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News Digest: May #1

Singapore’s schools begin to issue certificates on blockchain

Starting this year, schools in Singapore, such as secondary schools, junior college, polytechnics, and universities will now receive digital certificates secured by blockchain, in addition to their physical certificates.

The move is part of an initiative called OpenCerts, jointly developed by SkillsFuture Singapore, Government Technology Agency, the Ministry of Education, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic. It marks the pioneering use of blockchain at the national level in Singapore. These digital certificates can be used to simplify administrative processes required to verify the authenticity of qualifications. There are also plans to extend the digital certificates to graduates from past years.

Blockchain’s tamper-resistant traits allow it to be used as a means of data validation in the absence of trust. In this case, it prevents the usage of forged qualifications that mask an individual’s actual level of education and experience; a common problem around the globe.

The certificates can be verified directly through OpenCerts at OpenCerts.io.

Source: CNA

Microsoft, Amazon launch managed blockchain services

Microsoft and Amazon both launched their own managed blockchain services last week.

Microsoft has released Azure Blockchain Services, a fully managed blockchain management service. Its first ledger is Ethereum-based Quorum, a blockchain platform by J.P. Morgan. Microsoft had previously been working on blockchain on its Azure cloud computing platform, launching a blockchain development kit and the Azure Blockchain Workbench.

Two days prior, Amazon Web Services launched its Managed Blockchain service for wider usage amongst enterprise clients. Established corporations like AT&T, Nestle, and Accenture are already onboard. Currently, only Hyperledger Fabric is available, however Amazon is working to implement support for the Ethereum network.

Source: PCMag | TechCrunch | Coindesk

Star Citizen – $242 million raised by crowdfunding, but still no end in sight.

Image Source: Polygon

When it comes to crowdfunding, Star Citizen is an undisputed winner, having found itself shot up into the galaxy beyond with a whopping $242 million raised through crowdfunding – the biggest crowdfunding project ever. However, seven years on there is still no sight of a completed Star Citizen. An exclusive Forbes report has shed light on the state of affairs within Cloud Imperium Games, the company behind Star Citizen.

Cloud Imperium is helmed by Chris Roberts, a renowned designer who gained fame from Wing Commander in the 90s. Forbes labelled the development process within Cloud Imperium as “incompetence and mismanagement on a galactic scale”. In interviews with 20 former employees, many of them painted a picture of a chaotic working environment. Roberts was described as a micromanager. In one instance, it was reported that a senior graphics engineer was made to spend months revising visual effects of the ship shields to meet Roberts’ expectations.

Despite the massive amount of effort poured into the game, it has failed to live up to gameplay expectations. The Federal Trade Commission has received 129 consumer complaints, requesting for refunds as high as $24,000. Roberts, meanwhile, stands by his magnum opus, describing criticism as fuelled by online trolls. Though not a single star system has been completed, he and an apparent majority of Star Citizen’s backers remain hopeful and expectant of its eventual release.

Source: Forbes