Blockchain adoption: Canada, Russia, and Starbucks to use distributed ledger tech

Banking with Blockchain

Canadian banks are taking a big step towards modernization as they deploy a blockchain-based user identification system.

Verified.Me, a digital identity system developed by SecureKey Technologies Inc., is now available through a mobile app to clients of Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Desjardins Group.

The identity verification systems will be also available to customers of Bank of Montreal and National Bank of Canada later this year. Sun Life Financial Inc. has also signed up for the service and will become the first North American insurer on the service.

Greg Wolfond, SecureKey’s CEO, expects a broader adoption of the system by the end of this year.

“Everything from being able to see your health records in a secure way, being able to open a new bank account, being able to get a new phone — all this stuff that’s so time-consuming and painful is going to get easier for consumers. They’re going to be able to share their data in a secure and trusted way, which they never really could before.”

Russia’s E-Vote

The Moscow City Duma, a local parliament of the Russian capital city, is planning to protect the process and results of an electronic voting system using blockchain technology in the university student council elections towards the end of June.

During a meeting at the Moscow Public Chamber, Artem Kostyrko, Deputy Head of the Information Technology Department (DIT) of Moscow, revealed:

“We plan to do a test vote in the summer, at the end of June, until the list of participants is determined. While we had conversations with student associations, there are elections to the main councils that have been held on the blockchain long time ago. Changes will have to be made to the program.”

The technicalities of the program will be sent for approval around May 15 and once the required legislation is passed and approved, the DIT will launch the program in public.

Coffee on the Blockchain

Starbucks has teamed up with Microsoft to use machine learning to gather customers preferences and connect coffee makers to blockchain services for tracing coffee.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, applauded the collaboration between the two firms.

“They are coming together to completely take what is that iconic experience that is Starbucks and incorporating digital throughout.”

Starbucks is extending the app recommendations based on order history to the drive-thru ordering process with digital boards that will make order recommendations.

The company will also connect its devices to the Cloud, hoping that it will make it easier and faster to update its menu. Previously, Starbucks would have to send USB drives to the stores and upload them manually into their computers, but now they can just send out updated recipes through the Cloud.

Ultimately, Microsoft is working to connect coffee consumers with coffee farmers, who will be able to use the Starbucks mobile app to trace the journey of their coffee from the farm where the beans originate, all the way to their cup.

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