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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
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21/01/19 10:55

The two sides of the most state-of-the-art technologies discussed on the Lake

Lugano hosted two conventions organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Switzerland and by Finlantern about blockchains and cyber security, risk factors and opportunities for all companies

Lugano hosted two conventions on the most important current issues – blockchain and cyber security – implying equal risk factors and opportunities for companies within any sectors.

The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Switzerland, in cooperation with the newco Noku and sponsored by Banca dello Stato del Canton Ticino, organized a round table entitled “Blockchain, the new chain of trust. How this new technology is revolutionizing relationships between citizens and institutions” at the new centre LAC Lugano Arts & Culture, hosting exhibitions, events and congresses on the Lake Lugano’s shore.

At the event chaired by Marina Bottinelli, Noku’s Founder & CEO Roberto Gorini stood out among the two main speakers, i.e. Ticino for Finance President Franco Citterio and Ministry for Economic Development undersecretary Andrea Cioffi.

The entrepreneur - already co-founder of the bank Banca Popolare di Forlì, book writer (he wrote two books on this topic: Matrix economy, 2014 and Cryptoeconomy, 2016) and blogger – established the company Noku in German-speaking Switzerland, having moved there 7 years ago.

Defined as the “No Banks Society”, the Zug-based AG is a personalized platform (created by 20 skilled programmers) that creates interfaces to use blockchains in order to fill the gap between the most complex technology currently available and the mass market. In this way, it provides an all-in-one ecosystem allowing anyone to create their own token without having to write any lines of code, to exchange values and to launch their own blockchain projects in the most simple and reliable way possible.

The well-know “digital token”, a cryptocurrency that can be used for manifold purposes, as an exchange means to obtain services, is only the latest novelty introduced by Noku, that last year had launched an Initial Coin offering (Ico), issuing the “Noku master token”, i.e. a cryptocurrency to pay for the services provided by using the blockchain of Ethereum, the most well-known platform for the production of tokens; while in the past months it created its “web wallet” to transfer and exchange cryptocurrencies.

Gorini briefly summed up this virtual phase of the economy in simple terms: “With our services, we aim at supporting the “tokenization” of economic models, which will be a recurring theme in upcoming years. The reasons to issue a token are manifold like, for example, distributing the profits of a company to “token holders”, i.e. the purchasers who had financed the initial phase of the start-up which issued them.

This huge certified database is a social revolution with the same impact that the Internet had. The blockchain exists since 2008 – the entrepreneur pointed out – and essentially it is a database telling only the truth because data are no longer alterable, that is present worldwide and includes a certain number of computers all telling the same thing, thus recording indelible and non-rectifiable transactions, freely available to anyone, in a transparent and accessible manner”.

Promoting “monetary stability” – i.e. equality of purchasing power between 1 Euro, 1 Franc, 1 Pound in the cryptofinance designed by Noku – Gorini recalled the positive example of a “state-of the-art Country such as Dubai, which is planning to become the first country exclusively “powered by blockchain”, where everything is true and verifiable, and without any risk of forgeries.

“Blockchain is a very good thing because it levels the corporate governance pyramid”, the entrepreneur concluded referring to this novelty that seems to imply only benefits and advantages for mankind.

Meanwhile, a few hundred kilometres away, in one of the most renowned hotels of Lugano, they held a meeting focusing on several disturbing factors for companies of any calibre and sector.

As a matter of fact, the technological novelties that characterize this increasingly digitalized era inevitably imply the risk to become victims of themselves.

This was the “leitmotiv” chosen by the organizers of Finlantern, the Lugano-based networking company established by Riccardo Esposito and specialized in finance and trading – which developed also shipping and logistics competence by exploiting the expertise of its partner Ship2Shore -  for the 4° Networking Dinner held by the Lugano Commodity & Shipping Club, an opportunity to get in touch with other professionals involved in the shipping and trading sectors in the Canton of Ticino, boasting also participants from all over Europe.

After the first three editions held in the spring, summer and autumn of 2018, the new meeting of professionals and entrepreneurs – who were invited to discuss (in English) about current problems and to get updated about the most recent changes of the scenario in order to develop synergies – focused on “Digital Forensic and Cyber Security in the era of free movement of information”.

More specifically, the small number of qualified participants coming from Greece, Norway, German-speaking Switzerland, French-speaking Switzerland, Italy and Morocco and gathered at the Hotel Splendide Royal discussed about cyber risk.

The welcome speech was delivered by Jean-Lous Jaumin from ICSM, a commodities trading established in Geneva (Switzerland) in 2013 and taken over by the Pixa family in 2017, operating worldwide and with connections in Africa, Middle East, South America, Europe and South-Eastern Asia, especially in the oil sector, which developed a diversified combination of trading, marketing, bunkering, freight forwarding and terminal activities within its fully integrated business vision.

The company sponsoring the event has a subsidiary called Cadoil which in August 2016 launched a trading activity in its Italian branch in Milan to deal with the distribution of oil products from its depot in Venice Marghera, its second supply point after its ODT coastal depot in Malaga (Spain), with which it recently entered into a long term lease agreement.

In turn, Noam Herold, from the London company CyberLynx Security Ltd (with operational offices in Luxembourg), gave a very interesting speech about the risks to which all companies are exposed to, often without even realising it.

“As a cover of The Economist reads, picturing oil platforms built underneath information depots of giants like Google and Amazon, today the real wealth is no longer oil, rather data as they are what keeps the world’s economy moving. As newspapers headlines often show, if you control data you are doing business, but if you lose control of them you are out of it. Therefore, the key words are protecting, recovering and discovering the data we have”, the “guru” of cyber security explained.

“This is protected by two incentives: new regulations like the GDPR, which creates an obligation to protect data, thus being a less intensive input, and the need to work with the complete data domain because, if I lose them, how will I be able to work?”.

According to the surveys to which Herold referred to, it takes 6 months in order to realize that one has suffered a cyber attack, and at that point it is often too late.

Moreover, small companies are hackers’ main targets for several reasons, the first one being that they are unlikely to have the necessary internal resources to defend themselves.

“Usually they think that having a good IT manager is enough to have a sufficient defence, but this is hardly ever the case, also because they often use standard antiviruses. This deficit jeopardizes companies”, the safety manager continued, pointing out that, once our data have been stolen, it is not easy to demonstrate that they were really ours, thus being able to recover them.

“Besides, it is not always a typical independent hacker’s theft with a consequent redemption request, rather it is a theft ordered by competitors or by internal officers who are planning to reconstitute the company outside unbeknown to the owners, being the injured party. Be careful because, unlike other industries, shipping is probably one of the sectors of the economy that is more exposed to this risk, although shipping operators seem not to have understood yet that they need the same level of safety of a bank”, Harold warned.

This sounds like a rather worrying conclusion for the international maritime-port cluster.

 

Angelo Scorza

 

 

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