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Harnessing the power of data and AI to operationalize sustainability IBM Supply Chain and Blockchain Blog

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Companies are under mounting pressure from regulators, investors, and consumers to progress toward more sustainable and socially responsible business operations — and to demonstrate these measures in a robust and verifiable way. In fact, corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability risks tied as the third highest concerns for organizations, as ranked by large corporations in a 2021 Forrester report. However, the various types of data that companies need to understand and report on sustainability initiatives remains highly fragmented and difficult for all relevant parties to access.

To help organizations respond to these challenges, IBM has acquired Envizi, a leading data and analytics software provider for environmental performance management. Envizi complements IBM’s growing portfolio of AI-powered software — including IBM Maximo asset management solutions, IBM Sterling supply chain solutions and IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite — to help companies assess the impacts of the environment on business and of business on the environment.

Find out how to create a resilient, sustainable future

Sustainability innovation is building momentum

As Envizi founder David Solsky pointed out during our recent sit-down, when it comes to sustainability, executives around the world have changed their attitudes dramatically over just the past two years. Today’s leaders are excited and energized by the chance to reimagine business and commerce with a sustainability-first mindset. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic during this same time has shown the power of the enterprise to adapt and thrive in adversity, and the rapid development of new vaccines has shown the power of technological transformation.

Sustainability is now a boardroom issue with a visible effect on the bottom line. Today teams have the proper resources and leadership buy-in to accomplish ESG goals and meet the moment.

But when organizational leaders step back to assess how to tackle sustainability, a common modern-day challenge becomes clear: getting, applying and managing the data. Much of the crucial data for sustainability improvements — for example, energy data across fragmented markets — is difficult to capture and track. While acquiring this data is likely to remain a challenge, we’re working to reduce the burden of acquisition by unifying key systems of record.

IBM with Envizi will accelerate the journey

Supply chain and asset management hold some of the most significant opportunities for environmental improvement and innovation, since they often form the bulk of an end-to-end operating footprint. And it’s the operating systems that already drive these, and other areas of business, which hold the information needed to improve sustainability.

Up to now, IBM and Envizi have represented two halves of the ideal approach: operation-specific improvements through IBM solutions; and ESG-related data collection, analysis and reporting through Envizi. Now we’re bringing them together.

IBM’s portfolio of solutions already helps organizations reduce environmental impact and improve sustainability as part of ongoing business: increasing supply chain visibility with IBM Sterling; enabling intelligent asset management, monitoring and maintenance with IBM Maximo; and enabling intelligent facility management with IBM TRIRIGA. IBM also helps organizations manage direct climate risks with the IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite. With this software, an energy company can automate the scheduling of tree-trimming near power lines, intelligently assign workers to a new location, or optimize the repair and replacement of critical equipment.

Meanwhile, Envizi offers a comprehensive software to drive performance management related to all these activities and systems. Envizi also brings 13 years of experience in sustainability management, including a deep knowledge of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting, which is critical to helping organizations address regulatory and voluntary reporting needs.

Now IBM will integrate Envizi with its existing solutions, helping automate the feedback loop between corporate-level reporting and critical operational endpoints. This will bring together day-to-day operations and sustainability data and strategy to create a turnkey solution that allows organizations to move faster and achieve their goals.

Best of all, Envizi and IBM already share a common value: innovation that matters, for our companies and for the world. That became obvious as we worked together in recent years to streamline data management toward our own emissions reduction commitments. Now we’re excited to combine the power of Envizi with IBM’s existing suite and share it with the world.

A sustainable future

This is exciting news for those of us with a passion for building sustainable business and an innovation mind-set. With integrated business solutions, organizations can embed sustainability goals more cleanly into their daily operations and make huge strides toward building more resilient, sustainable businesses.

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Read the original article, published January 11, 2022 on the IBM Business Operations blog.





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Blockchain

How to assess different chains?

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With so many blockchain networks appearing all the time, new or even experienced crypto enthusiasts may feel overwhelmed when it comes to deciding which are the best to invest in.

In this guide, we’ll outline the most important aspects of any blockchain project, and why one should pay close attention to such details when assessing the different chains on the crypto market.

Use case

Arguably the most important part of any blockchain project is its use case. What is the project’s reason for existing? Is the project here to enhance payment processing? To improve on a business supply chain or to entertain users?

There’s technically no such thing as an invalid use case, but some are certainly more applicable than others. For example, a project meant to assist millions in acquiring food is likely to earn more support than a meme coin. If one decides that a project is valuable to them and that this value can translate over to a wide audience, then that’s a point in the project’s favor.

When examining use cases, it’s best to look at the project’s white paper. For example, we can take a look at Polygon’s whitepaper, which details potential use cases associated with the platform.

Community

A project is nothing without its community. Blockchain technology is an open-source and user-driven solution, after all. When assessing a blockchain, it’s often best to check into the community and see how much power they have.

Reliable projects are generally as decentralized as possible, providing users from all over with the ability to hold tokens and have their say in governance. These users are usually outspoken, with public conversations happening on platforms like Reddit, Twitter and Discord. It’s usually best to join a project’s Discord server to gauge both the size and contributions of its community.

