Interviews

Charles Miller

What can’t you do on the blockchain?

Last year’s trade shows for crypto and blockchain were all about ICOs—initial coin offerings. This year, ICOs are out, says Richard Kastelein from Blockchain News. Instead there’s a new collection of financial products—which may or may not suffer the quickly deteriorating reputation of ICOs.

Perhaps more significant, today there are real use cases of blockchain being taken up by big business. Overall, Richard says we’re witnessing “Wall Street meets Main Street.” He points to Walmart’s requiring the adoption of a blockchain system by all its spinach and lettuce suppliers. And other retailers are following fast, Richard says: “that’s proof that this blockchain stuff works.” There are also projects to track diamonds and timber, to prove the claimed provenance of individual items. Supply chains are turning out to be the “most valid use cases” so far.

As to what will be next year’s trend, Richard predicts that it will tokenizing. He notes that Singapore Airlines have already tokenized their air miles system. And there’s potential for more tokenization in relation to loyalty programmes and brands: “how can you reward people that become ‘prosumers’ for you?”—the brand ambassadors. ‘Tokenomics’ is about “trying to achieve an end result and then gamifying the system to achieve that result.”

It’s a natural development for the Bitcoin blockchain, Richard says, because it’s the same principle that Satoshi used when devising the network: “This is what Satoshi did with Bitcoin as well: he created a way for people to be honest in the mining process and have a surefire way to let people create ledgers that can’t be challenged.”

Richard Kastelein was talking to CoinGeek as one of the exhibitors at the recent London Blockchain Expo. Another exhibitor was nChain, which also traces a direct line back to the vision of Satoshi Nakamoto, as a strong proponent of Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision). Osmin Callis, from nChain’s Professional Services department was pleased to find many of the big consultancies represented at the show: “We’ve been talking to PWC. We’d already had discussions with the blockchain strategic lead at Dell—we saw her again.” Overall, Osmin said she was “very optimistic …I think we’ve got some amazing possibilities open.”

But it wasn’t all mainstream stuff at Blockchain Expo: Sergio Rigert of Gingr, a Swiss startup, explained what his company is planning to do on the blockchain: “My business is revolutionising the oldest industry in the world, which is the prostitution industry.” Gingr will be the Uber or Airbnb of prostitution, Sergio says. Bookings will be made using the Gingr Coin. If you’re wondering whether the idea of an immutable ledger would be a selling point to clients of this particular kind of business, Sergio has reassurance to offer: “Your data won’t be exploited …we just have it in our system, which is separate, in a separate server, so when you actually do a transaction, you’re just getting a number.”

To hear more from Sergio, Richard and Osmin, listen to this week’s CoinGeek Conversations podcast, or watch on Youtube.

And please subscribe to CoinGeek Conversations – this is episode 17 of a weekly podcast series. Just search for “CoinGeek Conversations” wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe on iTunes, listen on Spotify or visit the CoinGeek Conversations website.

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