The majority of the media focus on the Blockchain relates to the tsunami of disruption that is about to hit the finance sector; and with a lot of justification. After all, the report by Santander Innvoventures the venture arm of the Spanish banking group back in July 2015 concluded that banking infrastructure costs could be reduced by up to twenty billion dollars by the year 2022. When we also consider the practical use cases and proofs of concept that enable the costs of international payments to be reduced by up to 85%, we can understand why the media love the potential Financial Armageddon the Blockchain can bring ; after all it generates great titles, great copy and of course, great advertising revenues. The blockchain will change the way we view money, as the internet changed the way we view information, and the Venture Capital community is beginning to bet serious money on it.
This infographic from Virtual Capital Ventures highlights the main summary Blockchain/Bitcoin ecosystem for financial services, with new players being added all the time and more investments being made daily – with the cumulative total now in excess of $1bn.
But how about the non-financial space ? After all Goldman Sachs were quoted recently as stating:
“The BlockChain can change… well everything”
Whilst the Blockchain will change the way we view money, it also has the power to change how we view ownership.
As can be seen from this technical diagram relating to the make-up of a block of data in the blockchain,
one of the core fundamentals of the blockchain is the ability to permanently timestamp data; data that can’t be changed. That is a powerful force that is full of potential, especially if we consider property ownership.
The Honduras government has been working with a US company, Factom, on a proof of concept for removing land title fraud . The biggest issue the government had historically was that property documents were handwritten and subject to incorrect data. When the World Bank funded the conversion of these manual records to digital records all of a sudden some of the leaders in the Honduras allegedly “gained” beach front properties. The Blockchain has the power to permanently identify ownership and lock that ownership on a ledger that is immutable – in other words cannot be overwritten. If this proof of concept develops this use of the Blockchain could change the real estate market once and for all. But this proof of ownership doesn’t just extend to property.
A UK based startup, Everledger, looks at the provenance of diamonds – in other words the chain of ownership. One of the major problems for the diamond industry as a whole is that many diamonds are smuggled out of war torn regions – called blood diamonds. Equally, hundreds of million dollars of insurance claims are made every year. Everledger looks at the metadata of each diamond, that uniquely defines each diamond.
They then lock this data to the block chain to confirm ownership of the diamond and the history of that ownership. Ultimately, it means anyone can see where the diamonds have come from. So, for example, if somebody is selling a stolen diamond on eBay just by going into the into the Everledger system they could potentially identify the diamond’s “dubious history”. So how about intangible assets?
Out of Berlin, there is a startup, Ascribe, that is looking at the provenance of artwork. By locking ownership into art pieces and registering this on the blockchain, artists are able to protect their work and send it securely to chosen parties. At Veredictum, we are looking into the ownership and distribution of video. Piracy and video theft are major problems for the video industry as a whole, so we are creating a suite of tools to enable ownership to be defined and transferred securely.
The Blockchain does have the power to change almost anything, so if you understand how the technology works, and understand its power to register ownership, with some out of the box thinking could be used to enhance almost any industry.
(For those of you that would like to understand more about the BlockChain, its power and what it can do, we have created a suite of down-to-earth workshops that will guide you – to look beneath the hype; to look at how it works and what is can do for you and your organisation. Check out Veredictum.io for more details.)
If you are interested in understanding more about the Blockchain, its power and its challenges, why not check out my new book Down The Rabbit Hole, a book for business & non-technical people, like you, to truly understand the Blockchain & to capitalize on its power. Its available on :