Transaction speeds and scalability

One’s blockchain project of choice might have the best intentions, but if the technology can’t scale or reliably process transactions, it’s at a severe disadvantage. What good is a platform that can’t serve the hundreds of thousands of customers it hopes to gain?

When assessing a blockchain, it’s best to examine the network’s typical transaction speeds alongside how it intends to scale en masse. Is it possible to implement upgrades down the line? Will it, or does the network already utilize a layer-two solution? Does the solution sound realistic in the long term?

The Ethereum website contains extensive documentation on its current and future scalability methods. 

One can pair this factor alongside the community one, as dedicated community members would have public discussions surrounding their favorite project’s use cases and potential upgrades, as well as how it’s currently running.

Consensus and governance

The two most common blockchain consensus methods are proof-of-work and proof-of-stake. Proof-of-work (PoW) networks require miners that are users who dedicate their computing power to solve complex equations and validate transactions. Miners are paid for their efforts with each block mined, though the computer power required is harmful to the environment.

Proof-of-stake (PoS), on the other hand, provides power to users who hold and stake, or lock in, their digital assets. Generally, the more assets a user stakes, the more power they have within the network.

By staking, users typically become validators who then validate transactions, removing the need for miners. This process is more environmentally friendly than mining and rewards users in interest for their efforts. While both PoS and PoW have their pros and cons, many believe PoS is the future of blockchain and that PoW networks are on their way out.

After all, PoS is the more scalable option and Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, is making the upgrade to PoS over the coming months. Consensus directly affects network governance and is something to consider when assessing different blockchain networks.

Team

The team behind the project is just as important as the technical aspects of any blockchain. Projects should be very open regarding who’s developing a project, as well as the history and skillset of the team.

Failing to disclose the details about the development team can be a significant warning sign while assessing blockchains, as a lack of information could mean they’re looking to scam users. While this isn’t always the case, it’s recommended to stick with projects that are open about their development process.

The Polkadot project has some of its key members available on its website, including their real names and history. That said, it could be improved by including relevant social links to the team’s profiles so that users can conduct their own research to verify the project and the team behind it.

Roadmap

Not only should a blockchain have a solid reliable use case, but it should have a roadmap planned out regarding future developments and product feature additions.

A thorough roadmap generally means that the team has thought long-term about their project and how it can benefit the world. It also provides users with more knowledge about what they’re investing in, and whether or not the network aligns with their values.

The Cardano roadmap features detailed sections for each part of its roadmap, ensuring that all users can understand what to expect in the network’s future.

Market capitalization/total value locked (TVL)

When it comes to decentralized finance (DeFi) projects specifically, one vital factor to consider is its total value locked (TVL) and its market cap.

The TVL represents the total amount of all funds locked into a DeFi platform’s smart contracts. The higher a TVL, the healthier a platform’s ecosystem, as more users are taking advantage of its offerings.

Alternatively, a project’s market capitalization constitutes the value of existing assets within its ecosystem, serving as an indicator of the project’s growth potential. This number constitutes not just those utilizing the platform’s tokens, but also those holding assets in a passive way.

One can consider market capitalization to be the indicator of the popularity of a project, while TVL can mark how much money is actually being moved around within its various protocols. Both statistics are important, but it’s important to understand what each means relevant to a project’s competition.

DeFi Pulse details the TVL of all sorts of DeFi projects, while CoinMarketCap lists the market capitalization of nearly any chain on the market.

Longevity

Finally, take a look at how long the project has been on the market. If it has been available for years, what has the project accomplished? Has it stuck to its roadmap and been reliable, or suffered from consistent delays and failing to deliver? A project’s reliability can be a great indicator of its longevity.

Alternatively, if a project is new to the market, consider observing it for a few months and seeing how things play out. If development appears smooth and the group is making a fair amount of progress and announcements, it might mark a more reliable long-term investment.



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Crypto DAO spends €2.66M on Jodorowsky’s Dune thinking they would own its copyright, receives mass ridicule on Twitter

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Late Saturday, Spice DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization that owns a copy of an unpublished manuscript of Frank Herbert and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s never-completed film Dune, announced its roadmap going forward. In the tweet, Spice DAO said it would “Make the book public, produce an original animated limited series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service, and support derivative projects from the community.” The group had previously won the Christie’s auction in November for the copy’s sale at 2.66 million euros (a little over $3 million), or about 89 times its price estimates at the midpoint.

However, there was just one problem, buying a copy of a book does not grant the purchaser its copyright. In the United States and European Union, copyright typically extends throughout the life of the last surviving co-creator, and an additional 70 years after their death. Currently, the copyright owners Jean Giraud and H.R. Giger are deceased, while Jodorowsky is still in good shape at 92 years of age. 

Twitter users and crypto enthusiasts alike seemed to respond to the post with ridicule. One exceptionally savage user by the name of @TheNinjaWhippet responded with a link to a free and publicly accessible copy of the book, which has existed online since 2011. The post garnered over 3,500 likes.

Under copyright laws, Spice DAO must seek co-creator consent before making an animated series inspired by the book and selling it to a streaming service or wait 70 years after the death of Jodorowsky, which would be when the works enter the public domain. In addition, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to whether the copy can be resold at par, as auctions require works to be evaluated by an appraiser to determine their value. Spice DAO has approximately 1,236.12 ETH ($4 million) in its treasury at the time of publication.