform. They have their data stored on a blockchain to manage its provisions and transactions. This platform allows businesses and clients to quickly make an agreement and payment based on the agreed terms. Therefore, the business operations are almost always automatic considering that every transaction gets recorded in real-time to a blockchain. These are also shared among participants to verify at any time.

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About ZirconTech:
A trusted partner that helps organizations thrive in their digital transformations. Mobility, internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.

Smart contracts with blockchain

Monax, the leading digital legal infrastructure company, established a smart contract blockchain platform to automate contractual obligations further. In partnership with the Agreements Network, they employ blockchain technology to streamline the legal proceedings and monitor the process in real-time. Along with legal firms and blockchain firms, including ZirconTech, Monax advanced to offshore blockchain development to sustain legal compliance. More importantly, the aim is to create compliance agreements and contracts from automated templates with only a few clicks.

The smart contracts blockchain framework can link precise off-chain computational knowledge with legal operations and products. With the use of scientific, financial, and environmental sources, it computes data streams to refine the procurement of legal obligations.

 Smart Contract Blockchain in Business

One of the leading companies in legal tech initiated offshore blockchain development and a network of law firms and blockchain startups. Monax developed the legal services platform called the Agreements Network in April 2018. The system leverages smart contracts blockchain to perform legal tasks.

These tasks range from managing agreements and leasing contracts to developing governance documents. With the Agreements Network, these legal obligations are made compatible with the public smart contract Ethereum.

The hefty costs of obtaining a lawyer to develop contracts have been a common predicament for many. More often than not, lawyers charge a large sum of money to establish a contract from a slightly tweaked template. Although there are some templates available online, they are often insufficient and ineffective. Thus, you often need expensive legal input to legitimize the contract.

For this reason, Monax leveraged the conjugation of blockchain and Artificial Intelligence to streamline such legal proceedings. Businesses are now able to keep up with the fast-paced industries with automated smart contracts blockchain. Tasks that previously took days to become completed reduce to just a few minutes. After all, businesses can accelerate by streamlining their business needs through automation.

Agreements Network is a decentralized platform for both businesses and lawyers. This network allows lawyers to market their services and offerings. They can promote their agreement templates across business sectors and get paid for it. In contrast, businesses seek contract templates in this platform to avoid litigation over contracts. Agreements Network provides third-party proof of the existence of such documentation to prevent any form of dispute. On top of that, they store contracts in a database so you can quickly retrieve them after many years.

How does the Agreement Network work?

The architecture of the Agreement Network eliminates operational costs leveraging the decentralized, interconnected systems. It optimizes legal obligations through smart contract Ethereum. Working within the Ethereum blockchain prevents them from backlog exposures or the risks to attacks in transactional processes. They utilize Archetypes to refer to the contract templates and generic agreements. These can support a variety of business operations, from establishing shareholder agreements to software development contracts.

You can access the ‘factories’ within the Archetypes to make some modifications in the templates. Users can personalize the contracts by adding names, specific amounts, and dates based on their clauses. You can make these changes that apply to your situation, but you cannot add or remove paragraphs in the contract.

After curating the contract, you have to keep it updated soon after it goes live. The developer should update the project’s progress and have their client confirm through the agreement. Upon completion, the process engine will automatically display the payment calculation to the client. In case the project is finished at an earlier or later date, the price adjusts accordingly. Smart contracts often configure these transactions through Ethereum. However, you can also produce invoices through other channels like Quickbooks and Xero.

ZirconTech in the Works with Monax

Since Monax introduced the Agreements Network in 2018, Zircon Tech has contributed to offshore blockchain development. The establishment of the robust distributed contract management system for small businesses leveraged smart contract technology to automate business processes. Along with Zircon Tech, they also developed Hyperledger Burrow to address leasing and contracting issues over the years.

Hyperledger Burrow is an open-source platform hosted by Linux Foundation to provide enterprise blockchain solutions. It aims to provide a modular blockchain client with a permission smart contract interpreter by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) standards.

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About ZirconTech:
A trusted partner that helps organizations thrive in their digital transformations. Mobility, internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.

