The Naval Air Warfare Center, a California-based research group of the U.S. Navy, has given blockchain software startup Simba Chain nearly $10 million to put a secure messaging platform in play.
“The platform will be up this year, with on going updates over the next 4 years,” Simba Chain CEO Joel Neidig told Cointelegraph in a Feb. 6 email.
The Naval research group recently called on Simba Chain to install a safe avenue for communication and transaction, built on the blockchain for the Department of Defense, or DoD, a Feb. 6 press release detailed.
A sizable endeavor, the Naval Air Warfare Center has given Simba Chain $9.5 million as part of a Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, Phase III agreement lasting five years.
“This is the first of many contracts,” Neidig said regarding upcoming phases after the current mentioned stage. “We will be announcing the next contracts later in the spring,” he added.
Ongoing workSimba Chain is no stranger to U.S. military work. The startup began building a blockchain-based supply chain solution for the U.S. Air Force in August 2019.
As part of a former SBIR contract, Simba Chain worked on the current DoD platform, building and testing the blockchain-based communication system, the press release said. This third phase targets the solution’s complete deployment.
LogisticsBuilt using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, the communication platform applies to land and water operations, allowing for safe data exchange.
“This is a win not just for SIMBA and our partners, but also for the DoD, which has pursued with single-minded focus, a solution to conduct sensitive, mission-critical operations in a manner that is immutable and non-refutable,” Neidig said in the release. “We plan to deliver a ‘bulletproof’ platform that meets all objectives.”
The U.S. military also has multiple other blockchain-based interests, as Cointelegraph detailed in an August 2019 report.
Blockchain-enabled applications developer Acoer has created a data visualization tool to track the deadly coronavirus. The tool, known as the HashLog data visualization engine, interacts in real-time with Hedera Hashgraph’s distributed ledger technology. This allows researchers, scientists and journalists to understand the spread of the coronavirus and its trends over time through visuals presented on Acoer’s HashLog dashboard.
Acoer’s CEO, Jim Nasr, told Cointelegraph that the HashLog tool pulls data from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization to capture useful information regarding the virus. He said:
“HashLog allows for the real-time visualization of coronavirus data and trends. This includes the overall number of cases globally, rates of deaths and recovery per infections (where we have reliable data), cases filtered by country, as well as Google trends by interest and region on coronavirus.”
While Nasr was unable to mention specific organizations and names, he said that HashLog has drawn interest from public health officials at federal and state levels in the United States, along with journalists from blockchain and health care outlets. He also noted that there have been a few international inquiries requesting to use the tool.
Although HashLog may sound similar to other coronavirus real-time tracking tools, like the map created by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering, Nasr explained that its dashboard is more advanced than most solutions, saying that the data is not easy to visualize or extract:
“With HashLog, our objective is to make data collection automated. The tool provides researchers with dynamic dashboards that change as criteria is filtered in any one widget/dashboard component. It also lets users directly download filtered data from the visualizations.”
Interestingly, both the data tracking map created by Johns Hopkins University and HashLog show the specific regions where the coronavirus has been reported. The Center for Disease Control map only shows the virus reported per country. However, the CDC also offers more in-depth information regarding the virus, such as reports of cases in the U.S., along with information for travelers and health professionals.
A single source of truth to track the coronavirusHashLog works by interacting in real-time with Hedera Hashgraph’s distributed ledger technology, which is a database that is consensually shared and synchronized across multiple sites, organizations or regions helping to track the virus more efficiently.
It’s important to note that while blockchain is a type of distributed ledger, Hedera Hashgraph’s white paper explains that the company’s technology incorporates every transaction into its ledger. This should make Hedera’s technology more efficient than typical blockchain-based solutions, as it can, for example, serve as a master database that is capable of receiving multiple updates in near real-time.
Hedera Hashgraph’s CEO, Mance Harmon, told Cointelegraph that health care and public health information is a key area where distributed ledger technologies can provide computational trust, serving as a source of truth for multiple parties. He said:
“Hedera's distributed ledger technology ensures that information cannot be manipulated or changed without the world seeing it. Acoer's Hashlog takes advantage of Hedera as the trust layer of the internet to allow users to be confident in the real-time information they receive related to the coronavirus.”
Mance further explained that this use case utilizes Hedera’s mirror node functionality, letting any user who wants to view the ledger tracking the coronavirus to run a mirror node. He explained:
“The way to think about mirror nodes is to store the transaction history from the mainnet. The mainnet nodes are run by our council members. These nodes process transactions, putting them into a consensus order-stream. This information streams to all the mirror nodes in the world, letting anyone who wants to see and analyze the data from the mainnet.”
According to Mance, mirror nodes are capable of scaling infinitely, tracking anything from health care to financial information as a source of truth.
Blockchain’s role to support coronavirus victimsBlockchain technology is also being used to support the thousands of coronavirus victims. On Feb. 4, Hyperchain launched a blockchain-based platform that is being used to track medical supply donations sent to hospitals in central China.
Hyperchain’s platform uses blockchain to ensure that donations are traceable and immutable, providing donors with transparency to see exactly where their donations are going to fight against the coronavirus.
IBM Food Trust blockchain platform has onboarded one more French manufacturer seeking to enhance transparency of product provenance and supply chain.
The Avril Group, a vegetable oil, eggs and protein manufacturer, and the owner of brands Matines and Lesieur, has begun using IBM Food Trust network to ensure traceability of its products, according to a Feb. 4 press release.
Improving corporate social responsibility and customer experienceBy applying blockchain, the Avril Group expects to make improvements in its corporate social responsibility, especially when it comes to sectors such as quality livestock and the consideration of animal welfare.
Matines is looking to advance customer experience, providing greater transparency through a QR code printed inside the egg box, which directs customers to an application containing a wide range of data related to the eggs they consume — from the way the hens are fed to the date of dispatch to the warehouses of the distributors.
Food producers actively embrace blockchainIn January, CHO, one of the largest olive oil producers in the southern Mediterranean, announced that it is using IBM’s blockchain technology to provide traceability for its Terra Delyssa extra virgin olive oil. Speaking with Cointelegraph on the development, vice president of IBM Blockchain Supply Chain Solutions, Ramesh Gopinath, said:
“The best part of the IBM Food Trust network is its ability to connect members of the supply chain together, like the end consumer with the farmer. CHO has done just this, as every entity involved can share data, which not only provides traceability and food information, but also shows where food trust is heading in general.”
Food manufacturers have been actively pursuing blockchain adoption, in recent months. Retail giants Carrefour and Nestlé began using IBM’s Food Trust blockchain platform to track the supply chain of milk-based formula for infants, last November. The firms thus aim to advance consumer confidence in product quality.
That same month, Singapore-based blockchain application platform VeChain unveiled a new blockchain tracking system for the food and beverage industry. The company had worked with food certification group DNV GL and supply chain specialist ASI Group on the project, known as Foodgates.