17.04.2021

Alibaba’s Ant Financial Starts Pre-Launch Testing of Business Blockchain

Speaking at the World Blockchain Summit at Wuzhen, China, Jieli Li, senior director of technology and business innovation at Ant Financial, said the tech underlying its Ant Blockchain Open Alliance is set to go live three months after the testing period, according to a report from Sina Finance.

Ant Financial, the fintech arm of Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group, has launched the testing stage for its blockchain network aimed to support small and medium-sized businesses.

“While the blockchain is open to developers and institutions from all over the world, we will be cautious in terms of selecting nodes on the platform”, Li stressed in an interview with 8btc.com.

The company will include educational and certification agencies as nodes to increase credibility of the network, and choose partners depending their industries rather than which regions they are based in, the exec explained. However, who those firms might be is not yet being disclosed.

“We can not disclose the names of our partners who participate in the consortium blockchain at this time”, Li said.

Ant Blockchain Open Alliance is aimed to cut costs and expand the reach of services in different industries, such as finance and healthcare, to a larger user base.

The company unveiled the project in September and has been adding partners to the consortium since. It’s working on other blockchain projects too, including a food tracking app and a system for monitoring agri-products in partnership with Bayer.

Samsung SDS Beefs Up Privacy on Its Business-Grade Blockchain

Samsung SDS, the enterprise technology arm of the South Korean behemoth, is enhancing privacy on its Nexledger blockchain with zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs).

The company said Thursday it had formed a partnership with Israel-based QEDIT to record and authenticate the transfer of assets on a shared ledger without revealing underlying confidential information.

The step underscores one of the challenges facing companies adopting distributed ledger technology: broadcasting transactions to a network puts them at risk of exposing sensitive client data and tipping their hands to competitors.

Zero-knowledge proofs, a branch of cryptography that can authenticate data without revealing any details about it, are a common strategy for squaring this circle. Banks such as JPMorgan Chase and ING have used ZKPs in their blockchain forays.

The catch is that ZKPs often require considerable computing power and can gum up the works. But Samsung SDS says this one outperformed.

“The performance of QEDIT’s private asset transfer solution has been exemplary during the rigorous series of testing and trials we conducted”, said Jeanie Hong, Senior Vice President, Leader of Blockchain Center at Samsung SDS, said in a statement. “The QEDIT team has consistently demonstrated the ability to horizontally scale ZKP cryptography in a blockchain environment.”

QEDIT co-founder and CEO Jonathan Rouach said his firm’s solution will be useful to Samsung SDS’s Nexledger in areas like banking and supply chain.

“Samsung SDS is very active in supply chain and insurance”, said Rouach. “For instance, Nexledger is used by an 18-bank blockchain consortium in Korea.”

QEDIT has been on something of a tear of late, announcing a close working relationship with professional-services giant Deloitte at the ZKProof Community Event in Amsterdam late last month.

Samsung SDS, which employs about 35,000, many of them software engineers, has been working in the enterprise blockchain space for several years.

Last month at the Blockchain Seoul 2019 conference, Samsung SDS said it had been piloting a blockchain-based medical claims processing system since August. The firm also said it had invested in Blocko, also based in South Korea.

While Samsung SDS’ R&D is designed for business-to-business uses, and not the parent company’s mobile phone business, Rouach said the firm is “very interested in privacy-enhancing tech and ZKPs can, of course, be used in many contexts.”

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