Jul 4, 2018

UK Food Standards Agency trials first use of blockchain in supply chain

regulations
technology
supply chain
food safety
Laura Mullan
2 min
Sian Thomas, Head of Information Management at FSA, described the pilot as an “exciting development” for the food safety sector.
The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has successfully piloted a blockchain-based supply chain monitoring system, in what it says...

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has successfully piloted a blockchain-based supply chain monitoring system, in what it says has been “the first time blockchain has been used as a regulatory tool to ensure compliance in the food sector.”

The food safety watchdog is responsible for protecting public health, relating to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  

The blockchain pilot was implemented at an unnamed cattle slaughterhouse and aimed to ensure compliance with safety regulations.

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Sian Thomas, Head of Information Management at FSA, described the pilot as an “exciting development” for the food safety sector. 

“We thought that blockchain technology might add real value to a part of the food industry, such as a slaughterhouse, whose work requires a lot of inspection and collation of results,” she said.

“Our approach has been to develop data standards with industry that will make theory reality and I'm delighted that we've been able to show that blockchain does indeed work in this part of the food industry.

“I think there are great opportunities now for industry and government to work together to expand and develop this approach.”

Blockchain technology records data and it cannot be altered. The technology was originally developed to track the transfer of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

In the blockchain pilot, both the FSA and the slaughterhouse has permission to access data which helped to improve transparency across the food supply chain.

In July, the agency aims to launch another pilot that will allow farmers to access data about animals on their farm.  

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Jul 26, 2021

Mark Zuckerberg: from college dropout to billionaire

Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg
Social Media
Catherine Gray
4 min
As the creator of the most popular social media platform, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has shaped the way generations communicate online

Mark Zuckerberg is the co-founder and CEO of the popular social networking website, Facebook. Founded out of his college dorm room at university, Zuckerberg left Harvard University in his sophomore year to concentrate on building the Facebook site.

The user base of the website has now grown to more than two billion people, turning Zuckerberg into a billionaire.

Early accomplishments

From an early age, Zuckerberg used his talents to create online applications for his friends and family to use. Around the age of 12, Zuckerberg used Atari BASIC to create messaging program ‘Zucknet’.

Zucknet was used by Edward Zuckerberg, Mark’s father, in his dental office to communicate with this receptionist. The Zuckerberg family also used it within their house.

Throughout his early education, despite excelling in literature and captaining the fencing team, Zuckerberg remained fascinated by computers. In high school, he created an early version of the music software Pandora.

Companies including AOL and Microsoft expressed interest in buying the software, as well as hiring teenage Zuckerberg before graduation. He declined these offers.

Life at Harvard University

By Zuckerberg’s sophomore year he had developed the reputation as the go-to software developer on campus.

In his time at Harvard, as well as developing Facebook, he built programs called CourseMatch and Facemash.

CourseMatch helped students choose their classes based on the course selections of other users.

Facemash compared the pictures of two students on campus, allowing them to vote on who was more attractive. This was later shut down by the school administration after it was deemed inappropriate.

Zuckerberg was sought out to help fellow students Divya Narendra and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss on an idea of their own. The idea, a social networking site they called Harvard Connection, was designed to use information from Harvard’s student network to create a dating site for the Harvard elite.

After agreeing to help, Zuckerberg dropped out to work on his own site, The Facebook.

Founding Facebook

With his friends, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerberg created The Facebook. This site allowed users to create their own profiles, upload photos and communicate with others.

The group of friends ran the site out of a dorm room at Harvard University until June 2004. In the same year, Zuckerberg dropped out of university and moved the company to Palo Alto, California.

By the end of 2004, Facebook had 1 million users.

In 2005, Accel invested $12.7 million into the network even though at the time it was only open to Ivy League students.

After granting access to other colleges, schools and international schools to use his site, Zuckerberg’s Facebook grew to more than 5.5 million users by 2005. 

Although companies offered to buy the social networking site, Zuckerberg did not want to sell out. One offer he turned down was a $1bn buyout offer from Yahoo in 2007. Zuckerberg focused instead on expanding the site and opening more features.

But, in 2007 Facebook did strike a deal with Microsoft. The software company paid $240 million for a 1.6 per cent stake in Facebook. Digital Sky Technologies purchased 1.96 per cent for $200 million two years later.

Zuckerberg’s net worth was estimated at about $1.5 billion in 2008.

Legal battles with Harvard Connection

Despite his successes with Facebook, Zuckerberg faced legal issues with the creators of Harvard Connection. 

Claiming Zuckerberg stole their idea, the creators of Harvard Connection insisted the software developer paid for their businesses losses.

After incriminating messages revealed Zuckerberg may have stolen the intellectual property of Harvard Connection, Zuckerberg apologised saying: “I think I’ve grown and learned a lot.”

An initial settlement of $65 million was reached. Despite this, the legal dispute over the issue continued into 2011 after claims Narendra and the Winklevosses claimed they were misled in regards to the value of their stock.

Current Influence

With a net worth of $113 billion, Zuckerberg signed the Giving Pledge which means he will donate 50% of his net worth to philanthropic causes before he dies. In 2010, he donated more than $100 million to save the Neward school system in New Jersey.

Following the birth of his daughter, Zuckerberg and his wife, Pricilla Chan, authored an open letter in which they pledge to give away 99% of their net worth during their lifetime

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