Enterprise Ethereum Adoption: virtual event

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic the EEA events are not happening physically in New York City, that is why today it took place the First Ever Virtual Event.

It was a half-day event to explore blockchain applications, technical insights, reference architectures, and practical business use cases. Our teams connected remotely from New York, Buenos Aires and Montevideo.

The content of the event covered everything from the state of Ethereum in the enterprise to the growing use of the Ethereum Mainnet for business process automation.

The topics included among others:

  • The State of Enterprise Ethereum Adoption
  • Use Cases Built on Ethereum Mainnet
  • Baseline Protocol
  • Ethereum Adoption Tracks
  • The Enterprise Blockchain Technology Stack and Roadmap
  • Ethereum in Finance
  • Community: Through the Lens of the Ethereum Foundation
  • Blockchain for Social Impact

Speakers from many global companies included Banco Santander, BP, EY, Microsoft, JP Morgan, Ethereum Foundation, ConsenSys, Chainlink, Unibright, Fnality, Envision Blockchain Solutions, PegaSys, Provide Technologies and LimeChain.

The networking platform worked very well and we had the opportunity to interact and meet colleagues in the community.


ZirconTech team has been working for several years with the Ethereum platform, and has been keeping up to date with enterprise customer demands by developing competencies and implementing projects in Quorum and Hyperledger Besu.

Quorum is a platform developed by J.P. Morgan through its Blockchain Center of Excellence, leading efforts for Distributed Ledger Technology applications. It is an enterprise blockchain platform, a fork of the public Ethereum client ‘geth’ with several protocol level enhancements to support business needs. The primary purpose of the Quorum project was to develop an enterprise Ethereum client which empowers businesses to embrace and benefit from blockchain technology.

Hyperledger Besu is an open-source Ethereum client developed under the Apache 2.0 license and written in Java. It runs on the Ethereum public network, private networks, and test networks such as Rinkeby, Ropsten, and Görli. Besu implements Proof of Work (Ethash) and Proof of Authority (IBFT 2.0 and Clique) consensus mechanisms.

The welcome of the event to the state of Enterprise Ethereum Adoption was from John Whelan, (Banco Santander) and Yorke Rhodes III (Microsoft). John highlighted the 5th birthday of Ethereum Mainnet as the day of the event. He is the Chairman of the board of EEA, and te Managing Director of Digital Investment Innovation at Banco Santander.

Maria Concepcion (Coty) de Monteverde, from Banco Santander spoke about Finance applications, the Digital Bonds issuance on the Ethereum Mainnet. She is the Blockchain Center of Excellence Director in Santander, and is a Board Member at the Alastria Blockchain Ecosystem.

More finance applications with Ethereuem came from Christine Moy (J.P. Morgan), Artem Korenyuk (DTCC); Valerie Dahiya (Perkins Coie LLP) and Adam Clarke (Fnality).

Vanessa Grellet from ConsenSys addressed the topic of Blockchain for Social Impact, talking about Payments and Financial Inclusion.

Earlier on July 8th, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance announced the appointment of Dr. Daniel Burnett as Executive Director, who was instrumental in the rollout of the Baseline Protocol, and is a former PegaSys Blockchain Standards Architect. During the event, EEA Chairman John Whelan hosted a fireside chat with Daniel “Dan” Burnett. Dan will serve as a catalyst for the EEA’s growth by identifying ways to accelerate the pace of Ethereum innovation and adoption.


This month was also published some key ecosystem results like the Ethereum Mainnet Use Case Analysis v1. The EEA published the first analysis in a series of reports focused on the current state of the Ethereum ecosystem and utilization of the Ethereum public blockchain (Mainnet) –

2020 has been a year of remarkable enterprise Ethereum advances from the Baseline Protocol to enterprise Mainnet use cases in automation, business integration, finance, supply chain, and sustainability-focused carbon accounting efforts”. Daniel Norkin at Envision Blockchain and Tas Dienes at the Ethereum Foundation worked in tha analysis. The insights play a key role to Ethereum adoption and utilization. Stefan Schmidt at Unibright, Mark Caraway at BlockApps, and John Wolpert at ConsenSys also provided valuable contributions to this report.

