Infopulse VP: How Blockchain Can Transform Traditional Industries
Blockchain technology now is a multifaceted tool, which is widely used in business startups and pilot projects. However, when the hype dust is finally down, the question is what business or industry requires using decentralized systems to boost their further development.
At Kyiv Blockchain and Bitcoin Conference on September 19, Blockspoint talked to Jan Keil, Infopulse VP of Marketing, who revealed the way his huge company is developing new business models based on blockchain technology, and showed examples where traditional industries face the new era of smart contracts, decentralized protocols, and distributed ledgers.
Jan Keil has gained vast experience in IT since he began his career as a web-developer back in 1996. He is a blockchain enthusiast and adviser who manages all projects related to Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Infopulse is one of the biggest IT outsourcing companies in Ukraine. Having a 27-year experience in the software development, project support, and R&D, Infopulse is a part of EVRY – one of the biggest IT-holdings in the Nordics.
Blockchain is not only about Fintech businesses
Nowadays, many people are still of opinion that blockchain is too immature to have any significant impact on the real-world environment. Nevertheless, I believe that blockchain is ready to bring innovations across all industries, far beyond the financial sector. Infopulse’s portfolio covers multiple industries and technologies, where the blockchain development plays a small but nonetheless highly important role. During our R&D intensive collaboration, we have detected a wide range of services that can be drastically improved if put on a blockchain track. Of course, it requires a lot of business analysis, risks assessment, system architecture design, customers' business processes integration, and a proper migration strategy.
Infopulse offers customized blockchain-based solutions for enterprises and any companies across the range. From my point of view, the main sectors suitable for blockchain implementation are finance, energy, government service, healthcare, logistics, insurance, and education. Besides, blockchain can become a foundation for creating ecosystems of entire smart villages and cities. However, we have to realize the risks inherent to specific types of such systems.
Financial sector is one of the fields, where Infopulse has assisted in the development of several blockchain-based solutions. We started an MVP for syndicated loans. It is like crowdfunding but on a higher level, to provide millions or billions of funds, which a single bank would not take the risk to credit. We designed and developed an individual solution for syndicated loans based on the Hyperledger Fabric platform. It is a transactional platform, which is extremely fast, secure, cost-efficient, and error-proof. It allows processing queries from tremendous amount of users and stable maintaining all network participants interconnected. Not only can it be a business, but also a driver of economy changing the face of the world.
Healthcare is a massive convoluted and clumsy ecosystem, which is very expensive to maintain. Presently, it is in many ways outdated and has reached its limits. Its maintenance cost amounts to billions of dollars annually. We believe in the better future, where patients would keep their individual encrypted keys to their own healthcare records, which can be shared with any healthcare providers across the borders. We also imagine labs, healthcare apps, databases easily united into one global system.
Building such intelligent systems requires taking into account some other aspects. Giving a patient full control over their personal information is a good idea but entails certain risks. Imagine the situation, when some patient is not able to react, e.g. in an unconscious state. Doctors have to get access to their personal data stored on blockchain. Therefore, we have to provide some backdoor solution, which can give secure emergency access to the system.
Governmental services and digital identity are the next challenge. Some governments started initiatives on public service transformation, and it makes sense. We need better forms of identification. People do not trust centralized systems. At Infopulse, we have experience of using public blockchains to get things done in a right way and to see how the market reacts to it.
Energy sector is another space for blockchain implementation. It differs a lot from the financial sector, because here we have the real product, which is electricity. Not only do transactions involve information on energy assets, but also provide for their easy trading. All these applications are designed to connect energy suppliers with energy consumers. It consists of three major elements: 1) automated execution of transactions, 2) the proof of ownership and 3) distributing transaction record. Blockchain combines all three elements in a smart contract.
We need more education and a user-friendly interface
Blockchain implementation requires a simple, user-friendly interface. When it comes to common users, smart contracts and Bitcoin transactions are very difficult to deal with. The more companies will use and popularize blockchain, the faster the adoption of these technologies will occur.
For example, I met blockchain technologies back in 2010 for the first time. I remember this day as if it was yesterday. I installed a mining software on my personal computer. It was a program without graphic interface, using just a command line. The computer worked all night long, and when I looked at the screen next morning, I had no idea what is what. Therefore, I simply deleted the program from my PC. Since then, I forgot about bitcoins until I returned to them again in 2015. If there had been a more understandable way to handle the mining process back then, I think I would have been more deliberate about the bitcoin business. People have to understand things they are using.
To expedite spreading of decentralized technologies, we have to educate people and tell them about their potential advantages. With this purpose in mind, we have founded a university focused on re-training. Courses were originally aimed at training people professionally unrelated to IT, who wanted to change their occupation.
Today, there is a large number of programmers in Ukraine. 130,000 students graduate from universities annually. In Germany, this number reaches 90,000. Despite corruption and the non-efficient government, Ukrainian people strive for changes and move forward. German residents, on the contrary, are better off, have everything, but they cannot get out of their comfort zone.
The Government of Ukraine has no specific support programs for startups. Instead, these startups gain support from public ventures and companies like Infopulse. Now our company especially focuses on supporting startups that have already grown out of ICO. We assist them to properly allocate resources, establish business models, and define strategies. We have implemented a blockchain development project with Horizen (ZenCash) and have partnered for collaboration with Emmercoin. Recently, we signed a memorandum with Rootstock (RSK) that makes smart contracts on the Bitcoin platform. I suspect that if Bitcoin were equipped with the Lightning Network and RSK smart contracts, the Bitcoin blockchain would have replaced other decentralized protocols.
Photo: Sasha Che