Blockchain Expo Europe 2022 in Amsterdam highlights meaningful strides in enterprise-grade blockchain solutions driven by mainstream institutions.
Blockchain is no longer a buzzword being thrown around by mainstream institutions as meaningful and fully-working pilots and programs come to the fore at Blockchain Expo Europe 2022 in Amsterdam.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of mainstream companies from various industries started to explore ways blockchain technology could be used to improve processes and products.
After two years of social distancing and working from home, the time to harvest the fruits of sewn seeds has arrived, as evidenced by some intriguing updates from major corporations utilizing blockchain technology.
The world of business consulting, healthcare and pharmaceuticals and the energy sector are all delivering working, blockchain-powered solutions that have seemingly proved the broad spectrum of utility promised by the burgeoning technology.
Cointelegraph was on the ground for the event and managed to touch base with a number of speakers who showcased how their firms were using the technology to drive innovation.
EY, the global business consulting firm, has been working hard to build enterprise-grade blockchain capabilities over the past three years. Federico De Poli, who heads up the global development of the EY OpsChain functionality, outlined how the firm had spent over $100 million over the past three years building a fulling working product solution.
Driving enterprise adoption has been key, helping clients navigate a new environment, building privacy tools focused on safety and helping companies run business processes on the Ethereum blockchain.
As De Poli explained, the company’s proprietary EY Opschain and EY Blockchain Analyzer are two main tools using blockchain technology:
“Opschain products is our business suite of products. We have traceability which is our most used tool which is being used in production by several clients in different industries. We have a contract manager which is being used in a first trial — it’s a tool which helps us do digital contracting between parties.”
EY’s public finance manager also allows governments to track the expenditure of funds, proving the widespread useability of blockchain solutions.
Healthcare and pharmaceutical firms also attended the RAI Amsterdam Convention center. Alex Popa, associate director of Blockchain for Pharma Supply Excellence, MSD (Merck), outlined a pilot that was aimed at addressing problems with multifaceted healthcare networks.
Plagued by expensive, inefficient and vulnerable systems, blockchain technology provides practical solutions to these problems. MSD has operated a pilot to combat a vexing industry issue and counterfeit drugs using Hyperledger Fabric, which allowed patients in Hong Kong to verify medicines’ authenticity from their source.
Jessica Lee, head of Blockchain for Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Commercial North America, also showcased a piloted use case for a value-based healthcare system to share data privately, securely and transparently using blockchain technology.
Sabine Brink, blockchain lead at Shell, gave a compelling presentation focused on digital innovation in the energy sector. A key takeaway was the growing use of blockchain technology to drive transparency in energy.
The firm is engaged in several blockchain-powered projects deployed on public blockchains to address a long-standing propensity for the energy sector to work in silos. A key highlight was Shell’s work supporting Avelia, a sustainable, blockchain-powered aviation fuel tracing aimed at decarbonizing air travel.
Outlining that 90 percent of airline emissions are attributable to business travel, Avelia acts as sustainability as a service product for corporate flyers and airlines to book and claim sustainable aviation fuel:
“Energy is becoming distributed and decentralized, and it‘s hard to imagine it’s being orchestrated in a centralized way. There is no other way to get it done on a global scale, and blockchain has a huge role.”
Conversations with conference delegates and speakers highlighted the apparent strides made in developing working blockchain solutions across industries. The technology has driven innovation across industries, and mainstream companies are doing their part to drive new use cases and solutions for blockchain-based systems.ethereum blockchain pandemic covid-19
SEC initiates legal action against FTX’s auditor
The SEC alleges that Prager Metis, an accounting firm engaged by bankrupt crypto exchange FTX in 2021, committed hundreds of violations related to auditor…
The SEC alleges that Prager Metis, an accounting firm engaged by bankrupt crypto exchange FTX in 2021, committed hundreds of violations related to auditor independence.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has commenced legal proceedings against an accounting firm that had provided services to cryptocurrency exchange FTX before its bankruptcy declaration.
According to a Sept. 29 statement, the SEC alleged that accounting firm Prager Metis provided auditing services to its clients without maintaining the necessary independence as it continued to offer accounting services. This practice is prohibited under the auditor independence framework.
To prevent conflicts of interest, accounting and audit tasks must be kept clearly separate. However, the SEC claims that these entwined activities spanned over a period of approximately three years:
“As alleged in our complaint, over a period of nearly three years, Prager’s audits, reviews, and exams fell short of these fundamental principles. Our complaint is an important reminder that auditor independence is crucial to investor protection.”
While the statement doesn't explicitly mention FTX or any other clients, it does emphasize that there were allegedly "hundreds" of auditor independence violations throughout the three-year period.
Furthermore, a previous court filing pointed out that the FTX Group engaged Metis to audit FTX US and FTX at some point in 2021. Subsequently, FTX declared bankruptcy in November 2022.