EdoxOnline Blockchain Electronic Bill of Lading eBL

In the midst of the complications that the coronavirus presents for the trade of products linked to agriculture, Argentine developments facilitates the electronic transmission of documents through the digitization of processes represent a great advantage, and are already being used by firms like Cargill, Bunge and Dreyfus. In COVID-19 times, this application aims to avoid obstacles to the agricultural trade.

Global Share is a company dedicated to the continuous improvement of business processes, providing innovative solutions to companies to add up value and competitive advantage by improving their processes productivity. One year ago, Global Share announced a major milestone in EdoxOnline history, the brand new development for the preparation, issuance, signing, transmission, negotiation and presentation of the electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL). ZirconTech has been a key partner implementing blockchain technology in the solution architecture in 2018-2019.


The synergy between state of art technology and professional experience in supply chains, logistics and commercial networks, allows Global Share to offer a spectrum of tools and optimization solutions to improve processes. One year ago (on April 2019) Global Share announced the incorporation of blockchain technology to the e-BL platform to position EdoxOnline (www.edoxonline.com) to the top podium category of companies providing such functionality running within full and extreme security capabilities.

Global Share therefore confirmed its leadership in the agribusiness industry, and has been determined to reach out to the horizon stated in its Vision by adding innovative solutions that help customers receive important benefits as a result of the streamlined processes that these innovations produce.

“The unloading of bulk carriers in China -one of the three largest trading partners of Argentina along with Brazil and the United States- requires the presentation of documentation by the importer, particularly the Bill of Lading (BL), to the carrier and local customs. In the international trade industry to achieve the authorization of the unloading -in the vast majority of cases-, you must send the documents via courier from the exporting country to the destination country, where the importer files to claim ownership of the cargo, either bulk commodities or containerized products”, says a report by Global Share.

Then it notes that the coronavirus “makes visible the problem of delivering paper documents in a complex and global supply chain” and highlights that “the absence of documents is causing significant congestion in the main ports of the Asian giant, and consequently generating logistics costs for delays”. According to the report, the penalty for delay in unloading large ships averages $ 30,000 a day.

“While it is unfortunate that these situations have to bring to light the benefits of electronic document transmission, we hope that the industry as a whole will continue to adopt digital processes to facilitate global trading” said Alejandro Pernias, CEO of Global Share. .

EdoxOnline reportedly recently released the first ever electronic bill of lading with blockchain technology. “It allows a Chinese importer, or any country in the world, to present the necessary documentation to release their cargo in front of the carrier and customs authorities,” he said.

The blockchain based Bill of Lading (e-BL)

Solutions such as the electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL), electronic Phytosanitary Certificate (e-Phyto) and electronic Origin Certificate (e-OC) have been embracing the International Trade of Commodities, thus helping all trading companies go paperless, as they also streamline the whole shipping documents issuance process. On June 11th 2019, the IG (Group of Protection & Indemnity insurance Clubs) approved Global Share S.A. EdoxOnline platform. The legal frameworks for this new generation of e-BL providers’ systems were scrutinized by the IG to ensure that e-BLs created on them are capable of performing the three functions of a bill of lading, namely as a receipt, a document of title and a contract of carriage. Liabilities arising in respect of the carriage of cargo under e-BLs created on these systems are now covered by the IG Clubs as if the bills of lading had been issued in traditional paper form.

The key difference with this second generation e-BL systems is their reliance on blockchain technology.  Unlike three years ago, blockchain is today no longer just a buzzword but has many real applications. A blockchain may be a public or a private digital network used for recording transactional events in encrypted form, storing the same in a distributed ledger (i.e. the computers).  A private blockchain network can feature a level of centralization. Access is limited by a governing body to a number of participants only.  Public blockchain networks however run on thousands of computers and do not have a ‘central administrator’.  It is not possible to shut down, block or limit access to a public blockchain network. EdoxOnline’s product is based on the Ethereum blockchain; the best known public blockchain which also enables the use of smart contracts.  The publicly distributed ledger contains a permanent record of all transactions, providing transparency and enabling auditability of all events. Without a central registry, there is no central point of attack for hackers.

