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Daimler Carries Out First Transaction on Marco Polo Blockchain Trade Network

Automaker Daimler has carried out its first transaction on the blockchain-based Marco Polo trade finance network.

The pilot commercial trade transaction saw the firm – which owns Mercedes-Benz among other brands – process the data required to exchange payments with engineering firm and parts builder Dürr, according to a press release sent to CoinDesk on Wednesday. German bank Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) was also involved in the trade.

The pilot involved an order and delivery agreement for a balancing system from Dürr subsidiary Schenck arranged over Marco Polo. Payment was prearranged through a conditional commitment from Daimler’s bank.

Once the ordered equipment was delivered, the fulfillment data was entered onto Marco Polo and automatically reconciled with the agreed transaction data, thus triggering an irrevocable payment obligation.

Founded by startups R3 and TradeIX, Marco Polo is built on R3’s Corda blockchain platform. The network aims to deliver real-time connectivity, boost transparency in trading relationships and lower barriers to accessing capital.

Currently, arranging traditional paper-based payments for international trade transactions is inefficient and and slow, requiring multiple systems and a number of intermediaries such as logistics providers, insurers, customs authorities, according to LBBW’s announcement.

The pilot – conducted in “minutes instead of days” – had persuaded Dürr and Daimler that blockchain can make the process “faster and simpler,” said the bank.

Susanne Schlegel, CFO of Schenck and Dürr Division Measuring and Process Systems, said:

“We focus on efficiency increases not only with regard to our machines and systems, but also to our business processes. The successful pilot project between Daimler and LBBW demonstrates the intrinsic efficiency potential of digital trade finance processes. Innovative platforms and technologies such as Marco Polo and Corda allow us to reduce complexities in order fulfillment – to the benefit of all participants”

The ability to automatically trigger payments was a milestone for the network, announced in August. Marco Polo’s first such transaction involved LBBW and Commerzbank and saw logistics provider Logwin AG adding data to the blockchain to initiate the payment obligation.

Marco Polo has also announced notable new members in recent weeks, with both Bank of America and Mastercard signing up to the project seeking new efficiencies in their trade finance businesses.

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Alfa-Bank Launches Bank-as-a-Service Platform on Waves Blockchain

Alfa-Bank and X5 Retail Group partnered to launch a blockchain liquidity management service in Russia.

According to a press release published by the bank on Sept. 12, the service — dubbed Distributed Treasury and Cash Management (DTCM) — enables Alfa-Bank’s corporate clients to manage their payments, loan and deposit products, as well as liquidity pool inside the holding.

A bank created for the user

The service is described as a “bridge to the Bank-as-a-Service (BaaS) model for corporations.” Director of the Alfa-Bank Center for Innovations Research and Development Denis Dodon explained:

“The key difference between DTCM and other offers available on the market is that we give our client not just a channel to send orders to the bank but a way to shape up business logic of the product and actually ‘create a bank’ for the client’s convenience.”

A Waves enterprise blockchain implementation

Unlike the traditional banking model, the BaaS model allows the clients to customize the service. DTCM is hosted on the Waves enterprise blockchain platform and employs smart contracts. 

X5 Retail Group CFO Svetlana Demyashkevich commented:

“The experience gained jointly with Alfa-Bank and Waves Enterprise constitutes a new benchmark in our interaction with banks: we get a unified treasury application, improve data management, and cut costs and operational risks.”

Demyashkevich also explained that X5 intends to broaden the use of Distributed Ledger Technology to optimize processes. She added that the technology will “be used in other forms of interaction with partners, such as payments, encashment and optimized collaboration with insurance companies.”

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, major Spanish bank Banco Santander has issued what it claims is the first end-to-end blockchain bond.

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France Won’t Tax Crypto-Only Trades, Will Tax Crypto-to-Fiat Sales

French economy minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sept. 12 that French authorities won’t tax crypto-to-crypto trades, but will tax when cryptocurrencies are sold for fiat currency.

Bloomberg Tax reported on Le Maire’s declarations on Sept. 12. Per the report he noted:

“We believe that the moment the gains are converted into traditional money is the right time to assess tax.”

