Watch: OpenCrowd CEO Sushil Prabhu Speaks at the Crypto Valley Blockchain Community Event at the 2019 World Economic Forum
OpenCrowd is immesely proud that our CEO, Sushil Prabhu, participated in this insightful and informative event. Check out the video gallery below for Sushil's insight on asset-backed tokens, the state of crowdfunding in the age of blockchain, and other relevant topics.
OpenCrowd Featured at the 2019 World Economic Forum
We are honored to have participated in the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, for the second year in a row.
Welcome to the tech blog writer podcast, your guide to future tech trends and innovation in a language you understand. Now over to your host, Neil Hughes.
Neil Hughes: 00:13
Welcome back to the tech blog writer podcast, the weeks are flying by and I found myself in a bit of a melancholy, reflective mood. Thinking about life and how did I become the old guy? And this realization that maybe I've used up more time than I have left on this planet; but thankfully, I took a shot of whiskey and got back in my podcasting chair. The show must go on along with so many adventures together, I'm sure. And on today's podcast I wanted to find out more about a company called OpenCrowd, which is a design and technology firm creating custom blockchain solutions for global clients and early startups. So I wanted to find out more about how they're focused on developing the most advanced distributed ledger and machine learning applications in the market all over the world. So buckle up and hold on tight as I beam your ears all the way to New York, so we can speak with Sushil Prabhu from OpenCrowd.
So a massive warm welcome to the show. Can you tell the listeners a little about who you are and what you do?
Sushil Prabhu: 01:15
Sure, absolutely. So my name is Sushil Prabhu, I am the founder and the CEO of OpenCrowd. It's a solutions company based in Manhattan. Just in general, my background, I was the Chief Technology Officer of a company called Scient before this, and before that I was head of technology of a company called Cambridge Technology Partners. OpenCrowd, the company itself, we've been in business for the last 13 years. We help clients build innovative platforms. Most recently, our focus has been blockchain solutions; so we are a boutique fintech blockchain solution company. [We have] been in business for the last 13 years. We help clients; clients come to us for new technologies and we had helped them adopt these new technologies. So if you look at any emerging technology in the world when it comes out, most companies don't have the expertise or the talent to bring this technology and apply that to business problems. Clients come to us with those kinds of problems. They come to us with an inspiration, they come to us with a need or a requirement, and we, my team here, helps them crystallize those ideas into a product. There's a, there's a major need in the market out there where technologies are changing every couple of years and there's not enough talent out there which can craft a solution for the client. We have that. Just in terms of OpenCrowd as a company and our journey with technology has been a very interesting journey for the last 13 years. We formed the company in 2005 with a very strong focus in open source technologies. Open source technologies is very common right now. Everyone is using it but it wasn't [popular] in 2005. So we've built this fintech solution company helping investment banks use open source technologies. And since then we’ve been helping lots of different organizations, startups and large enterprises, with different technologies. So for example, just as an example of how technology can change or new emerging technologies can change an organization: this large investment bank in 2005 was interested in building a macro-economic workstation. What does that mean? That means they wanted to collect data from all over the world on macro events, analyze that in real time on a browser and share that with their fixed income and equity traders. That solution was absolutely possible using regular technologies but would have been financially not feasible, right? Not viable because it would have been extremely expensive and we couldn’t have made it happen. We showed them a way to use open source technologies and we built it for them, and then that became a reference architecture. Now everyone talks about open source technologies. So just going a little further with that; every couple of years we dive into new technologies. In 2007, we were into social technologies. Facebook had just come out and a lot of people were looking into social technology but they were not utilizing it. So we helped a lot of startups with social technologies. We built business communities and social communities using social technology. What is social technologies? It's the ability for a community to be formed and collaborate on a specific initiative. So we built multiple business communities using social. We also used that technology in 2009 to help IBM built a virtual briefing center so that all the CIOs to communicate and collaborate together with IBM. So our business has been always looking at new technologies and helping clients. Just fast forward to 2017, we have been involved in blockchain technologies, right? Which is very emerging, which is very new. I remember in the early days when we used to talk about open source and cloud computing in 2008, our clients would ask us to take that out of the presentation because that was a taboo, it was not considered a good thing. Similarly, blockchain, it’s a very emerging technology, we are deep into these technology that we are helping many our clients with solutions using this technology. That's what we do.
Neil Hughes: 06:00
I think it's very important to highlight that you're not a new company. So can you tell me a little bit more about how you got here and how for a over a decade, you've actually applied emerging technologies and how to hundreds of satisfied clients crystallize their new business concepts and actually accelerate the development of new and purpose-driven applications? Because this, none of this is new to you guys, is it?
