Bitcoin, and other virtual currencies are up and down like the proverbial fiddlers elbow. Sure, if you can afford to take a punt (and make a loss) on the crypto markets then this might be a worthwhile exercise. Personally (and full disclosure here), as the CEO of a blockchain, AI and IoT startup, I would like to place my investment in something that solves problems. Now, I don’t want to teach anyone how to suck eggs, but if we look at the recent history of startups, perhaps with the exception of social media apps and channels, startups that general ‘work’ have solved a problem, and the really good ones solved a problem that people didn’t realise needing solving yet. Let’s take, for example, Ring.com, reject by the Sharks in the tank (the US equivalent of Dragon’s Den) it was later snapped up by Amazon for a cool $10 bn. Not bad for a six year old company. I’m not an investor, so please ignore my advice at will, but if I was looking to invest in the Blockchain space, here are the spaces I would look into (they also happen to be what Yotta Laboratories find particularly interesting too).
Blockchain for the developing world
Countries where governments are less than scrupulous (and in fact plainy corrupt) are ripe for blockchain technology to circumvent many issues, be it the distribution of property, illegal lotteries, or even the distribution of food in war zones. Yes, blockchain technology is being used right now to distribute food in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. How does it work? Eye scanning technology is linked to a food distribution system stored on a blockchain. Credits are issued to the individual from their World Food Programme account. This mitigates fraud completely. Imagine the applications for this elsewhere in the developing or indeed the developed world. In my opinion this tech elegantly solves, the issues around fraud linked to the greed of an individual. Eliminating fraud in this way doesn’t just have to apply in the context of financial services. Fraud, in developing nations, massively inhibits growth and a proven way to facilitate growth can only be a good thing for a startup, or your investment.
Blockchain for data security
What makes bitcoin so attractive for many is not just its anonymity, it’s also its unparalleled levels of security. Indeed, this is why Bitcoin was created — it’s all about the indelible record. As mobility becomes all pervasive and the machines in our daily lives become more connected, the opportunities for data to ‘leak’ into the wrong hands intensifies. A blockchain company that can solve threats around interconnectivity and data security are onto a sure fire winner.
Blockchain in finance
There are a number of blockchain companies out there who are looking to facilitate ultra secure transactions. Unsurprisingly many of these companies are using blockchain to make ICO’s or the instruments around trading cryptocurrencies more secure. In my opinion the silver bullet for a blockchain company in a financial context will be in the markets, and not the crypto ones. The real value add for a blockchain company in a financial services context will be the levels of transparency that it can add. Imagine if a run on the stock market, like the 2008 financial crash which we are still suffering the aftershocks from, could be avoided. If Bear Stearns or RBS had used blockchain to identify the ‘bad’ investments (dodgy mortgage bonds, packaged up with some safe ones) the crash could have been completely avoided. To the best of our knowledge a blockchain system to deliver transparency in high finance is just a work in progress, but we suspect it’s only a matter of time.
About the Author:
Gary Spence, CEO of Yotta Laboratories
Gary aims to take technology to the next level using Distributed Ledger Technology. Gary is a seasoned technology executive with over twenty years of senior-level digital transformation experience. Yotta Laboratories was the brainchild of Gary, whose mission is, and always has been, to create tomorrow’s technology today.