Blockchain news

US NIST secures ‘smart’ manufacturing systems with tamper-proof system, releases UML code for implementation. US Offshore Operators Committee kicks-off US Blockchain Consortium. News from SAP’s Enterprise blockchain summit, Berlin. Kraken IM’s blockchain for engineering. ZiyenCoin, a ‘regulated’ oil cryptocurrency. But are these really blockchains?

Engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have used blockchain to secure ‘smart’ manufacturing systems. The system provides tamper-proof transmission of manufacturing data and traceability to all participants. Blockchain is a component of NIST’s ‘digital thread’, an engineering information management system that is to replace two-dimensional engineering blueprints. The solution is designed to counter ‘bad actors’ that tamper with data files. The NIST report includes UML codes for implementing a blockchain in a smart manufacturing network. Partners in the NIST blockchain community of interest include IBM, Lockheed Martin, MIT and Penn State University. Read the Security, Traceability for Smart Manufacturing paper here.

The Offshore Operators Committee (OOC) has kicked-off the US Blockchain Consortium. The new organization is to establish blockchain standards, frameworks and capabilities for the oil and gas industry. The OOC will be conducting proofs of concept with the emerging technology in 2019. OOC chair Rebecca Hofmann, said, ‘Blockchain is a catalyst for reimagining the way we do business and this consortium represents a collaborative effort to explore the technology’s potential and leverage learnings to drive industry adoption’. OOC BCF members include Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Hess, Pioneer Natural Resources and Repsol.

SAP recently hosted an ‘Outside the Block’ enterprise blockchain summit in Berlin to present use cases and discuss what the future has in store for blockchain. SAP’s Martin Heinig said, ‘The days are gone in which the Cold War was a fitting metaphor for the way companies shielded their knowledge and businesses. At SAP we believe that this openness that allows ourselves, our customers, and partners to tap into the wisdom of the larger SAP ecosystem’. Partners in the SAP event included Telekom, Dell EMC, Camelot IT Labs and Wipro. Use cases mooted at the SAP event include quality assurance in pharmaceuticals from Modum and in food supply with a farm-to-consumer blockchain initiative. IBM presented the benefits of blockchain in the oil and gas industry.

Kraken IM has developed a blockchain for the engineering supply chain. Kraken uses the blockchain to permanently record changes to engineering data and documents, when they are shared or added to by vendors and contractors and time-stamping data so it cannot be tampered with. Automated, blockchain-backed transmittals can be used to prove who sent what and when. The Kraken blockchain was developed as a proof of concept for the Cfihos project (see elsewhere in this issue).

Ziyen, which describes itself as a “Scottish-American” company developing procurement software (and which is also a US oil producer) has further diversified with a ‘new and innovative’ division, ZiyenCoin. The new unit is to launch ‘ZiyenCoin’ , the first oil and gas security token offering. ZiyenCoin will ‘push down the price of oil production’ by removing volatilities and finance changes. ZiyenCoin will be ‘the first regulated oil and energy benchmarked cryptocurrency’. Caveat emptor!

Comment: We have invited a few blockchain advocates for comment on our scurrilous editorial ‘blockchain is bullshit’. Some have ignored us. Others grudgingly acknowledge that the technology controls a digital token that cannot ‘guarantee’ a transaction of physical goods. Another fact to emerge from our ongoing investigation into ‘blockchain’ is that it is not always (ever?) really blockchain. Instead of the energy hungry technology that drives bitcoin, ‘blockchain’ projects may be using some form of generic DLT, distributed ledger technology. DLT and blockchain are not the same as elegantly explained on Hardfork where we read, ‘The terms DLT and blockchain are not interchangeable, even if they may be used as such. Organizations like the Bank of England might favor the use of DLT to distance themselves from the hype and volatility associated to blockchain. Or for the same reason, a corporation may use the word blockchain to capitalize on the interest, even if what they are offering isn’t truly, a blockchain’.

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