IBM Ethical Mineral Sourcing Blockchain to Debut in Spring

RCS Global Group, the solution’s auditors, testified that the pilot cobalt met Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) sourcing standards from its start in a Congolese mine, through its refinement in South Korea and ultimately to its target: an American Ford Motor Company plant.

The Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBN), an international consortium built on Hyperledger Fabric, announced Wednesday it had successfully completed a pilot project to protect against exploitative mining practices. The companies sent 1.5 tons of Congolese cobalt across three different continents over five months of refinement, clearing the way for the project to become operational in spring 2020.

Ford, Volkswagon, LG and Volvo plan to take a pilot project tracking cobalt during its refining process live in production next year.

While Ford, Volkswagon and LG had already been a part of the project, Volvo joined Wednesday, according to a press release.

LG Chem, the largest Korean chemical company, developed the batteries.

Cobalt components make up some 10 to 20 percent of the Lithium ion batteries carmakers favor, according to the Cobalt Institute.

Martina Buchhauser, Volvo’s head of procurement, said in a statement that the Swedish carmaker has always put a high priority on ethical mineral sourcing. This technology furthers that goal, she said, adding:

“With blockchain technology we can take the next step in ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimizing any related risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers.”

Expanding the supply chain

Dr. Nicholas Garrett, CEO of RCS Global Group said in a statement that RSBN is hoping to improve global ethical supply chains and will build off the lessons learned.

“We’ve reached significant new milestones as we’ve moved beyond testing, proving the merits of this coupled technology and assurance model can extend to a wide range of participants across every tier of the supply chain and to other minerals,” he said.

RSBN plans to add more battery minerals to its tracking platform, including lithium and nickel. From there, it will research ways to trace tungsten, tantalum, tin and gold.

Garrett was optimistic for the future of  the RSBN blockchain and his auditor’s role, saying:

“We expect significant positive social impact from our work.”

Identity Thief Spends $5 Million on Cloud Computing to Mine Cryptocurrency

Singaporean citizen Ho Jun Jia, 29, also known as Matthew Ho, was indicted for stealing over $5 million worth of cloud computing services to mine cryptocurrencies, according to a grand jury indictment from the U.S. District Court in Seattle, Washington.

Ho was arrested in Singapore and is being charged with wire fraud, access device fraud, aggravated identity theft.

The indictment alleges that Ho opened multiple accounts in cloud services providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), with at least three stolen identities and credit cards. He then used the cloud computing power to mine several cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and ethereum from October, 2017 to February, 2018, becoming one of the largest data users in terms of volume during the time.

With the stolen personal information, Ho subsequently posed as a prominent California video-game developer, a Texas resident and an Indian tech firm founder. He tricked cloud computing providers to approve heightened account privileges, increased computer processing power and storage and deferred billing.

The $5 million financial loss largely comes from unpaid cloud service bills that supported Ho’s mining operation, while some were actually paid by the California game developer’s financial staff before the fraud was detected.

Beside using the developer’s identity to open accounts in AWS, Ho also purchased cloud computing power for Google Cloud Services with the other two victims’ identities.

According to the indictment, the defendant converted the cryptocurrencies into traditional funds via several trading websites.

The court did not disclose the real identity of the three victims nor the amount of money Ho made from selling the cryptocurrencies.

Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while access device fraud and aggravated identity theft are punishable by up to ten years and two years in prison respectively, according to the court.

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