Telegram to Debut ‘Test Version’ of Blockchain Platform TON ‘This Autumn,’ Say Investors

Encrypted messenger service Telegram will release a test version of its blockchain-based TON platform “this autumn,” Russian media outlet Vedomosti reports Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Speaking to the publication, investors “confirmed” the authenticity of a circular sent to participants in TON’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO) at the start of September.

In the circular, the company said that the platform’s blockchain component was currently under development, with “70 percent” of the product already finished, the publication claims.

Once in operation, TON will also make use of its in-house cryptocurrency, Gram, and will form a “new way of exchanging data.”

Telegram attracted considerable attention earlier this year when it raised almost $1.8 billion in investments for TON and its current messenger app via two private ICO presales.

Following the success of the fundraising, in May executives subsequently cancelled the planned public phase of the ICO.

At the time, Russian media also speculated that authorities’ attempts to block access to Telegram altogether for the country’s residents was a result of the ICO and plans to release Gram, rather than the official explanation that the service flouted data sharing laws.

CEO Pavel Durov declined to comment when asked by Vedomosti to confirm the TON release timeframe.

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Source: Cointelegraph

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DocuSign Will Add Ethereum Blockchain Integration to Verify Signatures

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San Francisco based DocuSign has announced the integration of the Ethereum blockchain into its electronic signature and transaction management service.

The company, which currently has over 400,000 paying customers, will now have an option for customers to have evidence of a DocuSigned agreement automatically recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. This option will be an alternative to the company’s native system for verifying signatures and is poised to be a natural fit for customers who want to have evidence of their agreements in a neutral environment.

Ron Hirson, chief product officer at DocuSign, stated in the release:

“For customers that opt-in, DocuSign will compute a one-way cryptographic hash fingerprint for every completed transaction, and write the value to the Ethereum blockchain — the most popular blockchain for smart contracts in our view.”

He went further to explain the hash will act as “tamper-proof evidence for the transaction” that “enables any completed document to be validated independently. And by using the Ethereum blockchain, that third party evidence for a transaction is accessible to anyone.”

The company has been researching on smart contract since it first collaborated with Visa, creating one of the first public prototypes. The prototype, which was developed in 2015, was a proof-of-concept that brought together secure contracts and payments made online via a connected car prototype developed by Visa for car-based commerce.

At the time, Hirson said:

“This proof-of-concept makes it easier and faster for customers to get out the door in their new car by bringing together smart contracts and payments so that customers can electronically sign all pertinent documents and seamlessly pay in one fully digital experience.”

The company has also joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, as it hopes to continue innovating in the space. DocuSign recently relaunched a new developer center.

In a tweet shared on Oct. 13, the company also unveiled other new product features including Intelligent Insights and mobile document scanning into its operations. According to the report, mobile document scanning, which was released to iOS devices last year, is now compatible with Android devices.

This allows you to scan any document and then edit, crop, and resize them before importing them into DocuSign for your signature. Intelligent Insights is another feature that uses AI-based search and agreement analytics to go beyond keywords in understanding agreement clauses in the way a human would, e.g., knowing that a clause about Internet cookies is a document centered on privacy, even when the keyword “privacy” is absent.

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Chinese Insurance Giant Ping An Bets on Blockchain, AI, Cloud in Fintech Push

Ping An Finance Center Shenzhen ChinaImage: Ping An Finance Center Shenzhen, China, dcmaster, Flickr

Ping An Insurance, the largest insurer by market value in mainland China and second-largest life insurer in terms of premiums, is betting on technologies including blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud to pursue its fintech push.

At the firm’s Investor Day in Shenzhen last week, themed Core Finance, some of Ping An’s top executives delivered presentations and analysis of Ping An’s value, retail banking business transformation, risk management of investment, and technology strategy in life insurance.

Jason Yao, CFO and chief actuary of the group, said:

“We will further improve the strategy of Finance + Technology and pursue Finance + Ecosystem.

“By leveraging five key technologies, namely AI, blockchain, cloud, big data, and security, we will keep improving efficiency, lowering costs, optimizing user experience, and strengthening risk control, to enhance competitiveness.”

Ping An’s Finance + Technology platform, part of the firm’s “pan financial assets” strategy, offers customers insurance, banking and asset management.

Under its “pan healthcare” strategy, the company uses a Finance + Ecosystem platform to offer Internet users five ecosystems covering financial services, healthcare, auto services, real estate services and Smart City services.

Ping An has been an early adopter of blockchain technology. In August, the group jointly cooperated with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to build an international trade financing platform based on blockchain technology.

With 179 million customers and 485 million Internet users, Ping An is one of the largest financial services companies in the world.

The firm’s wholly owned fintech offshoot, Ping An Technology, develops and operates the mission critical platforms and services that support the insurance, banking, investment and internet businesses of the group. It is also the technology incubator for the group.

From this wellspring came startups including peer-to-peer lender Lufax Holding, healthcare portal Good Doctor, also known as Ping An Healthcare and Technology, and Ping An Healthcare And Technology, a mobile app for booking hospital visits.

Good Doctor is the country’s largest healthcare and online medical platform. In 2017, the company posted a net profit of 10.8 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion).

Good Doctor, the conglomerate’s first Hong Kong-listed fintech spinoff, raised US$1.12 billion in its initial public offering (IPO) in April.

Lufax Holdings, which became profitable for the first time in 2017, is planning a Hong Kong listing this year that could value the spinoff at about US$60 billion.

Earlier this year, Ping An unveiled plans to invest up to US$15.8 billion in fintech in the next ten years.