The trick to sell Blockchain solutions? Do not say "Blockchain"


When Adrian Patten, co-founder of the FX Cobalt blockchain project, launches to banks these days, he carefully chooses his words.

In a move that could go a long way to confirm Gartner's discovery this week that the hype blockchain cycle is entering the so-called "disillusionment trough", Patten has admitted that he rarely brings technology into play, instead choosing to focus on cost savings that Cobalt can bring without the benefit of some of the most popular order words of the last few years.

"We try not to talk too much about blockchain or DLT in case you complicate things," he said.

According to Patten, many financial companies have adopted a "me too" approach with blockchain, exemplified by things like the herd of banks joining the R3 consortium. In addition, most are probably invested in too many proofs of concept, he said.

"They tend to think, if all the others are inside, they should be there, in case a council member asks them what they are doing in blockchain," he continued.

The result is that people have rushed into DLT trying to use technology rather than considering its process requirements, message requirements and if it actually works, Patten added. But Cobalt, which created the distributed ledger technology customized for its particular post-trade use case, is not alone.

There are other companies out there with live systems that are actually doing things like Baton Systems, even in FX with DLT, but those who use it less publicly, or at least do not let technology dominate their messaging.

Seeing successful companies without front blockchain and center could be seen as refreshing, or perhaps a source of apprehension. Forrester Research projects foresee pruning, with 90% of blockchain projects with a weak commercial focus that will end in the coming years.

As such, Martha Bennett, Forrester's chief analyst, has come to say that those who persevere will probably understand that success "is not about technology, but about business".

After the gold rush

Ready to embrace disillusionment, some companies do not even bother to admit that they used the term "blockchain" when they actually used some of its key elements, without the mantle hype. , for a certain period of time.

Back before the white paper bitcoin was released, Guardtime was developing its Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) that uses concepts like linked time-stamping (integrated with bitcoins) to eliminate the need for trusted third parties or cryptographic keys to verify the data.

As the blockchain's gold rush made its way around him, Guardtime's CEO, Mike Gault, said he was seized by the perceived benefits of aligning his company with the blockchain movement.

"We defined ourselves as a blockchain society without shame." We sat in lectures listening to all this blockchain mania that began to happen and we looked at each other and said, "Wait a minute. minute, is not this what we do? & # 39; "

Guardtime, which boasts a wide range of users from the maritime giant Maersk to the NHS (National Health Service) of the United Kingdom, is very different from ethereum, notes Gault, but the end result is the same: a unique source of truth and immutability.

Gault also derives "crypto-zealots" who thinks that everything should be decentralized, "a vision that he says is" totally irrelevant to the business. "" We will not have any problem to make a quick transition to marketing when "blockchain" becomes negative, so as to bring attention to our category of KSI technology ", continued Gault.

" There will be a point of carried out, especially in companies where there are no cases of zero production use. People will see that the emperor has no clothes, "he said.

Cobalt's Patten also thinks that space is being misguided by" evangelists and fundamentalists. "

" The idea that every message and every part of a life cycle will be encrypted and decrypted when it already exists in hundreds of databases in plain text format is a bit naive, "he said.

Taking a hard business approach, he called Cobalt a product rather than a project and said: "Unless we are cutting costs of 80%, people will not move from the incumbents. We must be much cheaper and better. "

The point of view of a bank

So, how does the idea of ​​pushing the blockchain evangelists into resonance with the blockchain department of a bank?" It turns out that the feeling seems to be trending. [19659002] "This is exactly what we would like to see," said Ville Sointu, head of emerging technologies at Nordea Bank. "They should be the companies in the first place, we have now moved into a phase where we should see more companies present themselves with a clear business case and have the fact that it is a blockchain or a DLT network in the background."

Sointu maybe not he is a typical blockchain evangelist, however.

After being taken to Nordea in the middle of last year, he brought together the blockchain team under the same roof and closed almost all the prototypes. Nordea has reduced its efforts to We.Trade, in addition to a real estate pilot with the Finnish Government and a corporate identity blockchain, which has passed the proof-of-concept stage.

"I do not think we need another proof of concepts for something like KYC," said Sointu. need another PoC of international payments; we do not need another PoC FX. These things have been demonstrated. "

Asked if he started to see a trend in which the fintech sellers first mention the business case and blockchain second, Sointu said," Maybe this is an invitation to action. But at the moment we do not see too many. "

" Ninety-nine percent of the companies that come to talk to us say, "We have the most scalable blockchain network in the world and here are 100 cases of use can use technology for & # 39;" he said , concluding:

"These are not at all useful for us."

Silent businessman image via Shutterstock

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