A range of fintech startups presented at the SF Blockchain Conference 2016 have shown that the technology may be used to enhance efficiency in all fields of trade and change the way we see economy.

In all spheres that involve interaction between vendors and receivers or between producers and consumers, smart contracts can have a revolutionising impact. One example is shipment of wine, claims Peter Peh, CEO of Hellosent, as reported by SiliconAngle. Blockchain technology will make the control over wine transportation automatic. As wine requires specific temperature and humidity all the way to preserve its quality, the necessary figures may be embedded in a smart contract, and a special chip can control the conditions of shipment. Then, if, for example, the temperature doesn’t meet the requirements, the contract is automatically voided.  

Patrick Dai, CTO of VeChain, suggests a system of authenticity verification that will make sure products are not counterfeited. When an item is produced at a factory, it can contain a chip with information about a blockchain transaction verifying its authenticity and probably including the details of retailer it is going to. The authenticity then can be checked by any consumer at a store simply using their smartphone.

A similar model is employed in the project of Assaf Igell, Founder and CEO of CyGuard, Inc. The entrepreneur spoke about authenticating advertisements. Consumers suffer from unauthorised ads that can potentially include false data or contain malware. This problem can be solved by means of blockchain, claims Igell. It will allow the client to easily check whether the given ad comes from a trusted source and is valid.

The conference took place in San Francisco this Monday. Among the topics discussed there were alternative uses of distributed ledger and a “bitcoin vs blockchain” (the way it was put in the agenda) review.

Indeed, blockchain is swiftly developing and keeps extending the area of its application in trade, finance and public administration. Initially associated with cryptocurrency, the technology is not confined to it any more. Nowadays, when the bitcoin community is experiencing certain difficulties in view of the block size debate, non-cryptocurrency implementations of blockchain attract special attention. In fact, none of the above-mentioned startups has anything to do with digital currencies.

Besides these new projects and experienced industry players like blockchain app developer Tendermint, the conference was attended by representatives of technological enterprise and investment giants such as Intel, IBM and PwC. All these companies have been showing a keen interest in the development of blockchain over the recent months, and their presence at the event was not surprising. PwC was among the first to create a blockchain research team. IBM is a premier member of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, which is a collaborative effort to create blockchain for business. Intel has also recently joined the blockchain research trend, testing its proprietary distributed ledger on a sports market model.


Anrew Levich