In this issue:
• Blockchain Developments in Olive Oil, Shipping, Media and Real Estate
• Warnings on SIM Swapping and IEOs, New Research on Crypto Money Laundering
Blockchain Developments in Olive Oil, Shipping, Media and Real Estate
On Jan. 14, one of the largest producers of olive oil in the Mediterranean announced it would begin using blockchain to create a provenance record for its oils. The company announced it would use the Food Trust blockchain to provide traceability of its olive oils across eight quality assurance checkpoints, stretching from the retailer through the orchard where the olives were grown to the tree from which the olives were harvested. Starting with the company’s most recent harvest, now being bottled, customers around the world will be able to scan a QR code on each label to view a provenance record. Since harvest began in November, data has been uploaded to the distributed ledger; bottles are expected to reach store shelves by March.
Container shipping lines have been prohibited from working together on certain matters without oversight from the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), but that is set to change. Under the TradeLens Agreement, which will come into effect on Feb. 5, those laws will be loosened to authorize companies to cooperate in providing data to the blockchain so that shippers, authorities and other parties can exchange information on supply chain events and documents. Launched in August 2018, TradeLens has grown to include more than 100 participants and has processed more than 10 million shipping events. Since May 2019, it has accounted for more than half of global cargo traffic.
A software provider for the advertising world announced its first partner that will use blockchain technology to provide transparency in the media supply chain. The integration will reportedly make visible programmatic supply path details tied to financial and contractual data. In another media industry development, one of the largest U.S. television providers has filed a patent application for a new “anti-piracy management system” that would leverage blockchain to allow owners to track how their content is being used. According to the filing, one of the chief problems with online streaming has been the difficulty in combating content piracy. Along with enhancing oversight of copyright infringement, the patent pending system, would also seek to help platforms enforce ownership rights and pursue publishers that use content without permission.
In what is reported to be the largest- ever real estate transaction funded exclusively by tokens, a Swiss blockchain-focused investment firm announced on Wednesday that it had agreed to buy a majority stake in a Zurich-based commercial property. The company paid 130 million Swiss francs ($134.9 million) to purchase 80% of Bahnhofstrasse 52, an office and retail building, and will have the option to purchase the remaining 20% of the property within nine months. The company has offices in Berlin, Zurich and Zug, Switzerland, and invests in commercial and residential properties in North America and Europe through capital raised in part through its proprietary token program.
For more information, please refer to the following links:
- CHO Taps IBM Food Trust to Provide Insight on Quality and Origin of Terra Delyssa Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- TradeLens gets US federal approval
- Mediaocean Announces Amino Payments as First Blockchain Partner to Deliver Supply Path Insights for Programmatic Buys
- Dish Network Files Patent for Blockchain-Based Anti-Piracy System
- BrickMark Signs Record $135M Tokenized Real Estate Deal
Warnings on SIM Swapping and IEOs, New Research on Crypto Money Laundering
At least $2.8 billion worth of bitcoin from illicit transactions was laundered through cryptocurrency exchanges in 2019, according to a well-known cryptocurrency analytics firm. According to the report, two of the world’s largest exchanges processed more than 50% of the illicit transactions. The analytics firm notes that such activity is likely facilitated by certain over-the-counter brokers it labels the “Rogue 100,” which have been identified by the firm as having received large amounts of illicit cryptocurrency funds. In the most recent example of money laundering through cryptocurrencies, this week in California, a 28-year-old man pleaded guilty in relation to his use of cryptocurrency to import illicit substances through a now-defunct dark market, the Silk Road.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an alert this week, suggesting investors exercise caution before investing in Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs), a so-called innovation on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), both of which offer digital assets in exchange for capital. According to the alert, IEOs are usually unregistered offerings that are conducted and promoted by entities improperly characterized as “exchanges” without proper vetting, making them risky consumer investments.
Digital asset startup incubator ICOBox stands accused of violating U.S. securities laws, with the SEC asking a federal judge this week to enter a default judgment against the company after it failed to respond to the allegations in court. Alleged violations include raising $14.6 million during an unlawful ICO and assisting more than 30 companies in raising a total of $650 million in unregistered securities.
Federal lawmakers last week wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, urging the FCC to take swift action to protect consumers against subscriber identification module (SIM) swapping by requiring wireless carriers to implement protocols that protect consumers. SIM swapping occurs when a hacker gains access to a victim’s mobile account, which often allows the hacker to steal account login credentials and steal funds. According to the letter, 728 SIM-swap complaints were filed in 2019, up from just 25 in 2016. Recent reports note that millions of dollars in cryptocurrency funds have been stolen in SIM-swapping attacks.
For more information, please refer to the following links:
- SEC Seeks $16M From No-Show Crypto Startup Incubator
- Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs) – Investor Alert
- US Lawmakers Call on Communications Regulator to Tackle SIM-Swapping Crime
- Congress Letter to FCC re: SIM Swapping
- El Dorado County Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing a Designer Drug from the Dark Web that Caused the Death of a Minor
- How shadowy brokers allegedly launder billions for crypto criminals
- Money Laundering in Cryptocurrency: How Criminals Moved Billions in 2019