The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is set to visit New Delhi on June 25 to negotiate on a myriad of diplomatic stands including purchase of defense equipment from Russia, data localization rules, etc. But all eyes would be set on the fate of the tech giant Huawei as Pompeo would convince India to blacklist the Chinese firm. The official visit comes two weeks after India initiated the telecommunications process of 5G rollout on the upcoming spectrum auctions.
India is still in the process of finalizing a roadmap for 5G, a next-gen technology that is expected to improve data speed considerably. India has, however, not explicitly stated its stand on Huawei’s participation in the auction adding that it will allow itself a considerable time period on this matter. Huawei, in return, has requested India to make an ‘independent judgement.
Since last year, US has tried to press its allies on imposing the ban on the company over Chinese espionages, allegations the company has always denied. This comes in the wake of the global tussle between the US and China after Trump administration placed the Chinese brand on the ‘entity list.’ Huawei, the world’s biggest telecom gear maker and #2 smartphones seller, got caught in the middle of a conflict of interests between Washington and Beijing for months on issues such as tariffs, technologies, regulations, among many others. The dispute has resulted in grim prospects of further success for Huawei, with the US putting the telecom company on a blacklist, citing national security.
The company’s founder Ren Zhengfei predicts the US sanctions will cut its revenue by $30 billion over the coming two years by threatening its production of cutting edge technology. Australia and Japan have barred Huawei while Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have welcomed Huawei. Many countries in Europe are still to make a decision that can substantially affect the tech giant’s future.
Though Huawei gears up itself for a protracted struggle with the US, tensions could be smoothed this week when Chinese President XI Jingping and The US President Trump meet at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan on June 28-29 to discuss the countries’ sustained trade battles. .
Blockchain, formerly called as block chain, is a list of records called blocks, linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data (generally represented as Merkle tree). This technology allows the digital information to be distributed, not edited, thus imparting a reliable backbone to the Internet.
Though the work on this impressive technology started as back as in the early 90s, it was only in 2008 when it was provided a usable form by a person or a group of person, who developed it under the pseudonym – Satoshi Nakamoto. Though the blockchain technology was initially put into use for facilitating transactions for the digital cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, today it has found use in other realms of technology too, so much so that financial banking systems have found it to pose a threat to them.
An important feature of this technology is its resistance to the modification of data. Information held on a blockchain exits as a shared and continually reconciled database that is not stored in any single location, rather kept verifiable and public. This ensures a decentralized form of storing the information and makes it impossible for anyone to falsify even a single record in the chain.
Moreover, the information is accessible to anyone in the world as it is hosted on the Internet. The data is cryptographically stored inside a blockchain but the blockchain remains transparent so that anyone can track the data. Along with decentralization and transparency, another important pillar of blockchain is its immutability which ensures that no one can modify the data stored.
Although transactions are publicly recorded on a blockchain, user data is not or at least not in its entirety. The blockchain technology holds its success in the very fact that the participant does not need a third party verification to legitimize his transactions, thus enabling cost-reductions, improving accuracy by eliminating human interference and making the transactions effective, private, secure and transparent.
But the soaring cost of using such a high-end technology cannot be overlooked along with certain other factors, namely less number of transactions per second (Bitcoin’s 7 transactions per second) and its notable use in illicit activities. Interestingly, Facebook’s entry into the market of cryptocurrency, by releasing Libra (that was made by using its own Blockchain technology), has made the world certain of the bright future that blockchain holds for us.
Amazon recently revealed the big news of autonomously delivering packages to customers at its inaugural re:MARS conference in Las Vegas with its new “MK27” drone. With the service to start within months, the online retailer expects to pioneer the technology to get orders to buyers faster than the one-day delivery service.
Since December 2013, when Amazon CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos announced plans for a drone delivery service, the company has gone through more than two dozen drone designs, none of which was able to adequately avoid other aircrafts, objects or people on the ground. But its all electric Prime Air Drone, according to Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer Jeff Wilke, is apparently safer, more efficient and more stable than the previous models.
The newest drone comes packed with some impressive features including artificial intelligence, diverse sensors, computer vision techniques, machine learning algorithms, etc, that allow it to operate more autonomously. Fully electric and independent, the drone can fly up to 15 miles and deliver packages weighing under 2.2 kilograms to customers in less than 30 minutes. Moreover, its hybrid design allows it to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter and fly horizontally and aerodynamically, like an airplane.
Amazon also plans to use Prime Air as a more sustainable alternative to ordinary delivery options like automobiles to save on fuel usage and reduce emissions. The fully electric delivery service is in line with the company’s vision to make a large portion of all Amazon shipments net zero carbon by 2030.
Facebook recently revealed its bold plan of releasing its own cryptocurrency into the mainstream called Libra with its subsidiary, an e-wallet called Calibra, a move that could potentially shake the world’s financial banking system. Additionally, Facebook’s reach of over 2.4 billion monthly active users can make Libra gain the success it deserves as a cryptocurrency with the company envisioning it to be used to make every day financial transactions like paying bills, making retail purchases, paying for public transport, etc.
The company mentioned that nearly 1.7 billion people or 31% of the global population currently have no bank accounts, with no access to modern financial services. Releasing its white paper explaining Libra, the tech giant said its objective is to provide a common access to “better, cheaper and open financial services.”
Developing a ‘stablecoin’ or a decentralized form of payment that is as stable as dollar, (unlike other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, whose values fluctuate sharply, the Libra will be a secure blockchain based payment system backed by hard assets designed to handle almost 1000 transactions per second, that would be much faster than Bitcoin’s 7 transactions per second or Ethereum’s 15. The company also mentioned that sometimes the Calibra wallet app will charge a small fee for the transactions (ie revenue for Facebook).
While Facebook created the currency, decisions regarding the ongoing maintenance of the Libra’s platform will be carried out by the Libra Association, a group of dozens of financial, not-for-profit companies and commerce firms including tech giants like Uber, Lyft, conventional financial moguls like MasterCard, PayPal, Vodafone, humanitarian aid groups like Mercy Corps, cryptoexchange Coinbase, eBay and also Spotify to call for more user-friendly interface, among many others. To join the new Facebook subsidiary, each of these companies contributed a minimum of $10 million to the venture, giving the company more than $1 billion to bring out the new currency.
The platform will roll out over the next year with the foremost focus on users being able to send money on it by 2020 exclusively through Facebook products like WhatsApp and its own Messenger and also as a stand-alone iOS and Android application. Libra will use the same verification and anti-fraud processes that banks and credit cards use and will implement automated systems to detect frauds.
Though highly speculated as successful, this project has likely invited criticism for Facebook’s privacy practices, its mishandling of private information on public platforms and its reputation for over-engineered and underused products. Many others have questioned Libra’s potential upper hand over other digital payment services. Nonetheless, Facebook’s entry into this field serves as a bright future for cryptocurrencies. .