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Marco Polo and the #Blockchain

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For many of us the world of crypto currencies, sometimes known as digital assets, is a mystery and those involved are performing some form of magic using a mysterious spell known as the blockchain. But those with experience of crypto currencies have realised that great rewards are available to those brave or clever enough to invest in this new world of digital finance, writes Colin Stevens.

But those with experience of crypto currencies have realised that great rewards are available to those brave or clever enough to invest in this new world of digital finance.

Best known of the crypto currencies is the Bitcoin, a crypto coin invented in 2008 by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto and started in 2009 when its implementation was released as open-source software.

Over the course of bitcoin's history, it has undergone rapid growth to become a significant currency both on and offline. From the middle of 2010 some businesses began accepting bitcoin in addition to traditional currencies.

Bitcoin was followed by Ethereum in 2015 and a host of other crypto currencies, so that today there are over 2000 crypto currencies.

The legal status of bitcoin and related crypto instruments varied substantially country to country at first, but many countries quickly realised that crypto currencies are the first apolitical form of money in history, which makes it borderless, impossible to control and regulate. Everyone can use crypto currencies for P2P transactions, which makes it the most inclusive form of money there is.

However, since nothing as decentralized as crypto currencies existed before, it is a true headache both to regulators and tyrannical regimes.

Enlightened governments began to realise the potential benefit of these digital assets, and accepted and even encouraged new crypto currencies tied to their national currencies – such as the USA with Tether (USDT), a crypto currency with a value meant to mirror the value of the U.S. dollar. The idea was to create a stable crypto currency that can be used like digital dollars. Once this happened crypto currencies came of age and became acceptable and mainstream.

Coins that serve this purpose of being a stable dollar substitute are called “stable coins” Tether converts cash into digital currency, to anchor or “tether” the value of the coin to the price of national currencies like the US dollar, the euro, and the yen.

Banks quickly realised the potential of crypto currencies, both for investment opportunities and for their business customers who wish to use it for instant cross border money transfer and exchange services. Major banks are now launching their own crypto coins or “tokens”.

J.P. Morgan in the USA this month became the first US bank to create and successfully test a digital coin representing a fiat currency, that is a government-issued currency that isn't backed by a commodity such as gold.

The JPM Coin is based on blockchain-based technology enabling the instantaneous transfer of payments between their institutional clients. Wall Street has been quick to welcome both the advantages this brings to businesses in competitive markets and the investment opportunities coupled with potentially seismic return on investment for early investors.

Across the Atlantic, after negotiations with the Chinese government, LGR Crypto Bank in Switzerland is launching a new crypto currency called “Silk Road Coin” which is destined to facilitate trade and commerce along the Belt and Road Initiative, formerly known as One Belt One Road or OBOR for short. This is a global infrastructure development strategy by the Chinese government mirroring the old Marco Polo trade route between China and Europe. Started in 2013, its purpose is to benefit and invest in nearly 70 countries and international organizations along the route.

The Belt and Road project will construct a unified large market and make full use of both international and domestic markets. The Belt and Road Initiative addresses an "infrastructure gap" and thus has potential to accelerate economic growth across the Asia Pacific area, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe, estimated to be worth at least US$900 billion per year over the next decade, 50% above current infrastructure spending rates. The gaping need for long term capital and an instant and easy means of cross border money transfer and exchange services along the 70 country Belt and Road project almost guarantees the success of the new Silk Road Coin crypto currency, with substantial gains possible for early investors.

Many investors wise enough to invest in bitcoin in its initial years made millions, even billions of dollars, pounds or euros return on their initial investments. Just as the Venetian merchant and adventurer Marco Polo did between 1271–95, new merchant adventurers stand to make their fortunes via the new digital currencies of the Silk Road.

