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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
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29/10/18 11:22

“Shipping & Transport will change once and for all”

A few Marketplaces (ShipNext, SeaRates, AirRates) join hands to launch what is promised to become a unique, all included, intermodal transportation and Supply Chain Ecosystem Meanwhile Malta takes care of the regulation of ICOs

Although the name of the new Supply Chain Ecosystem is not yet announced, this will, indeed, create a unique real-time solution to ship any cargo regardless of type, size or packing.

This is the commitment made by the promoters – among which in the first row stands certainly the Ukrainian shipmanager, ship agent and shipping entrepreneur Alexander Varvarenko, owner of Varamar, with offices in Odessa, Hamburg, Dubai and Singapore, as well as CEO and co-founder of  the specialized IT platform Shipnext - of this new initiative in the field of block chains and their applications to the maritime world.

In fact, according to their declarations, several shipping and transport related marketplaces join hands to launch a unique, all included, intermodal transportation and Supply Chain Ecosystem. SHIPNEXT (www.shipnext.com) for dry- and wet-bulk, heavy and oversized cargo as well as SEARATES (www.searates.com) for containerized/multimodal transport and finally AIRRATES (www.airrates.com) for air shipments”.

“SHIPNEXT has been long involved with transforming the most conservative and traditional sector of the transportation industry - the shipping sector - with over 2,000 new cargo/freight requests each day and about 22,000 ship positions at any given moment” Varvarenko points out.

“SEARATES in its turn is the oldest resource dedicated to online logistics, since 2005, which today hits top 100,000 on Alexa ranking and is in top-5 websites in the world respect container shipping, having over 20,000 visitors every day, over 40,000 registered carriers and over 250,000 shippers, using logistics solutions, submitting online bookings and delivering cargo from A to B in a new smart & easy way (which now expands to air, road and rail with a certain targeting).

And now, as the shipping marketplaces of both SEARATES and SHIPNEXT are launched, and the electronic Bill of Lading solution is built, the teams are involved in building a Smart Contract on IBM's Hyperledger Fabric as the world's most unique "all in" solution for transportation”.

The promoters of the tool add that “similar to Google Maps, it will be able to provide a real-time solution for delivery of any type of cargo, anywhere in the world, with various modes of transport.

SHIPNEXT and SEARATES are launching a security token ICO to invite partners into the future network and ecosystem.

By his side, the owner of Varamar is moving fast in this direction; at the time of writing he announced that “as of today Varamar Group, as a time charter operator and commercial manager, shall hold any firm negotiations related to voyage and/or time chartering of three ships – Beautrophy, Beautriumph, Anna Maria - via SHIPNEXT.

However the scope of the latter is wider. In fact Varvarenko also announced that just one year ago – precisely on 29th October 2017 - Agroxy, the agricultural commodities & inputs marketplace entered into Strategic Alliance Agreement with SHIPNEXT in order to automate logistic services of agricultural commodities (wheat, corn, SFO and feeds).

“The focus of joint efforts shall be on automation of bulk, tanker, and container logistics of export orientated agro commodities. The aim is to provide real-time cost estimation and logistic booking solution that cover sea-freight, rail-freight, customs clearance, bulk ship firefight and related supply chain services (EXW>CPT>FOB>CIF automation). Upon regional (Black Sea) trials focus would be on deployment in other regional markets connecting global supply and demand.

The goal is well aligned with AGROXY strategy to build interconnected network of regional agro marketplace that will offer free services for small and midsize farmers around the globe with thorough consideration of local markets specifics.   

“Local is a New Global,  therefore I am looking forward to combine our agro trading services with logistics algorithms of CPT, FOB, CIF price estimation for Ukrainian agro commodities using ShipNext expertise. It shall reduce time, efforts and cost for farmers then it comes to exporting agro outputs overseas” the CEO of Agroxy UK, Andrii Dresviannikov, stated.

“SHIPNEXT has taken the strategy to build a Global Supply-Chain Ecosystem, through a decentralized Transportation Network. The recent alliance with SeaRates and this alliance with ARGOXY are the right steps towards our aim. We will be announcing more Partnerships and Alliances shortly” Varvarenko added, stating also that “both ShipNext and Agroxy have adopted hyperledger blockchain technology that allows further integration of Supply Chain management tools of both platforms with other digital service providers”.

 

Angelo Scorza

 

 

Meanwhile Malta takes care of the regulation of ICOs

 

Malta has taken central stage by becoming the first jurisdiction in the world to create a legal blockchain framework, tailor-made for the effective and consistent regulation of this technology.

