US President Donald Trump’s former interior secretary Ryan Zinke, who spent most of the last two years promoting blockchain technology, has now taken up a position with blockchain company Artillery One.

The North Carolina Business Corporation set up by Wall Street financier Daniel Cannon is currently working on a project in Kosovo where Zinke sees a good opportunity for blockchain and cyber security to “…combine to have a meaningful impact,” adding, “Proving the worth of the technology in the controlled environment of a small country is enormously important.”

Zinke argues that there seems to be a suspicion in some quarters that “blockchain does not really work”, an argument he has clearly set out to disprove. “We think it does and we want to showcase the utility and flexibility of the model,” he asserts.

Blockchain advocates have long been supporting the notion that the technology can really find a home in struggling overseas markets. An indication of this has been shown by Bitcoin uptake in some countries under extreme international pressure or internal economic upheaval, but as yet blockchain is a long way from becoming a mainstream go-to solution, despite an increasing and much-publicized use of the technology in the area of supply chain distribution.

Zinke cited such examples as cobalt production in Africa. Congo holds half of the world’s cobalt reserves and the demand for the main mineral component of lithium-ion batteries is set to surge as electric cars proliferate. According to Reuters, in 2016, Congo mined 54% of the total 123,000 tons of cobalt produced worldwide. Also, automaker Volkswagen is trying to secure long-term cobalt supplies to sustain their own electric car production, but need verification that no child labor has been involved in the production.

He said that blockchain could make it possible for “tracing cobalt through blockchain to make sure production isn’t being done using child labor”. It an issue already being looked into by Amnesty International, exploring the possibility of implementing blockchain technology to address the problem of child labor by enabling consumers to choose a mine to make their purchase and then tracking from source on the blockchain.

It remains to be seen what an ex-politician can bring to this innovative new world.

 

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