Easier transaction tracking

The author of the report also explains that such an approach to taxing cryptocurrency trading would help with tracking transactions, which he believes to be a common challenge in crypto-to-crypto trading. Le Maire also reportedly addressed Value-Added Tax (VAT) application to cryptocurrencies.

More precisely, he explained that VAT is to be applied to cryptocurrency transactions only when they are used to acquire an asset or a service. France is reportedly already implementing the new approach to cryptocurrency taxation.

Meanwhile, in Portugal

As Cointelegraph reported at the end of August, Portugal’s Tax Authority has clarified that both cryptocurrency trading and payments in crypto will not be taxed in the country.

Also in August, a tax bill seeking to allow the exclusion of gain or loss on like-kind exchanges of virtual currency has been introduced in the United States House of Representatives.

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CommBank Develops Blockchain Market to Boost Biodiversity

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) has co-developed a blockchain marketplace that it says could support sustainable development and reward landowners for protecting the environment.

Created in partnership with BioDiversity Solutions Australia (BDS), the prototype platform uses digital tokens, dubbed BioTokens, to facilitate trading of biodiversity credits for the New South Wales Government’s Biodiversity Offsets Scheme.

The scheme requires developers to obtain the credits to offset the impact of development. Biodiversity credits can be generated by landholders that set up biodiversity-protection schemes on their land on their land “in perpetuity,” according to an announcement from CommBank on Wednesday.

As such, there’s a need for a transparent market for the trading of the biodiversity credits between these parties, while others – such as environmental groups or government agencies – could purchase the credits as an investment, the bank says.

BioTokens can be programmed with complex rules to automate compliance and administration, according to Sophie Gilder, CommBank’s head of experimentation and commercialisation for blockchain, AI and emerging technology. Trades on the marketplace are also “transparent and real time,” she said.

Rod Barnaby, managing director at BioDiversity Solutions Australia, explained:

“Developing a digital marketplace is part of a broader project we have been working on to help stakeholders participate in the NSW Biodiversity Offset Scheme. Our vision was to help facilitate the protection of precious environmental ecosytems, while also creating an alternative source of income for landowners and rewarding them for preserving biodiversity on their land.”

So far, no “transparent” marketplace exists to allow developers and landholders to trade biodiversity credits, according to the announcement.

Barnaby indicated that BDS and CommBank are now seeking partners to take the platform toward a commercial launch, as well as examining other use cases for the tokenized asset technology.

“Our vision is that by digitising biodiversity credits and building a marketplace where they can be bought and sold, we can invest in and protect our natural environments,” Gilder said.

Koala in Sydney image via Shutterstock

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Miller Lite Teams With Blockchain Firm for Customer Engagement Game

Miller Lite, the popular beer brand from U.S. brewer MillerCoors, has teamed up with a blockchain marketing company for the latest iteration of its “Know Your Beer” program.

For the ongoing campaign, launched July 1, Vatom Labs built what it calls a mobile”edutainment game,” called Great Taste Trivia, that served a 12-question quiz to cellphones, geo-targeting customers in over 230,000 bars and restaurants across the U.S.

Players answering all 12 questions correctly get to win a $5 prize that can be used to purchase Miller Lite. Ten thousand prizes will be paid out over PayPal in the campaign that runs until September.

Vatom Labs said Wednesday that the game was provided on its own platform that is built on blockchain tech. The game leverages NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to provide the quiz, social badges, rewards for social media sharing and to ensure that the $5 prize token “cannot be counterfeited.”

Using NFTs also allows Vatom to track game activations, engagements and engagement platform, and assign the reward based on that data.

Tyler Moebius, Co-founder and CEO of Vatom Labs, said:

“We have built a powerful brand activation platform that leverages a new blockchain enabled SmartMedia object that is highly-programmable and able to deliver real tangible value from the brand to the consumer– like $5 to their PayPal account—that remains a simple mobile experience.

Giving companies the ability to create “digital promotions and activation experiences” using blockchain is the “next major upgrade required to usher in the new era of brand innovation,” Moebius added.

Miller brewery image via Shutterstock