Two Firms to Build Blockchain-Based Solution for European Shipping

As markets and technology-focused outlet Benzinga reported on Sept. 20, Vakt and essDOCS will work on a blockchain-based solution that will allow digitization of post-trade process in Europe’s barge shipping.

Vakt, a blockchain-based post-trade platform for commodities, has signed a memorandum of understanding with essDOCS, a firm that develops paperless trade solutions, to put European shipping on the blockchain.

Digitization of barge shipping data

While the parties plan to launch the product in northwest Europe initially, they are hoping to expand further to global markets. A joint statement stated:

“Trading parties would agree on information to send on to the terminal, which would add its own information before sending on to barge captains to agree and sign for the product and quantities loaded or discharged from the vessel. This lengthy process results in several paper documents including the barge receipt, which when physically signed allowed the barge to sail and the seller to invoice the buyer.”

In late February, Cointelegraph reported that Vakt signed up four new clients, which meant that Vakt would be used in about two-thirds of all oil deals in the North Sea region. At the time, Vakt’s CEO, Etienne Amic said that a significant level of adoption in the energy sector could motivate others to examine blockchain solutions.

Global supply chain and blockchain

Earlier this year, Russian authorities signed an agreement with Danish logistics giant Maersk to officially launch blockchain shipping platform TradeLens in order to adopt blockchain-powered digital documentation to replace current transportation operations, which are largely paper-based.

Swiss forwarding and logistics services company Panalpina also started blockchain pilot projects aimed at optimizing supply chains. One of the projects will investigate blockchain applications in high-tech industrial goods and the other will deal with office supplies.

Two Arrested for ‘Old-Fashioned Shakedown’ of Cryptocurrency Startup

Authorities in the United States have arrested two individuals who allegedly threatened to destroy a startup crypto company if they were not paid millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.

Extortion of crypto startup

On Sept. 18, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, together with the FBI, announced the arrest of Steven Nerayoff and Michael Hlady. Both individuals were charged with extortion of a cryptocurrency startup and have already made their initial appearance in federal court.

Nerayoff, a lawyer himself, was purportedly hired to assist in a Seattle-based company’s initial coin offering (ICO) and brought in the second defendant as his “operations guy.”

Soon after, both defendants allegedly started showing signs of extortion when they demanded millions of dollars in raised capital and company tokens, despite not offering any additional services. Both men purportedly threatened the company’s executive with sabotage of the ICO and total destruction of the startup. U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said:

“As alleged, Nerayoff and Hlady carried out an old-fashioned shakedown, to be paid off with 21st century cryptocurrency. This Office and our partners at the FBI are committed to protecting businesses from extortion, whether the demands are for U.S. dollars or cryptocurrency.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said that this is a classic, age-old extortion scheme with a modern day twist, adding:

“Imposing forceful demands on a company for personal gain is risky business, whether one’s preference is to be paid off with cryptocurrency or cold hard cash. The FBI will continue to seek justice for victims who businesses have been targeted by these types of scams.”

$1.2 million earned through Bitcoin sextortion and bomb threat scams

Cointelegraph reported in August that, according to a report by Symantec, cybercriminals managed to earn $1.2 million in Bitcoin through sextortion and bomb threat scams in 12 months.

Per the report, in May 2019, 63 wallets associated with such scams received a total of 12.8 BTC, worth $106,240 at the time. Symantec estimated the yearly income of $1.2 million by taking the example of May as a likely monthly average.


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