Huawei

Meng Wanzhou: Questions over Huawei executive’s arrest as legal battle continues

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When a Canadian border officer did some hurried research on the internet on 1 December 2018, the result left him "shocked". He had just been told that a Chinese woman was landing at Vancouver airport in a few hours and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had an arrest warrant out for her based on a US request. What the research revealed was that she was the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and the daughter of the company's founder. It was at that moment that border officials realised they were about to be plunged into the centre of a major international incident which, nearly two years on, has not gone away.

The woman was Meng Wanzhou (pictured) whose flight from Hong Kong arrived at Gate 65 at 11:10 local time. She was on a stopover in Canada, where she has two homes, before heading on to business meetings in Mexico. Further details of what took place at the airport have been revealed in a Vancouver court in the past week as part of the latest stage of legal battle that could stretch on for years.

Her lawyers are pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to prevent her being extradited to the US on charges of misleading the bank HSBC in a way which might lead to it breaking US sanctions on Iran.

Meng's lawyers have been arguing that there was abuse of process in the way the arrest was carried out.

One of the issues they raised is why Meng was questioned for nearly three hours by officers from Canadian Border Services Agency before she was formally arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Her lawyers are looking for signs that proper procedures were not followed in what unfolded in those hours.

Meng, who appeared in court wearing the security ankle bracelet that is required for her bail, was described as "calm" during her initial questioning at the airport because she had no idea what was coming next.

Border officials took her phones and devices and placed them in a special bag - designed to prevent any electronic interference. Border officials also got her passwords and PIN codes for the devices but the court heard that they mistakenly handed these, along with the devices, over to the RCMP when they technically should not have done. The police officer who eventually arrested her after the border questioning was challenged in court as to why he did not do so earlier. Her lawyers are looking for evidence a co-ordinated plan by border agency and police - perhaps with the guiding hand of the US behind them - to improperly detain and question her without a lawyer.

Officials deny this and say the border questioning was to establish whether there was any reason she could not be admitted, for instance involvement in espionage. The police officer also testified "safety" concerns were one reason he did not arrest Ms Meng immediately after her Cathay Pacific 777 flight landed.

This part of the legal battle will focus on whether procedures were followed and if not, whether that was due to simple mistakes or the result of any plan.

The RCMP officer who took custody of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s electronics on the day of her arrest two years ago says foreign law enforcement never asked him to obtain the passcodes or search the devices.

Const. Gurvinder Dhaliwal said Monday American officials asked that Meng’s devices be seized and stored in special bags to prevent them from being erased remotely, which he considered to be a reasonable request.

He said he wasn’t concerned when the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer handed him a piece of paper with the passcodes written on it after the immigration exam adjourned and she was being arrested by RCMP.

“I didn’t even think about it, I just put them with the phones and I thought, this is her phones and these passcodes belong to her phones and eventually these phones and these belongings would go back to her once the process is complete,” Dhaliwal told B.C. Supreme Court under examination by Crown counsel John Gibb-Carsley.

Dhaliwal told the evidence-gathering hearing that he never asked officers from border services to obtain the passcodes or to ask any particular questions during Meng’s immigration exam.

Meng is wanted in the U.S. on fraud charges based on allegations related to American sanctions against Iran that both she and Chinese tech giant Huawei deny.

Her lawyers are collecting information they hope will support their allegation that Canadian officers improperly gathered evidence at the request of U.S. investigators under the guise of a routine border exam.

For the first time, the court also heard that security codes to at least one of Meng’s homes were also recorded on a piece of paper.

Dhaliwal described a photo to the court that showed the paper on top of boxes she travelled with as having the key to her residences and a “security code” for her house.

Dhaliwal said the paper was passed to him by a Mountie who was based at Vancouver’s airport.

“I have no idea where he got it from,” Dhaliwal said, adding he has not been involved in any discussion about those security codes.

Dhaliwal assumed the role of “exhibits officer” in Meng’s case, meaning he was charged with ensuring anything seized from her was documented, safe and secure.

