Though some blockchain efforts, particularly those with cryptocurrencies tied to them, have received some bad raps, the technology is a very effective one for loyalty and for other use cases, according to experts who spoke at the recent Loyalty Live seminar in Chicago.
Sana Badhwar, founder of Nexworx, Inc. and of Blockchain Smart Panels, pointed out that peer-to-peer networks have only been alive for nine years, so blockchain is still very early in its development, with the last two years being the most evolutionary with uses starting to be developed for payment gateways, identity sovereignty, data sovereignty, civil rights and humanitarian causes, likely only the initial types for usage. Some of those possibilities were discussed in an earlier article in The Wise Marketer.
Badhwar sees blockchain solving issues for the estimated 1.7 billion people worldwide who are unbanked, as well as for a safe, secure repository for an estimated 1.3 billion children’s records.
[dropshadowbox align="center" effect="lifted-both" width="70%" height="" background_color="#ffffff" border_width="1" border_color="#dddddd" ]Badhwar sees blockchain solving issues for the estimated 1.7 billion people worldwide who are unbanked.[/dropshadowbox]
However, blockchain isn’t the right solution for all records – due to their size and other issues – blockchain technology wouldn’t work for photos, according to Badhwar.
Tracy Laparulo, CEO of Untraceable, the company that organized Loyalty Live and has hosted similar other blockchain-related seminars, said that blockchain provides utility for sending money from place to place. While in the U.S. and much of Europe that’s already very easy to do, in underdeveloped countries like Africa, sending money from one area to another is very difficult. Blockchain provides a way to solve this issue.
With the ability to send payments, store records and other capabilities, blockchain has grabbed the attention of developers, who are “flooding the space,” according to Laparu.
“Throughout the process there have been negative reports, but blockchain keeps getting bigger,” Laparu says, pointing to the example of Polymath, a company that is developing a new blockchain ecosystem, specifically designed as a security tokens platform on which regulation-compliant tokens can be built and traded. The Polymath system is designed to solve regulatory issues that threaten some of the other blockchain providers. The question of what is and what isn’t a blockchain security has yet to be clearly defined.
With an undefined regulatory picture and the typical challenges of new technologies, there will be blockchain efforts that fail, said Al Burgio, founder of DigitalBits, an open-source project supporting the adoption of blockchain technology by enterprises. The technology enables enterprises to tokenize assets on the decentralized DigitalBits blockchain; transfer and trade those tokenized assets on-chain; and enables fast payments and remittances.
Anyone can use the DigitalBits blockchain to create digital assets (also known as digital tokens) that are 100 percent portable/transferable on this decentralized network. When enterprises tokenize their loyalty points or other assets on this network, consumers will receive points in the form of digital tokens.
Just like “dotcom” companies thrived after many early efforts failed and many companies that were too late to adopt the internet as part of their strategy failed, the oncoming influence of blockchain technology is inevitable, according to Burgio. “If you don’t embrace blockchain, all of a sudden you will find it running into you like a Mack Truck.”
Phil Britt is a reporter for The Wise Marketer.