EdoxOnline is the first e-BL system created implementing blockchain technology. The company was set up in 2007 by a group of international trade experts to provide the industry with a collaborative digital platform to streamline the issuance of shipping and commercial documents. On EdoxOnline’s system, all the participants to a trade, from shippers to customs agents, interact in real-time, reliably, efficiently, and in a secure manner.

ZirconTech helped Global Share in the implementation of the solution that tracks the changes in the documentation over time and ensures tamper proof and no possibility of modifying the information of the same. ZirconTech proposed to identify the documents through hashes (SHA256) and then leave the same “notarized” in the Ethereum blockchain using a document ID and the mentioned hash. Each change in the document is registered using the corresponding ID and hash update. For this project a smart contract was developed using Solidity and an API using NodeJS.

How does EdoxOnline work?

From a user interface perspective, this blockchain based system look very similar to first generation eBL providers approved by the IG but the way in which it works differs. The system encrypt and store all the data associated with the eBL, i.e. the parties involved, their status and the transactions, on a blockchain decentralised network each time a new transaction is performed. Users registering to use the system are deemed to have accepted, and thus be bound by, the terms and conditions of these providers’ multilateral agreements.

Significantly, the service provider running the network is not a principal to the transaction and has no access to the users’ information, ensuring privacy for the users. The system otherwise shares the following similarities with first generation eBL providers:

• The system replicates the process flow and roles performed by the paper BL.

• It has a legal framework governing the use of the system. Users agree to treat electronic documentation within the system as the functional and legal equivalent of paper documents, and undertake not to challenge the validity of any transaction or communication made on the ground that the same was made in e-form, instead of in paper form and/or that it is not signed or sealed. The legal framework is a multilateral agreement between all users and between each user and the system provider.

•  The legal framework for edoxOnline comprises of its “e-BL Terms and Conditions”, version 1, dated 18 May 2018, accompanied by its Management User’s Guide. 

• edoxOnline relies on the principle of novation to transfer rights and obligations. The parties contractually agree that there is a novation of the contract of carriage each time the eBL is transferred from one holder to the next. On a transfer, the rights held by the transferor are extinguished. The transferee takes those rights instead and becomes a party to the contract of carriage, allowing him to sue the carrier under the same terms originally agreed between the carrier and the shipper.

• edoxOnline also relies on the principle of attornment to enable the new holder of the eBL to obtain title in the goods. The users agree in advance under the terms and conditions that there will be an attornment each time the eBL is transferred.

•  The system is accessed via apps and users do not need to invest in special hardware.

•   The eBL created on the system can be sent in draft form for approval between the shipper and the carrier, and can also be passed back and forth between holders in this way if, for example, amendments to the document need to be made. Like a paper BL however, there can only be one holder of an eBL at any time. 

•  The system also offers the possibility to create and to transfer other trade documents such as cargo certificates, invoices, packing lists, etc.

•  The system has procedures for switching eBLs to paper BLs at any point in the transactions.

•   The system is regularly tested against all forms of cyber attacks, and the providers have insurance for cyber risks and professional E&O risks.

•   edoxOnline is free for carriers to use.

Global Share was confident that the EdoxOnline electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL) would meet its customers’ expectations and business needs, going paperless and efficient, and has become a reality.

The UK P&I Club is one of the oldest P&I clubs in the world and has released a report highlighting the benefits of EdoxOnline. The UK P&I Club provides Protection and Indemnity insurance in respect of third party liabilities and expenses arising from owning ships or operating ships as principals.  One of the largest mutual marine protection and indemnity organizations it insures over 240 million tonnes of owned and chartered ships from more than fifty countries across the globe. The UK P&I Club gives security with its A (Stable) Standard & Poor’s rating and accessibility with a claims service on hand in 350 ports. 


About Zircon Tech:

A trusted partner that helps organizations thrive in their digital transformations. Mobility, internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and blockchain technologies.

