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[BUIDL 2019]Rakuten·SKT also on the blockchain front

Rakuten gets the nod Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce company, has entered the blockchain business. Hajime Nishinomiya, a manager at Rakuten, detailed the company’s project on blockchain. Even before the announcement, the retailer released 1 trillion Super Points for its loyalty program and made an effort to redeem them for legal currencies. Rakuten’s blockchain business dates back to 2014, when the company made an investment into Bitnet, a gateway service provider. It went on to explore different blockchain projects through its platform and cryptocurrency-related services. The company currently supports the development of open-source software for bitcoin and ethereum. The manager also detailed the company’s ongoing project, saying that “Rakuten already gained approval for cryptocurrency business.” “Rakuten has developed its own wallet, which is set to be released this summer. We also plan to adopt blockchain technology to our existing financial services,” Nishinomiya said. Also in the cards is a service involving the atomic swap of tokens. Atomic swap refers to a peer-to-peer exchange of cryptocurrencies from one party to another, without going through a third-party service like a crypto exchange. Rakuten is planning a blockchain-backed service via non-fungible tokens, cooperation with India to stave off the spread of fake news using the technology and an automated system that connects artificial intelligence with blockchain. “Blockchain will solve the problems that have loomed large in centralized system,” the manager said. Differing paths of SKT and Line Another notable point was that Line and SK Telecom are taking differing approaches to blockchain. “Line has come to the conclusion that it can’t cover all types of [blockchain] services based on last year’s experience,” said Lee Hong-gyu, head of Unchain, a company that worked on the development of LinkChain, Line’s blockchain platform. “Currently, we are focused on developing services that can be used in people’s daily lives. We are especially looking into the concept of decentralizing finance. While operating the beta service of Linkme, we will launch an official version in October. A testnet may be unveiled in the first half of next year,” he said. On the other hand, SK Telecom is pushing forward a blockchain project with its STON Ledger system. The STON Ledger is a platform based on the Hyperledger Fabric private blockchain. There is no coin for the platform, which suggests that the carrier holds a differing view on blockchain and cryptocurrency. IBM holds a similar view. Lee Kang-won, head of SK Telecom’s CloudLabs, said that “SK Telecom will incorporate the STON service into areas including wallets, smart contracts, security storage, self-verification, payment, content and the Internet of Things. ”

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