The island country’s most popular credit institution, i.e. the BOV Bank of Valletta, took the chance to describe - in collaboration with compatriot law firm David Zahra & Associates Advocates - a  review of the Maltese blockchain framework with regard to one of the most fundamental uses of blockchain technology: the Initial Coin Offering (ICO), a revolutionary means of generating funding from investors, intended to fund the ICO creators’ idea or project.

The method used within the ICO process bear several similarities to the now-traditional practice of internet crowdfunding, made popular by websites like Kickstarter.com, but with a clear leap forward in terms of efficiency and functionality.

When an ICO is created, interested persons can invest their regular money – referred to as fiat currency in blockchain jargon – in the ICO, and receive crypto tokens or coins in return, which effectively act as digital coupons for future participation in the project or service being crowdfunded by the ICO.

The creation of an ICO was initially a complicated technological process, but with the passing of time, newer and more user-friendly means of harnessing blockchain technology have been developed. This simplification has acted as something of a double-edged sword, however, as the lowered bar of difficulty has led to the creation of a middle-class of ICO developers.

These middling developers have been given the means to create an ICO and distribute their vision to potential investors, but lack the competence or resources necessary to follow through on their promises after the ICO crowdfunding process is over.

Naturally neither is there any shortage of malicious ICO creators who have used blockchain buzz to defraud unassuming parties into investing their fiat money into hopeless or even fictitious projects.

What, however, is the solution to this lack of trustworthiness, which has infiltrated the blockchain environment which is primarily intended to guarantee trust? 

An answer has been developed in Malta, where two years of research and development has led to the creation of a regulatory system – a legal blockchain framework – intended to introduce legal certainty and standards of quality to the ICO sector.

The Maltese blockchain framework will act as a filter process to guarantee that the only ICOs offered to the public are those which have achieved, and are able to maintain, high standards of quality and reliability. This is due to regulation which will verify the ICO’s quality at its inception, and will also provide long-term, continuous supervisory regulation, to make sure that promises made to investors are kept. The Maltese authorities will provide a regulatory stamp of approval, which will guarantee to all interested investors that the ICO in question is legitimate and has surpassed the standards of quality required by the Maltese framework.

According to the Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFAA) the Maltese framework will apply to cryptocurrency tokens and coins which are classified as virtual financial assets (VFAs).

The principle requirement to create an ICO within the ambit of the Maltese framework is a White Paper which satisfies all the requirements set out by the VFAA, a document which traditionally accompanies the vast majority of ICOs, and can be likened to a marketing brochure or prospectus.

According to the VFAA, the White Paper should include a brief and concise summary of the technical properties of the crypto token or coin being issued by the ICO, as well as details regarding the persons behind the White Paper and the ICO project, details regarding the expenses already undertaken and the future financial prospects of the project, and details regarding protective measures being taken to safeguard against any possibility of money-laundering. The document should then be certified by a VFA Agent, who will confirm that all information being presented by the issuers of the ICO is factual, before presenting the document to the Maltese authorities.

The system revolves around the role of the VFA Agent, who acts as a Maltese representative – necessarily resident in Malta – which every ICO must appoint. The latter is an accredited professional who has been registered as a VFA Agent by the Maltese authorities, after a thorough confirmation of the VFA Agent’s competence in the field and acts as a first line of defence to ensure an ICO’s full conformity with the VFAA.

Ten days after the White Paper has been delivered to the Maltese authorities by the VFA Agent, the ICO may begin the offer of its crypto tokens to the public; even after this move, the VFA Agent has a continuous role whereby he is required to act as a liaison between the administrators of the ICO and Maltese authorities since he is to assume a role of thorough independence throughout to ensure to be always on the lookout for possible legal violations.

The Maltese blockchain framework is also capable of regulating VFA services, which shall be regulated in conformity with the class of services being provided. These service classes include investment advice in relation to VFAs, the management of portfolios of VFA assets, and even the operation of a cryptocurrency exchange. There has been overwhelming interest in the latter, particularly when news hit that Binance, the world’s leading crypto exchange, would be setting up a base in Malta in order to take advantage of the country’s world-leading blockchain framework.

The ingenuity of the Maltese framework is best represented by Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act (ITAS): a less popular but equally interesting legislative instrument which also forms a crucial part of Malta’s blockchain framework. The ITAS introduces a system of regulation applicable to smart contracts, flexible enough to capture agreements based on artificial intelligence, which are expected to become increasingly commonplace in the coming years.

This demonstrates exactly how the Maltese legislative approach has gone beyond the current status quo of the blockchain environment, and has devised a legal framework which is prepared not only for the sector as we know it today, but also for the mainstream implementation of blockchain technology in our daily lives.

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