Italy’s Top News Agency Uses Blockchain to Fight Fake Coronavirus News

Italy’s Top News Agency Uses Blockchain to Fight Fake Coronavirus News

Italy’s top news agency ANSA launches Ernst & Young’s blockchain solution to fight against fake coronavirus news

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Amid the global pandemic crisis, the importance of ensuring trusted information is getting more crucial as fake coronavirus news poses a direct threat to life and health of people worldwide.

While some global jurisdictions are imposing fines and imprisonment for spreading false coronavirus information, a major news agency in Italy is hoping to stop fake news by implementing blockchain technology.

All the news that’s fit to hash

ANSA, Italy’s main news agency and an international publication owned by 24 national newspapers, has launched a news tracking system based on blockchain to bring more trust between the company and its readers. Called ANSAcheck, the blockchain-powered tool purportedly allows users to verify the origin and history of news published on its platforms, its affiliated publications as well as third parties such as social media or other platforms, ANSA announced on April 6.

Additionally, the technology implementation allows ANSA to keep track of its content use and link ecosystem actors, publishers and web agencies, the firm said.

ANSA readers can verify articles with blockchain by clicking on a special label

According to the announcement, the system was developed in collaboration with Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young. Specifically, the system provides a news article with a tracking label “Notizia d’origine certificata” (“News of Certified Origin”). The label links a news piece to a page containing details like date and time of recording or publishing the article, registered blocks for relevant events, as well as links to relevant blockchain transactions on blockchain browser Etherscan.

Blockchain news verification system by ANSA agency. Source: ANSAcheck

Blockchain news verification system by ANSA agency. Source: ANSAcheck

ANSAcheck is based on Ethereum

According to a local ANSA report, the ANSAcheck system is based on Ernst & Young’s proprietary EY Ops Chain Traceability solution, which is based on the Ethereum blockchain. Particularly, the platform is implementing smart contract technology by linking a news article to a digital representation and creating a specific cryptographic string, ANSA noted.

As previously announced, EY Ops Chain was launched in April 2017 in order to enable enterprises to represent their operations on a blockchain using digital tokens and smart contracts.

Stefano de Alessandri, CEO at ANSA, outlined that the news agency has become aware of frequent fraudulent use of ANSA brand to provide false information. The executive noted that ANSA is the first agency to implement the tech to tackle the problem:

„We are therefore particularly proud to be the first to launch a highly innovative project, carried out for all our readers and the clients of the Agency […] Starting today, we can track the origin of the news and – at the same time – support the professionalism of our journalists.”

Cointelegraph reached out to ANSA for additional information and will update if we hear back.

In mid-March, Cointelegraph reported on the Argentine government’s website suffering a major hack that enabled attackers to spread fake coronavirus-related news.

Adrian Zmudzinski contributed reporting for this story.


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Italy’s top news agency ANSA launches Ernst & Young’s blockchain solution to fight against fake coronavirus news

Ex Italy’s Economy Minister on ‘Transition From Old Coins to New Coins’

Ex Italy’s Economy Minister on ‘Transition From Old Coins to New Coins’

“It’s the future and you cannot stop it.” Former Italian Minister of Economy spoke to Cointelegraph about crypto

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During the Code4Future conference, the first event in Italy dedicated to the concept of open innovation held at the Talent Garden in Rome, the former Minister of Economy and Finance Giulio Tremonti — currently president of Aspen Institute Italia — expressed his thoughts regarding the future of digital payments and the advent of cryptocurrencies.

On Nov. 8, the first day of the Code4Future event, Tremonti took part in a round table discussion, during which he said the opportunities offered by the fintech sector were changing both business logic and the role of traditional banks:

“Banks may be caught off-guard by fintech activities. An alliance between traditional banks and new digital industries is essential. A structure that incorporates new techniques but maintains old values.”

Issues surrounding the level of trust that users must place in the traditional banking system, which has been in decline for several years, was also addressed:

“How can we recover this trust? The idea is to integrate the new with the old in order to write a different history than that of the banks. The idea of trust in central bodies has been present in our reality for a very long time. Just think of what is written on the notes of the Weimar Republic, as reported by Goethe: ‘trust me, believe in me.’”

The former Minister then expressed his opinion regarding Facebook’s Libra project and the relationship between old and new currencies. In his opinion, Libra will forever change the rules of the game as well as the way users think about and use money:

“There will be a transition from old coins to new coins. I believe this to be the case, but I can’t tell you when. I think your children will see a world in which currency will be created differently.”

For the first time, we are discussing a currency that does not necessarily need to be distributed by a state, and this is happening because people have slowly begun to sell portions of their sovereignty:

“In the near future, citizens will sell portions of their sovereignty to top players like Facebook. Because if it is an over-the-top system, we believe that by providing a portion of our identity, we are doing the right thing, because they offer something in return. And so what they have becomes true, and what you have becomes false.”

Tremonti also commented on the news of the imminent launch of a national cryptocurrency by China:

“The world is splitting between the republic of the United States and the digital despotism of China. The Chinese system is all about absolute control. I believe this is a control technique, not a financial technique.”

Cointelegraph finally asked what his opinion was on decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin:

“It’s the future and you cannot stop it. Having said that, Bitcoin does not have a clear legal status, and this is clearly an obstacle. According to accounting rules, it’s an asset you should put on your financial statements. But if it’s an asset that you should put on your financial statements, should VAT be applied when it is sold? It is still an area of ​​great uncertainty.”


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“It’s the future and you cannot stop it.” Former Italian Minister of Economy spoke to Cointelegraph about crypto

Italy’s Banks to Use Blockchain to Boost Settlements and Improve Transparency

Italy’s Banks to Use Blockchain to Boost Settlements and Improve Transparency

Italy’s banks plan to integrate DLT into internal processes to improve transparency and efficiency

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Italian banks will deploy blockchain technology to run reconciliations starting in March 2020, financial technology news outlet Finextra reported on June 18.

The Italian Banking Association (ABI) has announced that Italy’s banks will integrate distributed ledger technology (DLT) into internal processes to boost settlements. The deployment of blockchain is also set to improve transparency in transactions between banks and efficiency of communication between counterparties.

The initiative comes as part of a program managed by ABI Lab dubbed Spunta Project, a blockchain interbank solution based on blockchain consortium R3’s open-source distributed ledger platform. The ABI began testing Spunta in February. At the time, Spunta was undergoing testing by 18 banks that together represent 78% of the Italian banking sector by number of employees.

ABI’s blockchain-powered interbank system successfully passed the initial phase of testing last October, with the participation of 14 local banks. The application of blockchain was also expected to assist in specific aspects of banking operations that usually involve a number of complex discrepancies such as storing data on multiple nodes shared by the banks, with the implementation of smart contracts.

In February of this year, the Italian House of Representatives approved a bill defining DLT and blockchain, as well as the technical criteria that smart contracts will have to comply with in order to have legal validity.

In May, Prince Lorenzo de’ Medici, president of the eponymous Medici Bank, said he had been motivated by advancements in blockchain technology to start the new venture, which aims to “create seamless, digital customer experiences and expand financial opportunity across global markets.”


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Italy’s banks plan to integrate DLT into internal processes to improve transparency and efficiency