After her arrest, Meng’s case was transferred to the financial integrity branch of the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit because it was a “complex” case, he said.

Dhaliwal received a request from Staff Sgt. Ben Chang indicating that the U.S. was asking for certain information in anticipation of an application through the mutual legal assistance treaty between the two countries, he said.

Dhaliwal was asked to record the electronic serial numbers, makes and models of her electronics, he said. He did so with help from the RCMP tech unit, he said. But at no point did he ever use the passcodes on the devices, nor was he asked to search the devices, he said.

Later, he was contacted by a senior CBSA officer inquiring about the piece of paper with the phone passcodes, he said.

“She had indicated to me that the codes were given in error to us,” Dhaliwal said.

As the codes were already part of an exhibit, he testified that he told her they were under the court’s authority and he could not return them.

The case continues.

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Cambridge Wireless and Huawei partner to build the first private 5G testbed in Cambridge Science Park

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CW (Cambridge Wireless), an international community for companies involved in the research, development and application of wireless technologies, is teaming up with the global technology leader Huawei, to deploy and build Cambridge’s first 5G mobile private network within the Science Park.

The new set-up will allow Cambridge’s world-renowned technology community to undertake cutting edge new digital research and application in key areas such as autonomous vehicles, clean energy and remote surgery.

The 5G testbed will go live in January next year and kicks off a three-year partnership between Cambridge Wireless and Huawei, which will involve digital training, business support and joint events.

The aim is to explore how advanced wireless technology can have a far-reaching impact on both society and the economy.

“We are constantly working to provide value to CW members,” said CW CEO Simon Mead. “As home to one of the world’s most advanced R&D ecosystems, Cambridge is perfectly positioned for the rollout of next-generation wireless technology and we’re delighted to be driving this initiative with our partners. We hope to bring something unique to the Science Park to accelerate use cases and development of this technology. We invite ambitious businesses to get involved and through this exciting 3-year partnership with Huawei, we will support their 5G innovation journey.”

Huawei Vice-President Victor Zhang described the partnership as a key part of the business’s ongoing commitment to the UK. He said: “Huawei’s success is built on a relentless drive for innovation and we are able to keep pushing the boundaries of technology when we partner with those who share this ambition. The Cambridge eco-system is recognized as a global leader in technology and we are excited to work with the talent and vision in this eco-system. We hope to enable Cambridge Wireless members to reach new heights by allowing them access to our state-of-the-art equipment and markets including China and beyond. Our commitment to the UK and industry remains as strong as ever and we will continue to offer our expertise and technology to our partners to promote connections and innovation.”

The 5G testbed will be based at Cambridge Science Park, owned by Cambridge University, which is currently home to more than 120 tech companies and scale-ups.

Additional partnership with TusPark UK has been developed to accelerate the digitalisation of The Cambridge Science Park and enable businesses to exploit new capabilities, boost innovation and gain competitive advantage as they shift towards the adoption of 5G.

“We are looking for organizations that would like to create, accelerate and test out new and innovative applications and products on the CW 5G Testbed,” said CW Chief Commercial Officer Abhi Naha.

The 5G Testbed will be launched in January 2021. To find out more and how to get involved, please contact

 

Abhi Naha

CCO CW (Cambridge Wireless)

Tel: +44(0)1223 967 101 | Mob: +44(0)773 886 2501

[email protected]

 

- Ends -

About CW (Cambridge Wireless)

 

CW is the leading international community for companies involved in the research, development and application of wireless and mobile, internet, semiconductor, hardware and software technologies.

