Pilot episode of Last week in blockchain, a podcast with the latest developments in the world of the blockchain. This episode 4 companies using the blockchain:
Welcome to Last week in blockchain. This is my first pilot podcast about the blockchain. I’m motivated to tell you all about the latest developments in the blockchain communities, companies and networks around the world. I’m from the Netherlands, so a lot of the examples and great initiatives will be Dutch in origin, but I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for international examples.
New blockchain initiatives are popping up all around. Big companies are embracing the new technology. In this post I’ll be discussing Kodak, Singapore Airlines and two smaller startups: Fummi and Choon.
First of all, a Kodak moment. We all remember Kodak from the 80’s and 90’s when we bought film from the company. Film we had to develop and with the digital revolution in photography, Kodak disappeared from our list of companies we have in our lives on a regular basis. But Kodak is back. They started a blockchain initiative on the copyright of pictures, together with WENN Digital Partners. I always like companies that use the blockchain to solve an existing problem, not creating a problem to solve it because they have the technology to fix it.
They are using an ICO to start off KODAKCoin, a cryptocurrency to make sure authors of digital pictures are being payed for the use of their work. It’s an investment and a risk; several governments, such as the US Securities & Exchange Commission, warn for the ICO’s promoted by celebrities or cryptocurrencies in general. Kodak however started with the problem of copyright, use of photos you put online and royalties for photographers and created a blockchain and need for a cryptocurrency afterwards, not for a quick profit. And that’s a big difference I think.
The next big company starting a blockchain solution is Singapore Airlines. They are going to use the blockchain for their KrisFlyer program. After a successful proof-of-concept, they are rolling out the digital solution for their frequent flyers as of now. Users will be able to spend their frequent flyer miles at various locations in Singapore for goods and services.
I don’t believe this is a great example of the blockchain solving an unsolved problem. It does show that the blockchain is moving away from the geeky tech savy realm into everyday life. But why use a blockchain in this example in stead of a centralized database at the airline? What’s the big gain of using a blockchain? Maybe we will see that in the future.
Two smaller initiatives I recently came across were Fummi and Choom. First of all Fummi. The New York based idea helps homeless people reobtain an identity (link in Dutch) and way of managing their money. It solves a few problems at once and that’s why I like these kind of blockchain startups. First of all it prevents fraud with food stamps, it gives homeless people access to assistance and it helps them to manage their money for a shelter, shower or clothing. Because they are not part of the national or global financial system, they normally don’t have access to these kind of financial management possibilities. With Fummi they can really make a difference in their lives.
The last initiative of this week is Choon, started by Gareth Emery. As one of the best DJ’s in the world (top 10 in DJ Mag’s top 100 twice), I don’t know him personally, but that says something. He is using the Ethereum network to build a music-streaming service with a cryptocurrency payment system built in. “Notes” as they call their currency, can be used to pay for the streaming of songs, but also to invest in artists. They don’t allow labels or publishers on their network. Just artists, their work, their listeners and their income. The resemblance with KODAK at the beginning of this podcast is striking. But we’ll have to see how this develops, because that depends on the number of listeners that want to switch from Spotify or iTunes to this new network.
And that wraps up my first pilot episode. Check the links to all the news items I talked about in the description, check my website www.wimpelgrim.nl for more info on me and my podcast and a full transcript of this episode, or check my next podcast on Soundcloud!