The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) tracks the digitization-progress of the EU member states. In terms of digitization of the economy and internet trade, Austria improved from 12th to the 10th place. Many domestic companies, including more and more small and medium-sized enterprises, are already well positioned. However,  the high non-wage labor costs in our country are still negatively viewed - these should be massively reduced or completely abolished. Thanks to the availability and scope of the online platform "Digital Austria", Austria even ranks 8th in the field of e-government. With the creation of further one-stop-shops in the administrative area already announced by the government, the preconditions for a successful e-government future are now being created. Austria's efforts to integrate Blockchain technology into public administration are particularly appreciated - but there is still room for further gains.

(CF ed. / Österreich Journal)


HSBC claimed that it had performed the world's first commercially viable trade finance transaction using blockchain technology.  The bank said that the exchange was performed in one day, compared to the five-to-10 days it normally takes to complete such exchanges through a paper-based System. Letters of credit are issued by one bank to another to guarantee that a payment will be received by a seller under a set of conditions. Traditionally this process would take a large amount of time, numerous paper records, and a lot of back and forth between the various parties involved. Blockchain technology promises to change that. For this transaction, HSBC used a platform developed by a blockchain start-up which works with a consortium of banks to come up with blockchain solutions to a variety of problems. While there have been proof-of-concept transactions performed using blockchain technology, HSBC's was the first that could have commercial applications.

(CF ed. / CNBC)


Facebook is launching its own blockchain division as part of a broader reorganization of its executive line-up. The move comes four months after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that he wanted the company to study the effects of cryptocurrencies. The company is saying little about its blockchain division for now. But we do know that David Marcus, who was serving as the vice president of messaging products and overseeing Facebook Messenger, will be running the blockchain group. The former CEO of PayPal, Marcus has long been interested in alternate payments, and is currently board member of the crypto-exchange Coinbase. This is the first of a greater number of changes in the employee staff of Facebook regarding the blockchain project. It’s likely that Facebook is going to use the technology to grant a much more secure handling of user data – we will keep an eye on further developments.

The announcement takes place a short time after severe problems Facebook had to face after the data breach caused by the selling of millions of data to “Cambridge Analytica”. This and other issues regarding data protection that happened in the recent years lead the European Union to introduce the General Data Protection Regulation.

(CF ed. / blogs)



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