Sushil Prabhu: 06:21
What's new to us is the new technology, just like everyone else, but what’s not new to us is the ability to craft a solution for our clients. So as I mentioned, in 2005, we built this macro-economic dashboard with this investment company, then in 2007 we built a college sports community for Bill Rasmussen, who's the founder of ESPN. We also built a lot of IP related [solutions], where you could trade and share patterns; we built those communities and been listed on Wall Street. So clients definitely need help in trying to figure out how to use these technologies. And we have a boutique team, we are a small team. We have this [design-technology] integrated approach where we take the business expertise that we have in fintech, the technology expertise that we have, and the user design. So we have a very well-integrated approach to creating this solution. We also believe in having smaller teams; if you look at most engineering projects out there, people tend to put 20, 40 people, and we believe that the team size should not be more than four or maybe maximum eight people. You can build meaningful solutions when you have a good, solid small team, right? So some of these things have really helped us out. The other two things that we've done differently in the last 13 years is when we work with startups, startups are always cash strapped. So we actually take equity into our fees, and that has helped a lot of these startups work with us because we helped them out initially. They come to us with the concept or with an idea, or even nowadays with a whitepaper, and we craft a solution for them. We help them with their investors, and we take some equity out of it so that our goals are aligned with them. With large companies, though, our journey has been different. They like the fact that we move very quickly, we do a 90-day delivery, and we have been able to attract the top talent from the investment banks who work for us. So we have both the entrepreneurs who have worked in startups, and then the technologists who have worked in a large enterprises. So then they get the benefit of both and they also get the benefit of the innovation that comes out of this crossbreed of people that we have.
Neil Hughes: 09:07
And you guys recently announced a development partnership with Securrency to enable tokenization of securities. Can you expand on that and exactly what it means for OpenCrowd?
Sushil Prabhu: 09:17
Oh yes, thanks for asking that. It's an excellent partnership. We've been working with Securrency for the last one year, and they’re an excellent company, and I can explain a little bit more about what they do. But in general, what Securrency does, it’s an industry leader in Security Token Offering, and I'll explain what Security Token Offering is, but their platform supports complete secure, compliant, [and] a very convenient way of issuing security tokens. So it's a comprehensive platform which does everything from KYC, AML, offering of tokens, and then distribution across different ledgers. OpenCrowd, as a company, we offer a custom blockchain business solution offering. So they hired us to be their development partners to extend the platform across a wide variety of blockchains or distributed ledgers. So we built gateways for Ethereum, we built a gateway for them for EOS, very soon we're going to build something for HashGraph, for Stellar we’ve already built, and we also built for GoChain. So there's a whole wide variety of blockchains. So this is, the reason I'm excited, one, is the security token market space is- It's going to become huge, it’s an evolving market, and there’s a tremendous potential. And the second is, this is the first in the market in terms of offering security tokens across so many different ledgers, right? So, just for the audience, maybe some might know what a security token offering is. Everyone has heard of ICOs... if you're in the blockchain space and the ICO, which is the initial coin offering, has had, there was a lot of fraud that was committed because there was no regulation; people were getting funded by offering a token. And what you see now is, what you see is a crypto winter that's happening right now, because there's a lot of fraud there, right? Security token offering is slightly different. It's quite difficult actually; it is the offering of a security, so it's a digitized- the best way to describe it is it's a digitized version of an equity or a digitized version of a share, or a contract between two parties, and the ownership is digitized in a token. And that's what a security token [is]. So there is a new market and everyone should look into this because it has both; this security token offering has the, all the capabilities of the blockchain technologies that people talk about, but it also has the backing and the security of the traditional finances that we're all used to in the last so many years. Right? So it offers you both; it offers the speed and the transparency, but it also offers you the security that we look for.
So why it is so interesting for OpenCrowd and why should it be interesting for the general audience here, is the security token offering has some very unique capabilities which you would not have, which you normally don’t have, when you buy an equity. When someone gives you a share, there are certain properties that you don't get. So let me just very quickly tell you one or two things that makes it interesting. Right now, when you see illiquid assets, it's not easy to sell that because you have to go to a lot of different parties to sell that asset, right? Security Token Offerings makes it a lot easier. It lets you digitize that ownership of that asset and then you can fractionalize that, which is almost not possible or not feasible, I would say, in the non-blockchain world, the world that we live in right now, it's almost not possible.
