Korean Government-Backed Researchers File for Blockchain Patent


A South Korean government-funded organization has submitted a blockchain-related patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), public documents show.

The application, which was submitted by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) on January 10 of this year, details a blockchain-powered system for managing data that belongs to public organizations.

More specifically, the system, fueled by a number of servers, would record the financial transaction history of a public organization on a blockchain. To boost the system's reliability, a third-party server is also introduced to the structure as it does «a mathematical operation.»

At the heart of the concept is an effort to boost transparency around information tied to public organizations.

As the application explains:

«An income history or an expenditures history of the public organizations that enforce the national budget and non-profit organizations that raise donations needs to be transparently managed. However, even though there are many possibilities that the server may be attacked or manipulated/tampered internally, it is difficult for ordinary citizens or donors to know the income history and the expenditures history of public organizations.»

Alongside the U.S. patent, ETRI submitted a similar application to the Korean Intellectual Property Office in January 2017.

The application is a notable example of a government-funded organization moving to obtain patent rights around an application of blockchain.

ETRI, according to its official site, was founded in 1976 and is one of the most elite research organizations in the field of telecommunication in South Korea. It's also an active patent-seeker, its published data shows, with more than 10,000 patent applications submitted thus far.

Lawmakers to Discuss If Crypto Is 'The Future of Money' Next Week


Cryptocurrencies will take center stage once again on Capitol Hill next week.

The U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee announced Thursday that it would host a hearing titled «The Future of Money: Digital Currency» on Wednesday, July 18.

Though the Committee, headed by Chairman Jeb Hensarling, has yet to announce a full list of participating witnesses, CoinDesk confirmed that the event will be livestreamed on its website.

Past hearings by the Committee have seen lawmakers discuss cryptocurrencies through the lenses of terrorism financing and fraudulent investments, as previously reported by CoinDesk.

That being said, it seems the topic of next week's hearing is more geared towards debating the utility of cryptocurrencies as a form of money.

It is a timely topic in light of an increasing interest in cryptocurrencies as a potentially useful monetary tool for governments and more specifically, central banks, around the world. In March, the Bank of International Settlements, what some consider as the central bank to central banks, argued cryptocurrencies backed by central banks could in fact fuel faster bank runs during periods of financial instability.

Other countries including Canada, Finland and South Korea have weighed in on the matter, though responses have been mixed with trepidation.

Spain's Lawmakers Push for Blockchain Use in Governance


Spain's ruling party believes the government should utilize blockchain to operate the country's public administration more efficiently.

Last week, 133 deputies from the Popular Party submitted a blockchain-related proposal to the Congress of Deputies, the lower chamber of the Spanish Parliament. This proposal recommends that the government introduce blockchain «with the aim of improving internal processes and [providing] traceability, robustness and transparency in decision making,» according to public documents.

The document continued:

«The introduction of blockchain — in administrative concessions, contracting or internal processes — will encourage greater control, traceability and transparency in the processes. In addition, the use of this technology can also bring extra revenue to the Administration through the promotion of new models of exchange of rights in sectors such as logistics, tourism or infrastructure. „

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The EOS Arbitrator Problem: A Crypto Governance Breakdown Explained


«They have to figure their own shit out.»

Those were the harsh words of one of EOS' top «block producers» – the network participants in charge of maintaining the blockchain – on Monday as the world's fifth largest cryptocurrency attracted public ridicule for its current state of confusion.

As told to CoinDesk by Kevin Rose, co-founder and head of strategy at EOS New York, the statement could reflect the broader snags the software has faced since release, but this comment was focused specifically on the EOS Core Arbitration Forum (ECAF).

So far, it seems many both inside and outside the EOS community aren't clear what ECAF, the main body tasked with resolving disputes between token holders on the network, is and what control it has over transactions.

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Chile Is Using Ethereum's Blockchain to Track Energy Data


Chile will use ethereum's blockchain as a way to record energy sector statistics, its government announced Thursday.

The National Energy Commission, which is a part of the country's Energy Ministry, said it would commit data to the public ethereum ledger in order to «augment levels of security, integrity, traceability and confidence in the information available to the public,» according to a statement.

The commission is particularly concerned that its databases can be hacked and manipulated. The ethereum-based approach represents an alternative method for data storage, given that distributing records among a large number of nodes helps to alleviate that concern.

The commission has already begun committing some data to the blockchain, including information about installed electricity-generating capacity, average market prices, marginal costs, hydrocarbon prices and compliance with laws requiring that renewables account for a certain share of electricity generation.

Following this first stage of the project, known as «Energia Abierta» or «Open Energy,» the commission will study the results and share them with other companies and government bodies in the sector.

Susana Jimenez, Chile's energy minister, said in a statement:

«We are interested in taking this technology from a conceptual level to a concrete case, understanding that it's considered to be the most disruptive technology of the last decade by world-class experts, and that it could be part of day-to-day life in the next few years.»
The commission's decision to use an open blockchain like ethereum as opposed to a so-called permissioned network stands out. The statement explained that having «hundreds of thousands of servers» authenticating the data makes it more trustworthy and difficult to alter.

Note: Statements in this article were translated from Spanish.