HOW BRANDS WILL WIN USING BLOCKCHAIN
In our last blog we attempted to demystify blockchain.
In case you missed it, blockchain is ‘simply’ a decentralised ledger. Instead of being held in a single location and requiring independent management and verification, blockchain is a ledger held simultaneously by all of the people who have access to it.
It might sound a bit dull, but the application of this technology will be transformative.
Blockchain technology effectively removes the need for any verification by an independent third party. So it potentially removes any situation in which an intermediary is required to verify the authenticity of something. Just in case the implications of this are not clear, it will mean (at least theoretically) that things like banks, lawyers, notaries and even regulators will no longer be required for some of the jobs they have traditionally done in society.
You will no longer need a lawyer to verify if someone has good title to a property or to administer a contract. You won’t need a traditional bank account in order to give or receive money. Identity fraud will virtually disappear, as it will be more or less impossible to pass yourself off as someone else. Customers will be able to have complete confidence in the transparency and veracity of a brand's supply chain. As a small trader you will be able to have complete confidence that the person you are dealing with is exactly who they say they are, and your customer will be able to pay you directly, entirely bypassing the established banking system.
RIGHT NOW WE ARE AT THE VERY START OF THE BLOCKCHAIN REVOLUTION, IN FACT WE ARE BARELY OUT OF THE STARTING GATE
For a lot of people blockchain will mean just one thing, Bitcoin. This is interesting because it demonstrates that most people find it easier to get their head around the application of a new technology than they do trying to understand the technology itself.
This is instructive. While it might be useful for fledgling companies to talk about their blockchain technology to investor communities, most customers won’t really be that interested. The analogy is a bit like the launch of 4G across the mobile network. Interesting for a bit and then quite quickly afterwards not that interesting at all. Most customers are not that interested in what 4G is or even how it works, what they care about is what the technology enables them to do.
4G IS PRETTY DULL, BUT STREAMING GAME OF THRONES SEAMLESSLY TO YOUR PHONE DURING YOUR COMMUTE IS A HECK OF A LOT MORE INTERESTING
Look down the list of the top 100-blockchain companies and you can see this pattern starting to emerge. ‘Google’ the list today and you will find a plethora of crypto-currencies and platform technologies, but look a bit harder and you will start to spot the companies that might become the next Google or UBER.
There are companies like:
Provenance is a b2b company that uses a range of technologies including blockchain to provide businesses and their customers with a completely transparent and verifiable supply chain. This is the business that will transform the level of trust that you have with your favourite brands and help you make decisions about new ones too.
Brave is a new easy to use browser that uses blockchain technology to block all digital ads and it stops all your data being passed to third parties. This is the browser that loads faster and puts you back in control. The company describe their mission as one of 'saving the internet' by working for both the users to protect their online safety, and the content creators to ensure they get a fair share of revenues.
Cool Cousin is a decentralized travel agency, responding to the growing need for travel experiences that are better curated to suit the traveller. It cuts through the complexity and often inaccuracy of the free information available online and connects local ‘Cousins' with travellers directly. Using blockchain technology and their own cryptocurrency, Cool Cousin offers accurate, well-tailored advice. Without the costly travel agent in the middle.
Not only do these businesses have the potential to disrupt established markets and become really significant businesses in their own right, but each of them have realised that breakthrough technology is an enabler and NOT a replacement for a compelling proposition.
BLOCKCHAIN WILL DRIVE TRANSPARENCY AND TRUST IN A WAY THAT WE HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE, BUT IT WILL BE THE BRANDS THAT APPLY THIS TECHNOLOGY TO ADDRESS NEW AND PERHAPS EVEN UNIMAGINED NEEDS THAT WILL FINISH UP THE BIG WINNERS
Brave, Provenance and Cool Cousin have all realised that to build a successful business and succeed with customers (as opposed to developers) you need an addressable insight, coupled with a compelling proposition plus a user experience that is simple to understand, easy to navigate and easy to use.
Brands like them, that put the customer and experience, rather than the underlying technology, front and centre, will be the ultimate winners.
We’ll bet several Bitcoin on that.