In the struggle to build the blockchain of the future, the team at Universa spares no efforts.
Over the last couple of weeks, CEO Alexander Borodich and his colleagues have held high-level meetings all over the planet, stroke deals, gave lectures and opened new offices, but most importantly, they have demonstrated how we are moving forward in the push to bring the real economy to the blockchain.
The most exciting development of the Universa blockchain project over the last few weeks has certainly been the announcement of a memorandum of understanding with Novotrans. That’s right, during the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi, on February 15th, one of the largest railway rolling stock operators in Russia agreed on moving its fleet forward towards the reality of the internet of things, with the help of Universa. To be sure, Novotrans manages a fleet of 28 thousand railway cars and transports over 37 million tonnes of cargo per year.
The operator now wants to digitize its fleet, being able to track their loads, unloads and GPS data, as well as tracking maintenance needs and maintaining the cars’ digital history. This represents one of the first moves by a major railway transport operator towards integration with the blockchain and is a meaningful step forward towards the integration of blockchain technology with real-life services beyond financial transactions. Universa continues to impose itself as a solutions provider for all things blockchain, particularly in the transport sector. The team had already established a partnership with McFly.aero, a blockchain project focused on management of flying taxis, which will launch an ICO in April. Admittedly, blockchain system implementation in the railway system is likely to be quicker than within the flying taxi business.
Real life deployment
While the application of the Universa system into infrastructural and transport focused industries is a long-term play, the financial sector is another game altogether. Last week, the Universa team announced the deployment and successful testing of a testnet for AlfaBank, one of Russia’s biggest commercial banks with which Universa maintains a close cooperation. According to the team, the system performed perfectly while sustaining eighteen thousand transactions per second on intra-banking transactions. That is nine times the number of transactions supported by Visa’s system. Universa also deployed a multi-operating system supported app to track the testnet’s performance for AlfaBank. The success of this collaboration could quickly open doors to further real-world applications in the financial sector, further expanding Universa blockchain’s exposure to partners and clients.
Aiming for the millions
Over several visits to South East Asia in recent weeks, the team has been holding high-level meetings with ministers and business leaders, which are resulting in new projects and partnerships. ASN Networks and the Malaysian National Co-operative Movement Angkasa Coop are working with Universa on the deployment of a system to manage and monitor the distribution of welfare payments in Malaysia.
Once in place, the system will effectively block the misuse of such funds for non-intended and illegal purposes, such as the purchase of cigarettes or alcohol products. It will also open the door to as many as six million Malaysians to start using Universa’s token for transactions related to welfare services.
Government partnerships have been at the very core of Universa’s progression over the last couple of months, as they have maintained high-level negotiations with Kazakhstan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Korea, Germany, Russia and many other growing centers for blockchain technology.
Wide range approach
The team has defined its growth strategy around three pillars, which include services for governments, services for enterprises and support for developers.
The focus on governments is well mirrored in the partnerships the team has already established with nations around the world, particularly in Russia, China and Malaysia.
The partnership announced during the World Economic Forum in Davos with EY last month, is a clear example of the entreprise side of this strategy. The cooperation agreement with the global consultancy firm will focus on the the implementation of blockchain products for industries and services.
When it comes to developers, however, the focus is not so much on profitability and project deployment, but on Universa’s own sustainability. In the words of the Universa CEO himself, the team wants to “make sure both us and our partners have enough blockchain developers who understand how blockchain works”. This approach is tackling a potential problem with scaling the Universa system beyond the scope of the team’s current capabilities. The launch of Universa’s Blockchain Academy and other educational programs will go a long way in fulfilling the team’s goal of having over one thousand developers capable of writing software for Universa’s smart contracts by the end of the year. The launch of a blockchain education program and blockchain software development program in cooperation with the Shanghai Institute of Commercial Development, which opened to enrolments last month, is the first of these programs to move forward, but others have already been agreed upon for other nations. Universa’s Shanghai-based working group has also initiated operations.
Trading and hodling
After much expectation, the UTNP token, the placeholder token for Universa’s native UTN token, which will be available once the Universa blockchain is deployed, was distributed to all Universa investors that passed the Know Your Customer process. Almost simultaneously, the token started trading on exchanges. First listed in Cobinhood in mid-February, UTNP is now also trading on HitBTC in the USDT, BTC and ETH pairs. Trading volume remains relatively low at just above a million dollars per day, and the token is trading at around USD$0.04 cents.
Universa HODL hardware wallet
Finally, this week, during the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Universa announced and presented its own hardware wallet. The Universa HODL wallet works with a wireless Bluetooth system and can hold Universa tokens, Bitcoin, Ethereum and ERC20 tokens. The team developed its own high-end safety software to develop a convenient way for users to hold and transfer their digital assets. It allows for single tap transactions when connected to a mobile device. The wallet is available for pre-order, costs ETH0.25 and taps into a market overwhelmingly dominated by Ledger, Trezor and KeepKey.