The filing alleged that since former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried publicly announced previous FTX audit results, Metis should have recognized that its work would be used by FTX to bolster public trust.
Concerns were previously reported about the material presented in FTX audit reports.
On Jan. 25, current FTX CEO John J. Ray III told a bankruptcy court that he had “substantial concerns as to the information presented in these audited financial statements.”
Furthermore, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden raised concerns about Prager Metis' impartiality. They argued that it functioned as an advocate for the crypto industry.
Meanwhile, a law firm that provided services to FTX has come under scrutiny in recent times.
In a Sept. 21 court filing, plaintiffs allege that U.S. based law firm, Fenwick & West, should be held partially liable for FTX's collapse because it reportedly exceeded the norm when it came to its service offerings to the exchange.
However, Fenwick & West asserts that it cannot be held accountable for a client's misconduct as long as its actions remain within the bounds of the client's representation.cryptocurrency blockchain crypto crypto
DOJ readies witnesses in Bankman-Fried trial, highlights FTX asset management
The DOJ intends to highlight the experiences of retail and institutional clients who entrusted substantial assets to FTX.
The DOJ intends to highlight the experiences of retail and institutional clients who entrusted substantial assets to FTX.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has confirmed its intention to summon former FTX clients, investors and staff as witnesses in the upcoming trial involving Sam Bankman-Fried, the former FTX CEO.
The DOJ submitted a letter motion in limine on Sept. 30 describing the witnesses it intends to call concerning FTX’s treatment of customer assets.
The testimonies intend to provide perspectives on the interactions between the accused and the witnesses. It also aims to get the witnesses’ understanding of Bankman-Fried’s remarks and conduct, particularly regarding FTX’s asset management. The DOJ intends to highlight the experiences of retail and institutional clients who entrusted substantial assets to FTX, believing that the platform would safeguard them securely.
Furthermore, a situation has emerged concerning one of the DOJ’s witnesses, “FTX Customer-1,” who resides in Ukraine. Given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, traveling to the U.S. to provide testimony is associated with difficulties. The DOJ has suggested using video conferencing as a viable alternative. However, Bankman-Fried’s defense has not yet approved this proposal.
Nonetheless, the legal team representing Bankman-Fried, led by lawyer Mark Cohen, has voiced concerns about the jury questions put forth by the DOJ. According to Bankman-Fried’s defense, these interrogations insinuate guilt on Bankman-Fried’s part, potentially undermining the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.“
Additionally, the defense contends that these inquiries may not effectively uncover the jurors’ inherent biases, especially related to their encounters with cryptocurrencies. Moreover, specific questions could inadvertently guide the jury’s perspective instead of eliciting authentic insights, possibly compromising the trial’s impartiality.
With the jury selection scheduled to start on Oct. 3, closely followed by the trial, the spotlight is firmly on this high-stakes legal confrontation. This case underscores not only its immediate consequences but also underscores the vital importance of transparent communication and unbiased questioning in upholding the principles of justice.crypto crypto
Vitalik Buterin voices concerns over DAOs approving ETH staking pool operators
The Ethereum co-founder proposes a solution that could lower the likelihood of any individual liquid staking provider growing to a point where it poses…
The Ethereum co-founder proposes a solution that could lower the likelihood of any individual liquid staking provider growing to a point where it poses a systemic risk.
Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, has expressed worries regarding decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) exerting a monopoly over the selection of node operators in liquidity staking pools.
In a September 30 blog post, Buterin issues a warning that as staking pools adopt the DAO approach for governance over node operators—who are ultimately responsible for the pool's funds—it can expose them to potential risks from malicious actors.
“With the DAO approach, if a single such staking token dominates, that leads to a single, potentially attackable governance gadget controlling a very large portion of all Ethereum validators.”
Buterin highlights the liquid staking provider Lido (LDO) as an example with a DAO that validates node operators. However, he emphasizes that relying on just one layer of protection may prove insufficient:
“To the credit of protocols like Lido, they have implemented safeguards against this, but one layer of defense may not be enough,” he noted.
Meanwhile, he explains that Rocket Pool offers the opportunity for anyone to become a node operator by placing an 8 Ether (ETH) deposit, which, at the time of this publication, is equivalent to approximately $13,406.
However, he notes this comes with its risks. "The Rocket Pool approach allows attackers to 51% attack the network, and force users to pay most of the costs," he stated.
On the other hand, Buterin highlights that having a mechanism to ascertain who can act as the underlying node operators is an inevitable necessity:
"It can't be unrestricted, because then attackers would join and amplify their attacks with users' funds."
Buterin further outlines that a possible approach to address this issue involves encouraging ecosystem participants to utilize a variety of liquid staking providers.
He clarifies this would decrease the likelihood of any one provider becoming excessively large and posing a systemic risk.
“In the longer term, however, this is an unstable equilibrium, and there is peril in relying too much on moralistic pressure to solve problems," he stated.ethereum
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