UK Startup to Help BMW Source Cobalt via Blockchain

BMW will use transaction-recording technology blockchain to prove batteries for its electric vehicles will contain only clean cobalt
06 March 2018   536

Automaker BMW has partnered with Circulor, a London-based start-up, to use transaction-recording technology blockchain to prove batteries for its electric vehicles will contain only clean cobalt.

The competition is intensifying to use blockchain, the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, to try to eliminate battery minerals produced by child labor.

Cobalt is in focus because around two-thirds of the world’s supplies are from Democratic Republic of Congo, where roughly one-fifth of cobalt is mined in unregulated artisanal mines.

The start-up Circulor is meanwhile working on a pilot for BMW to map cobalt that is already assumed to be clean because it comes from jurisdictions such as Australia and Canada or from industrial production in Congo, Circulor said.

We believe it makes economic sense to start with sources that aren’t a problem. Once the system is proven and operating at scale, one can tackle the harder use cases like artisanal mines. 


Douglas Johnson-Poensgen
CEO, Circulor

A BMW spokesman said the firm could not comment at this stage.

The pilot shows it is possible to give clean cobalt a barcode and enter the main stages of its journey on to an immutable ledger using blockchain technology because that is an efficient way to prove cobalt is clean, it had the potential to cut regulatory compliance costs, although the economics still needed to be proved.

Japan to Tighten Regulation Due to Zaif Hack

$ 62 000 000 worth cryptocurrency was stolen from the Zaif exchange few weeks ago
25 September 2018   83

Hacking of Zaif exchange is the reason for toughening control over the market by the financial regulator of Japan, Reuters reports.

The first measure taken was administrative sanctions against the exchange and its operator Tech Bureau Corp. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) has expanded the list of requirements for the latter, pointing out the need to identify preventive measures and search for the organizers of the theft.

Shortly before that, researchers of the Japanese financial company Tech Bureau Corp could not provide details of the theft of $ 62 million from the Zaif crypto exchange at the request of the FSA. The Osaka-based operator had to investigate the causes, consequences of the theft and options for compensating the victims. According to the Agency, the financial company could not cope with the task.

According to the Tech Bureau, the exchange was hacked on September 14 within a few hours. The problem with the server was discovered by the site staff on 17 September. Official confirmation of the incident and notification of the authorities was made only a day later.

Recall, the theft of $ 60 million from the Japanese stock exchange Zaif caused a surge of volatility of bitcoin. For a short time the price was able to overcome the distance of $ 400.