Contact Information:

E-mail: contact@zircon.tech

Phone: +1 347-571-9089 / +54 911-5755-4198

Twitter: @zircon_tech

Web: www.zircon.tech

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Montevideo, Uruguay

New York, United States

Santiago, Chile

References and sources:

Global Share announces the launch of Electronic Bill of Lading under Blockchain technology

Zircon Tech helps Global Share to launch Electronic Bill of Ladings using blockchain technology

https://zircon.tech/blog/2019/04/25/zircon-tech-helps-global-share-to-launch-electronic-bill-of-ladings-using-blockchain-technology/

Argentina: ZirconTech encourages the use of blockchain technology for electronic shipping invoices

https://es.cointelegraph.com/news/argentina-zircon-tech-promotes-the-use-of-blockchain-technology-for-electronic-shipment-invoices

Coronavirus: local development aims to avoid obstacles to the agricultural trade

https://www.lanacion.com.ar/economia/campo/coronavirus-desarrollo-local-apunta-evitar-trabas-comercio-nid2336613

Electronic Bills of Lading – An Update Part I

https://www.ukpandi.com/knowledge-publications/publications/article/electronic-bills-of-lading-an-update-part-i-151842/

Cloud business cases involving blockchain technologies

Working in blockchain projects not only means working in the blockchain technology itself. Any initiative involving blockchain technology needs to take care of the mobile, front end and back-office systems, as well as the cloud environments. ZirconTech also helps companies in all these aspects by providing an integrated and seamless service. As a custom software development company ZirconTech builds custom software solutions, mobile apps, CRM integrations, operating systems & more.

ZirconTech has leveraged its cloud computing and scalable systems capabilities in several blockchain projects.


Digital commodity trading platform with an integrated supply chain solution

ZirconTech delved into the agribusiness sector helping a company that evolved piloting trading platforms and completed trades with Thailand, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Cambodia, Switzerland and England, bringing the transparency needed to the supply chain process. This greater level of transparency allows insurance partners to better assess, control risk and to give users access to first-class insurance coverage.

ZirconTech was involved in this blockchain platform that automates and simplifies the complexity of some commodities trading, increasing security, transparency, efficiency, traceability and trust with verifiable, immutable data. Implemented with Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology, it helped to create an enterprise-standard, automated platform for removal of friction in the commodities supply chain, lowering risk and cost for traders, insurers, shippers and other stakeholders.

From the cloud perspective, ZirconTech engineers worked in visionary cloud management using the most recently available services. We worked in a proof of concept with Amazon AWS blockchain services: Amazon Managed Blockchain and KMS (Key Management Service).

There were involved infrastructures from different companies: each company provided its own services and they had to communicate with trust. Microsoft Azure platforms had to be migrated to AWS. The goal was to create a flexible platform and enable new participants to add new servers quickly and easily.

AWS stack in this project included Elastic Beanstalk, EC2, S3 and Cloudwatch. Additionally, we used Docker and Kubernetes to scale up nodes.

ZirconTech partnered with a company in Los Angeles (California) to help the commodity exchange based in Zug (Switzerland) and Singapore.


 

 

 

 

 

Digital platform for taking donations and sharing information with donors

ZirconTech has been working in a US based bitcoin platform offering unprecedented transparency in the donation process, giving donors the ability to transfer, track, and provide a permanent record of the route of global financial transactions from inception to endpoint.

The platform works in AWS and has interesting functionalities connecting with the blockchains, with a DevOps management in the orchestration process of production releases using several tools and continuous integration. It works in AWS based in EC2 (Elastic Compute), with autoscaling, Nginx and a Jenkins continuous integration pipeline. It also uses other AWS services such as S3 (Simple Storage Service), Cloudfront, RDS (Relational Database Service), Elasticache and VPC (Virtual Private Cloud).


CRM platform for artists

ZirconTech team is working in a mobile application for artists which is used as CRM and to build a website to share their work and social networks. 0The backend is built with AWS services, Elastic Beanstalk, EC2, CodePipeline, CodeBuild, S3, DynamoDB and VPC (Virtual Private Cloud). Terraform is used to orchestrate the architecture.

Continuous integration is also used in this project.