Afternoon Coffee: Tradeshift, Monerium partner in historic digital payment transaction; Elon Musk under fire as a supplier…but so is Boeing

Subbotina Anna/Adobe Stock

Count on Iceland to be ground zero for a cool trend — or historic milestone, depending on how one looks at it.

Recently, Icelandic retailer Nordic Store purchased goods from IKEA Iceland and settled an e-invoice — which would generally be no big deal, but the two parties used Tradeshift’s platform and smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain and Monerium’s programmable digital cash to carry out this reportedly historic P2P transaction, according to this release.

With the transaction, Monerium, an authorized provider of licensed e-money for blockchains, and Tradeshift, a solution provider specializing in supply chain payments and marketplaces, “prove government-regulated, programmable e-money is ready for mainstream markets. A new category of blockchain-powered payments is now a reality,” according to the release.

Anti-slavery crackdown on goods from five nations

The United States Customs and Border Protection has blocked the import of goods suspected to have been made with forced labor from five countries. The imports included clothing from China and diamonds from Zimbabwe. The CBP said it seized five different products this week based on information indicating the goods were made using slave labor, reports Reuters.

'What would it be like if Elon Musk was your supplier? Just ask NASA!’

“I’ve been critical of all contractors that overpromise and underdeliver,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine to Marina Koren in an article for The Atlantic, after he had a public Twitter scuffle with Elon Musk over SpaceX’s delayed project contracted by NASA to carry people to the moon and Mars, according to an Atlantic newsletter. Boeing is also on the project, which is known as Commercial Crew, and the American plane-maker is behind as well, as indicated by Bridenstine’s quote above. “We are not singling out anybody,” he is quoted as saying, as both private companies drag their feet on the effort.

Meanwhile, Tesla's first overseas manufacturing site in China to start production

As Tesla Inc’s first manufacturing unit outside the U.S., the China factory aims to start production this month, according to sources, but a question mark hangs over whether it will meet year-end production targets because of uncertainties around orders, labor and suppliers, reports Reuters. Tesla wants to make at least 1,000 Model 3s a week here by the end of this year. The plant’s mass production schedule is important for Tesla’s hopes of reaching its total production rate at an annualized 500,000 vehicles by the end of this year.

Italy expresses concern over prospect of U.S. tariff

Italy seems apprehensive over the prospect of the U.S. imposing tariffs on Italian exports. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Wednesday that Rome was "worried."

“The subject of tariffs worried us a lot because we have companies that survive on exports,” Di Maio told reporters at a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. There was an awkward moment in the press conference when an Italian TV reporter handed over a block of Parmesan cheese to Pompeo as an apparent appeal against the tariffs.

Food manufacturers are deploying more automation solutions

A recent survey by the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies has revealed that food manufacturers are increasing their reliance on robotics and automation in everything from butchering and sorting to mixing ingredients and even cooking. Nearly a third of food processing and more than 90% of packaging operations are now performed using robotics. Automation in the sector is expected to grow sharply as advancements continue.

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