Blockchain is making an impact everywhere around us. From its origins as a cryptography method debuting ten years ago, the practice of securing data blocks in a chain led the way to developing digital currencies, authenticating crowdfunding, and verifying company governance documents, among other uses.
You don't have to look far to see how companies are investing and growing their business with the help of blockchain technology. California recently passed legislation to encompass blockchain technology for electronic signatures and smart contracts. Walmart is using blockchain to track groceries along its supply chain. The related market is forecast to gain revenue worth $20 billion by 2024, up from the $315 million in revenue companies realized in 2015, according to estimates with Transparency Market Research.
But as in all things data, analyzing the information helps keep companies competitive. There's a lot of hype around blockchain thanks to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, we know the technology has practical uses in business and is even more valuable when using cloud-based analytics to derive insights.
To help make sense of it all, Oracle Analytics invited Vinny Lingham to our podcast. Lingham is a well-recognized South African Internet entrepreneur and an active technology investor focused primarily on Bitcoin and Blockchain projects. He's also an investor on the South Africa version of the television show, Shark Tank, where they have dubbed him the "Bitcoin Oracle." Lingham is currently the co-founder and CEO of Civic Technologies, a blockchain-powered startup company that specializes in digital identity. Before Civic, he was the co-founder and CEO of Gyft, a mobile gift card company founded in 2012 and backed by Google Ventures.
As part of our conversation, we asked about the balance of enterprise adoption of blockchain verses the consumer adoption of blockchain applications. Lingham recounted his company's work with beermaker Budweiser to make a prototype crypto beer vending machine, showcased at a recent conference (Consensus 2018).
While it sounds like a fantastic idea at a sporting event or music festival, it could be a legal nightmare if someone under legal drinking age got served a Bud. One solution might be to enforce strict identification rules and monitor the vending machine with a guard. Lingham suggested a different tactic.
"We were in discussions about age verification with Budweiser, but for them, the blind spot is that they can't sell beer in vending machines because you can't tell how old the person is when they order," Lingham said. "We have a technology that verifies a person's identity using their phone and blockchain technology."
And while a vending machine for beer is more proof-of-concept than ready to deploy, Lingham says companies need to invest now into blockchain and learn how to analyze the data to establish a foothold on the future.
"It's going to be a long-term thing in trying to institutionalize blockchain," Lingham said. "This kind of technology could be used for alcohol, sure… but what about vending specific amounts of prescription medication to avoid overdosing, or verifying documents for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)."
Click on the photo to listen to the full podcast.
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