With an active community of over 1000 technology companies ranging from major network operators and device manufacturers to innovative start-ups and universities, CW stimulates debate and collaboration, harnesses and shares knowledge, and helps to build connections between academia and industry.

www.cambridgewireless.co.uk

 

About Huawei

Founded in 1987, Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. We are committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. Huawei's end-to-end portfolio of products, solutions and services are both competitive and secure. Through open collaboration with ecosystem partners, we create lasting value for our customers, working to empower people, enrich home life, and inspire innovation in organizations of all shapes and sizes. At Huawei, innovation puts the customer first. We invest heavily in fundamental research, concentrating on technological breakthroughs that drive the world forward. We have nearly 194,000 employees, and we operate in more than 170 countries and regions, serving more than three billion people around the world. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.

For more information, please visit Huawei online at www.huawei.com

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Huawei supports open innovation to speed up tech development thus delivering high quality tech products into the marketplace

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Huawei Public Affairs Director Dave Harmon yesterday (18 November) addresed an EU-China research and innovation forum that was hosted by Ivo Hristov MEP and which was supported by STOA, the College of Europe and EU40.

Other speakers that addressed this forum included European Research Council President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, Davide Cucino, the president Emeritus at the EU Chamber of Commerce in China and and Dr. Bernhard Muller who is a senior professor at the Technical University of Dresden.

Dave Harmon is director for EU Public Affairs at Huawei Technologies and he is a former member in the cabinet of the EU Commissioner for research innovation and science 2010-2014.  

Dave Harmon is director for EU Public Affairs at Huawei Technologies and he is a former member in the cabinet of the EU Commissioner for research innovation and science 2010-2014.

Dave Harmon said: “Huawei as a company supports open innovation and actions that back open scientific activities in Europe and across the length and breadth of the world. Programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe are open by nature. This is the right political approach. This is because it will ensure that the best scientists across the world can and will work together in common cause to translate scientific effort into solutions for society. Science initiatives that are open will speed up the process of innovation. We are living through a digital transformation. ICT solutions are now modernizing different economic sectors across society and in a very speedy manner.

"The EU and China work on many common research initiatives including within the areas of urbanisation, agriculture, transport, aviation and health and the ICT sector underpins much of the collaborative actions within these policy spheres. This approach is enshrined within the framework agreements that the EU has with China that cover the science and technology sectors. Moreover, the EU Joint Research Centre has an MOU with the Chinese Academy of Sciences to work together on scientific advancement covering the transport, environment and agriculture sectors. The EU and China also has an innovation dialogue in place that is promoting higher levels of co-operation between the public and private sectors within the innovation policy space.

"China is now spending 2.5% GDP on research and development activities. This is ensuring that Chinese scientists can support global research measures that are successfully tackling the grand challenges that society faces today. Programmes such the EU-China mechanism for research and innovation that is administered by the Chinese ministry of science and Technology are ensuring higher levels of involvement from EU scientists in Chinese led research schemes. The European Commission sponsored Enrich initiative is also promoting higher levels of collaborative engagement between EU and Chinese researchers and business innovators alike.

"Huawei is an EU company. Huawei is deeply embedded within the ICT research eco-system. The company set up our first research centre in Sweden in the year 2000. Huawei has 230 technology partnerships with EU research institutes and collaborative arrangements with over 150 universities in Europe.

"Europe has great expertise and capabilities within the software engineering arena. Huawei, as a company ranks 5th in the 2019 European Commission Industrial Scoreboard for [email protected] Huawei has been an active participant in both FP7 and in Horizon 2020.

"Huawei is in a strong position to implement the policy goals of the European Union. International collaboration is a vital component within the research strategic space so as to ensure that EU policy objectives are fully implemented. Huawei wants to actively enable EU research and innovation actions under Horizon Europe and in particular in areas that will focus on the development of smart networks and services and the key digital technologies of the future.

"Moreover, there must be a stronger emphasis on green and environmental research at the basic and applied levels of scientific engagement. This will ensure that climate action targets will be reached and that the UN Sustainable Development Goals will be fully implemented.”

Dave Harmon is director for EU Public Affairs at Huawei Technologies and he is a former member in the cabinet of the EU Commissioner for research innovation and science 2010-2014.  

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