Instead of chasing the hype, savvy cryptocurrency investors choose to do their own due diligence. Finding a solid investment is often easier when one tunes out the media, which is simply a collection of channels that trumpet projects with larger advertising budgets, and not those with the most potential.
Blockchain startups that spend more effort gathering ICO contributors than pushing their team to meet roadmap goals aren’t always the best investments, so it’s worthwhile to take a different perspective. To find the cream of the crop, ignore the buzz and look towards the world’s biggest, most lucrative industries instead.
Sectors like oil and gas, retail, and pharmaceuticals are ripe for disruption. Blockchain solutions that are likely to claim a large slice of these markets are an opportunity for early investors, but they frequently fly under the radar. With no shortage of investment capital (sometimes from existing industry players), working minimum viable products, and a focus on research and development rather than notoriety, it’s hard for those who only browse ICO aggregators to get informed. The globe’s most significant industries are listed below, along with the relevant blockchain solutions already making leaving their mark.
It goes without saying that all humans share a common need for sustenance. The food industry is one of the world’s largest, and involves growing, harvesting, shipping, preparing, and selling staples to people everywhere. Whether in the grocery store, one’s favorite local restaurant or a simple café kiosk, all food must come from somewhere. The increasing globalization of food means that the origins of any single meal are less predictable, and so blockchain company Ripe.io is making it easier to achieve greater culinary transparency. By empowering everyone on the supply chain from farm to table with a comprehensive IoT-driven platform, Ripe.io uses the decentralized ledger to give quality-conscious eaters the ability to know exactly where their meal is sourced, what’s in it, and what happened to it along the way.
Automotive: Oaken Innovations
The Internet of Things is a pertinent tool for the future of the automotive industry, which by all indications is heading towards increased autonomy. Connecting a car to wireless internet is useful for many reasons, including better navigation, recognition of traffic patterns, pushing software updates and even paying tolls. Oaken Innovations has taken the latter idea and run with it, collaborating with some impressive partners like Toyota and MIT. By installing Ethereum nodes called Acorns into vehicles and the machines in their periphery, autonomous cars are seamlessly integrated into the ledger. Their first success was a Tesla that pays tolls on its own, and the company is busily developing other smart functionality for the future of transportation as well.
Oil and Gas: Ondiflo
One of the oldest and most important markets, due largely to our dependence on what they produce, oil and gas has long proved resistant to change. Services that seek to disrupt or threaten this sector are hard-pressed to succeed, so a better strategy is to create solutions that benefit all stakeholders rather than displace them. Ondiflo recognized blockchain as the best method for increasing efficiency in this area and seeks to digitize and sync operations between entities up and down the supply chain. It’s connected ledger keeps precise track of oil and gas meters, providing transparent, accurate measuring and cash-to-order systems. Such a system will be crucial for basic operations like field ticketing, which informs those further down the chain how much oil was extracted from the field. By losing the paper systems for such processes, Ondiflo helps the industry to streamline itself, reduce overheads, and profit accordingly.
The retail space encompasses an astounding variety of businesses. When buying products online or in the store, most people still use physical fiat money like dollars or euros, and bitcoin was the first real blockchain product to offer an alternative. However, the idea of ‘digital cash’ is already played out, so it’s up innovative creative companies to offer cryptocurrencies with the same functionality—but also more purposeful utility. An excellent example is found in HoToKeN, a cryptocurrency platform that encourages healthier relationships between retailers and their customers. By paying customers in HTKN for custom missions—like answering a questionnaire, posting an image on social media, or writing a review—users are incentivized with in-store redeemable currency for the value they generate. Participating merchants also reap the rewards from better promotional opportunities and the ability to collect more granular data. The value proposition is more beneficial and sustainable than options like Groupon or Shopee and is already being resoundingly embraced in Asia.
Like with oil and food, full transparency is crucial, and only truly attainable with blockchain. Fake pharmaceutical products like pills and cough syrups are dangerous, and unfortunately rampant in certain parts of the world. Third-party suppliers might seek to cut costs by reducing the potency of their drugs, or even putting placebos in their place. Additionally, licensing and distribution of drugs is difficult to standardize between labs, manufacturers, distributors and doctors. Recently, logistics innovator Viant partnered with GlaxoSmithKline to introduce pharma to the ledger which can immutably track the movement and quality control enforcement of drugs better than any alternative. Partly to comply with laws like the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, Viant is already making inroads with the US government and may succeed in helping them mandate blockchain as a necessary component for the entire industry.
Follow the Money
Instead of listening to the latest YouTube video on the hottest upcoming ICOs, study the areas where blockchain can make the biggest difference. In sectors through which trillions of dollars flow annually, identify those blockchain solutions likely to claim even one percent of the market. A few well-placed investments in one’s cryptocurrency portfolio will give it a greater upward trajectory and help turn participants into true stakeholders of the future.