A San Francisco-based startup called “Real Items Foundation” is beta testing a Shopify plugin to ensure that authentic items are being sold to online shoppers. The plugin –- powered by a combination of blockchain technology and a cloud-based application called “TAM” –- enables brands to generate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that are pegged to physical assets. Consumers who purchase a product containing an NFT can scan that item to verify its authenticity.
CEO and founder of Real Items Foundation, David Menard, said that a number of skincare, cosmetic, wellness and fashion companies are currently private beta testing the Shopify plugin. Menard noted that the plugin will officially be released in Q1 of this year.
According to Menard, Real Items Foundation aims to create a global consumer protection experience, which he refers to as “consumer protection 3.0.” He explained that the new Shopify plugin will allow consumers to easily verify the authenticity of the items purchased on Shopify stores, without having to download additional apps:
“We are trying to push consumer protection 3.0 by putting the tools in the end consumers’ hands. There are no apps to download – consumers simply use their smartphones to scan a QR-code to verify the authenticity of an item. Consumers can also use WeChat to scan items to ensure that they are real.”
Shopify, which has grown to become one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world, consists of over 500 thousand active online stores. Recent statistics show that Shopify is the third-largest online retailer in the US, right behind Amazon and eBay. Yet with millions of products being sold each year, fraudulent items are becoming problematic for a number of online consumers.
The Washington Post recently reported that 753 online retailers misrepresent their products, and about 90 percent of those sites are hosted by Shopify. By using the VeChain public blockchain, Real Items Foundation can trace items back to their sources, while providing consumers with the transparency needed to see where those goods originated. Menard also pointed out that Real Items Foundation does not have a utility token attached to its platform. He explained that part of the reason for this was due to poor user experiences being reported when the company attempted to leverage wallets as a primary function:
“Wallets for users was a big problem. We now have a multiparty payment protocol on VeChain that we leveraged where we can quickly manage everything for the user and the enterprises we partner with.”
Statistics show that the ecommerce market will surpass $740 billion in 2023, making it seem like the perfect opportunity for online retailers to apply blockchain technology. However, unclear regulations and technical requirements around the blockchain space may be concerning for ecommerce retailers. Nevertheless, Menard noted that, in addition to the companies beta testing the Shopify plugin, some major enterprises have shown interest in using Real Item Foundation’s technology. He explained:
“Since we use NFTs, we aren’t generating or distributing anything close to a security. We maintain the smart contract balances for enterprise making it as frictionless as possible to adopt blockchain for business. Using our plugin enables brands to use a public blockchain for product authenticity and consumer engagement.”
Menard also pointed out that Original Highness, a San Francisco-based cannabis company, is already live on the platform’s mainnet. Moreover, while Real Items Foundation is doing something similar to other supply chain management blockchain platforms, the company is focused less on specific brands and more on the consumer. Menard mentioned that digital certification platform Arianne is focused on ensuring authenticity for certain luxury watch brands, such as Vacheron Constantin. Unlike Arianne, Real Items Foundation aims to become a global solution for all ecommerce sites and enterprises looking to verify the authenticity of products. He said:
“We are trying not to limit the platform to one company. Our focus is on the consumer and we want to consolidate this experience to help enterprises effectively communicate.”
3 Big Blockchain Firms Working Together On A DeFi Product That Pays Passive Income
In a special announcement made at the Unitize conference on July 6, Cosmos, Polkadot, and Terra revealed a new DeFi savings product called Anchor that aims to offer dependable interest rates on stablecoins deposits. The companies involved in the creation of Anchor plan to launch it across their respective blockchains at the end of Q3 this year and scale across to other PoS blockchains in the future. Do Kwon, founder and CEO of Terra, explained in a prepared statement:
“While DeFi staples such as Maker and Compound have been revolutionary in creating fully decentralized crypto money markets, the volatility of their interest rates makes them unsuitable to be used as a household savings product. DeFi mass adoption needs the creation of a fully decentralized savings account that offers dependable APR.”
Anchor’s smart contracts receive stablecoin deposits and use a portion of them to acquire staking positions on compatible Proof of Stake blockchains. Users will receive their passive income from these staking rewards. The initial governance for this platform will come from the Interchain Asset Association (IAA), a newly formed organization that sees Zaki Manian of Cosmos, Jack Platts of the Web3 Foundation, and Do Kwon of Terraform Labs collectively steering the ship.
Telegram Is Set To Shut Down The TON Testnet By August 2020
Although Telegram has terminated its blockchain project, Telegram Open Network (TON), in May 2020, the TON test net has been apparently running for almost one year. In a July 6 update, the official TON development group on Telegram announced that it would be discontinuing its support of the test network for TON. Remaining TON validators will be turned off by August 1. In the post, the TON official recommended network participants save all their relevant data and stop their testing processes. Despite the testnet being set to shut down less than a month from now, network participants will still be able to continue their experimentation after the testnet is terminated. In order to do that, users can install their own testnet validators, described in greater detail in three different how-to documents containing guidelines for the Full Node, the Validator, and Test Grams.
Telegram launched the TON testnet for explorer and node software on Sept. 6, 2019. In anticipation of its scheduled Oct. 31 launch last year, the company released an alpha version of an iOS wallet to work with its native token, the Gram. But Telegram’s TON plans were never fully realized, as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission suddenly deemed Telegram’s $1.7 billion ICO illegal in mid-October. After a long-running legal battle with U.S. regulators, Telegram agreed to shut down its TON project, as well as return $1.2 billion to investors in line with a court-approved final settlement. As officially announced by Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, the firm had already reimbursed more than $1.2 billion by June 25.
Brock Pierce Enters The 2020 US Presidential Race
Brock Pierce, entrepreneur, crypto venture capitalist, and child star, has announced his USA Presidential run on Twitter July 5. His tweet stated: “
“I, Brock Pierce, am running for President of the United States of America.”
Pierce’s campaign site states that he is a pioneer digital currency and has raised more than $5 billion for the companies he has founded. Pierce is the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and co-founder of EOS Alliance, Block.one, Blockchain Capital, Tether, and Mastercoin (first ICO). His website, sparse on details, does not say if he is seeking a nomination in a political party or if he is running as an Independent.