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Is Blockchain only cool or does it solve a problem?

Blockchain Innovation Conference was organized for the fifth time and was held on 7 June in Utrecht at the head office of Rabobank. Vincent Everts was the conference director and chairman of the day. Partners of BIC18 include Rabobank, IBM, KPMG, Bitfury and HPE. The theme of # BIC18 this year was ‘Blockchain: From Proof or Concept to Real World Solutions’.

Fintech

First speaker was David Birch. Birch is one of the founders of Consult Hyperion, a fintech expert in the field of digital money: “I have the theory that Bitcoin is not the future of money, but that tokens could be.”

A token is in fact nothing more than a new term to refer to a unit of value issued by a private entity. Although tokens have many similarities to bitcoins (they have a value provided by a community is accepted and blockchain based), they serve a much broader purpose. Tokens are more than one currency because they can be used in a wider range of applications.

“I’ve been in the Netherlands for a week now and I really do not know what kind of currency you have, I never used cash. All payments went digital. Some place where they want cash is a coffee shop. ”

Tokenisation

Birch had an interview recently with Jonathan Larsen, Corporate Venture Capital Manager at Ping An and CEO of their Global Voyager Fund (which has one billion dollars under management). Birch: “When I told him that the tokenisation of assets would be a revolution, he said that” tokenisation is a really huge trend … a much bigger story than cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and even Blockchain.When the tokenisation market is well regulated and the technology is stable, everything will be tainted.

The Swiss FINMA, Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority has developed an approach based on the underlying purpose of the tokens that are created. FINMA classifies the tokens into three types: Payment tokens (ie money), Utility tokens (tokens that are intended to provide digital access to an application or service) and Asset tokens (representing assets such as interests in companies or a right to dividend). Of course hybrid forms are possible and in practice there are probably a few different configurations, or a “digital bearer instrument” (DBI). DBI is a combination of tokens.

Birch was skeptical about the people who value Blockchain too much. “You will certainly have heard it, Blockchain will solve the refugee crisis, climate change, world hunger, etc., but nobody explains how this will happen.”

Birch continued: “The most important thing is that there is a mechanism that prevents double spent. I send you a value, then you have the value, I no longer. Bitcoin has no meaning. The Bitcoin price is not a real thing. Bitcoin market cap is not really something. You will not get the money anyway. 1/3 of the bitcoins are lost anyway. A dog who has eaten a hardware wallet, lost phones, hard disks that can no longer be saved, “Birch believes more in quantum computers.

Birch was also in favor of regulation. “Bitcoin people sometimes say that it is just the Wild West. If the Wild West were beautiful, we would still live in it! People do not want to live in the Wild West. Crypto is not meant for a few insiders, market manipulators and early adapters to empty the public’s wallet. “Birch thinks that there are five institutes that can start new money.

He made a plea for regionalization. The Central Bank used to be the Bank of Amsterdam, and we will go there again, according to Birch.

Bart Mellink of Gartner “Is Blockchain only cool or does it solve a problem? Most Blockchain projects would be solved faster and cheaper without Blockchain. Distributed database has been around for much longer. What many companies are looking for is distributed trust. Many companies want to quickly send a press release with which they want to show the world that they are working with blockchain. Something is being put together quickly and many companies only have a proof of concept. All companies first have to think which business problem is solved with blockchain instead of “We have to do something with blockchain.”

After this there were examples of companies that have a working Blockchain application.

Rabobank

CEO of Rabobank Wiebe Draijer, proudly told that as a bank they will launch a working trading platform based on blockchain. We.trade consortium, of which Rabobank is the only Dutch party, was co-developed by IBM. We.trade is an initiative of nine European banks active in eleven countries. They are open to all banks and hope that more banks will join. We.trade should become a platform that should simplify domestic and cross-border trade for EU companies. Companies that do business abroad are worried about the counterparty, are they going to deliver? Are they going to pay. By offering a standard they can offer instant security to all parties involved. Because a blockchain platform offers transparency and is digitally managed, it is easy for the banks that participate to offer guarantees and financing. After banks have entered all the required data, the banks of the customers receive the request to settle the transaction. Only when the conditions of a smart contract are met, the payments are automatically activated.

Rabobank has a number of initiatives within Blockchain including Rabobit ( developing a cryptowallet that fits into your online banking environment).

Koopman

Koopman Logistics Group is the first logistic service provider in Europe to use blockchain technology to fully digitize logistic processes in the transport and storage of new and used cars. Jon Kuiper, CEO Koopman Logistics Group came on stage with a pile of papers. These were papers from 1 truck with only 8 cars. There are 300 trucks a day!

Car suppliers ask Koopman where their car is. Koopman has to sort this out in a pile of papers (which according to the law they also have to keep for years). Everyone knows what can happen with stacks of papers. 1 million cars are transported per year!
These are new cars but there are also another 45 million used cars a year. There is a lot of fraud committed here:

  • kilometer fraud
  • car with a so-called damage (something is damaged) is sold cheaper and the damage is then repaired after the purchase
  • cars are completely disassembled and sold as individual parts ( then reassembled).

Koopman has already delivered the first car for which no paper consignment note has been produced. For the client of the transport, Pon Logistics, this means a complete digitization of the transport of the car from the storage location to the dealer. This means that the delivery process is handled completely digitally. Because the whole process is located in a blockchain environment, data is optimally secured and unchangeable.

Everledger

CEO of Everledger, Leanne Kemp, was the next speaker to be one of the first to put a working blockchain solution on the market. Everledger uses the blockchain to track properties such as diamond cut and quality, but also to control diamonds from war zones.

Everledger uses more than 40 functions, including color and brightness, to create a diamond ID. This information, which is included in the blockchain, becomes a certificate that records the ownership of the jewel of the mine to the ring. Everledger has digitized more than a million diamonds and cooperated with companies such as Barclays.

Everledger now also wants to offer solutions for other conflict minerals such as Kobalth and Lithium.

ICO

A number of ICOs were allowed to pitch for Blockchain startup the Best Dutch ICO. The winner Tykn is a special startup, founded by the ‘invisible man’ Tey El-Rjula. As a refugee, El-Rjula, born in Kuwait, lost his identity when his birth papers were destroyed during the Gulf War.

El-Rjula arrived in the Netherlands via Dubai with a work visa, but all his documents were taken when that ended.

From an asylum seekers’ center in Zeist he started a startup that provides undocumented refugees with digital identity through Blockchain technology. He now works, among other things, with the 510-data team of the Red Cross.

The award was presented by Prince Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau, special envoy from StartupDelta and enthusiastic about the possibilities of Blockchain technology.

Is Blockchain only cool? A hype? Or does it solve a problem? There are examples of companies that have found a solution for certain problems thanks to Blockchain. Hopefully there will be more concrete examples now and in the future.

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