Ethereum is now being used by the United Nations and a subsidiary of RWE, and Germany is cracking down on OneCoin. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 18:
- As of May 1 the United Nations (UN) will has begun distributing funds to thousands of people in Jordan as part of a trial using the Ethereum blockchain. For the entire month, cryptographically unique coupons representing an undisclosed number of Jordanian dinars will be sent to dozens of shops in five refugee camps across the nation. Then, instead of using a smartphone or a paper wallet to access the funds, recipients will rely on yet another emerging technology. Eye-scanning hardware made by London-based IrisGuard, already in place to verify the identity of some of the 500,000 recipients currently receiving traditional aid, is being repurposed to grant access to coupons. The Jordanian coupon project will see a total of more than 10,000 people receiving funds, according to WFP financial officer.
- A subsidiary of RWE, one of Germany’s biggest energy and gas provider with 30 million customers and billions of revenue, has launched 100s of electronic vehicles (EV) charging stations all over Germany, connected to Ethereum’s public blockchain. Carsten Stöcker, Senior Manager at Innogy Innovation Hub – a subsidiary of RWE created last year by splitting the renewable, network and retail businesses of RWE into a separate entity – publicly stated: “100s of EV Charging Assets all over Germany Blockchainified will be using asset-backed Crypto-EURO for payments,” before adding “our EV Charging assets will be on the public Ethereum blockchain and further assets across EU will be connected soon.”
- Germany is stepping up its ongoing crackdown on OneCoin, a digital currency investment scheme widely believed to be fraudulent. The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) has issued new cease-and-desist orders to two holding companies connected to OneCoin – Onecoin Ltd, Dubai and OneLife Network Ltd – ordering them to “dismantle their internet based ‘OneCoins’ trading system” and to “end all sales promotion activities” in Germany effective immediately. OneCoin is an investment scheme centered around a purported digital currency, for which packages of “tokens” are sold that can later be exchanged. The operation has long been accused of operating a pyramid scheme, as participants are encouraged by advocates to find other buyers. A full fraud risk assessment has been featured on Digiconomist as well and can be found here.
- Sonnen GmbH, simply known as Sonnen, the German company which develops home energy systems for private households and small businesses, is planning to utilize Blockchain technology to distribute renewable energy such as solar power in Germany. On May 2, Sonnen revealed its partnership with TenneT, the first power grid operator to use decentralized residential storage batteries in Germany. They aim to utilize the cloud-based Blockchain platform of IBM built on top of the Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain protocol to better store and distribute renewable energy throughout Germany with a higher level of transparency, in real time. In essence, Sonnen is implementing a decentralized and immutable technology in Blockchain to avoid “traffic jams” on power grids.
- Compared to the previous week the price of Bitcoin has increased by almost 19 percent, with the exchange rate currently at about $1,571 per BTC. The price of Ethereum increased by more than 37 percent over the same period, taking Ether up to a rate of $94.93 per ETH. Ethereum Classic gained more than 45 percent, with the price increasing to $7.18 per ETC. Zcash gained around 16 percent. One ZEC is now trading at roughly $103 per coin.