Second, the token itself can be programmed so that it offers compliance. So I could offer you a security token right now, and I can program it so that only a certain set of people, people who are accredited, people who live in specific zones can only own that. So you can actually program that; you can't do that on a physical certificate, but you can do that in a digitized store, right? So one is, it has compliance built in it. Second, you can fractionalize and hence you can have significant liquidity. So this security token offering is going, you will see that very soon in the real estate market because you could take, let's say you own a block in Manhattan, if you do, you could actually create a security token of it and then offer fractions of it to investors who normally would not be able to afford it can now afford to invest in your asset. So there’s a lot of a very solid things that are happening with the security token offering as opposed to the ICO market. And you will see a lot happening in the next, in 2019, as more and more organizations tokenize their asset and use a tool, or a platform like Securrency to get liquidity. Right? So anyway, that's, that's a reason we are very excited. We've been working with them for a year and hence we made an announcement and we’re going to create a practice around it.
Neil Hughes: 15:04
To many business leaders listening, they'll find the concept of blockchain incredibly complex and confusing and they don't properly understand it, but real world use cases and solving real problems; that's something that they can just get instantly. So can you share some of your interesting blockchain platforms that you're developing that will actually appeal to maybe a business leader listening that will just help them understand just what a game changer it is?
Sushil Prabhu: 15:30
Sure, I can definitely do that. We have been working on different, and why I consider OpenCrowd to be very fortunate, we have been engaged in several blockchain solutions. So as I mentioned before, people come to us with the concept and in some cases they come with the concept developed, and we help them develop it, right? So one of the other development partnerships that we have is with a company called Hedera Hashgraph. Hedera HashGraph is a very unique alternative blockchain solution out there which offers distributed consensus at a lightning speed, a very good speed. So one of the big issues in the market right now is that that blockchain can not be used to build enterprise grade applications, and what do you mean by enterprise grade, it’s like you can’t build an application which will give you a quick response. So we are working with, we are the development partners for Hashgraph, where they have come up with this algorithm by which consensus can be achieved without burning a lot of computing power; if you heard of bitcoin and all of them, one of the big issues we have there is you can burn a lot of CP power, you can put a lot of energy to build consensus. So this is a new model and I'll get to the use case in a second, but I wanted to explain first, that it is using Hashgraph Hedera, the transaction streets are really fast. It's as fast as the application that you use when you use a Salesforce application or anything on the web. You got an instant response and that what it is. So once you have an infrastructure like that, like Hashgraph, you can build all types of applications. So I'll give you an example, like if we wanted to, if you wanted to build a micro payment engine right now, right? Let's say this interview that's happening right now and Neil, if you wanted to monetize this interview right, and you didn't want to charge a lot, let’s say you wanted to charge a cent, a penny.
It's not possible for you because the transaction cost is very high, right, like when someone charges on a credit card, if it becomes too high for us. Micropayment is this new thing that you will see very soon in industries, and companies like Hashgraph will make it possible where I can charge .001 cent, a fraction of a cent, let’s say for web content. I mean all of us need so much content on the web. Some of it is free, but then someone has put some effort there and they never get the credit. The only thing, the only credit they get is thumbs up and thumbs down, but what if they want to monetize that and if it's worth it and I will pay for it, right? I want to pay a dollar for everything, but I will pay a fraction of a cent; one, is because I learned something.
It will also stop those websites when you go to some sites where you read the content and then you read half of it and then they say, oh, you gotta subscribe for a thousand dollars a year subscription. Right? They wouldn't be more than happy if if someone pays ten cents for it because it's really worth it and you add that by a million people, you made your money right there. Those are not possible right now, you see, and this is just a minor example I'm giving you. I don’t think people realize the world we will be in in 2019 and ‘20, when these micropayments kicks it. Every little thing. In fact, when you provide feedback on, let's say, Amazon or any other site; I do, if I like something I’ll provide positive or negative feedback. I don't get paid for it, because even though they wanted to pay they can’t because of the transaction costs. So micropayment is one of the biggest blockchain use cases and uh, it's going to be out there and once that gets applied and once that gets implemented, you will see a complete change.
So that's one of the platforms that we're working on with Hashgraph Hedera, and one of the use cases. Let me just move onto the second one then we can talk about the personal board because I think to me that's one of the most interesting thing that's happening in the world. We're working with, we're working with a company, and I can’t mention the name of the company because they are in stealth mode right now and they’ll come out in January. With this company, if you look at a precious gems, like diamonds, they are worth a lot, but they're not an investment grade property and they're not investment grade property because every diamond is different. Right. It's called nonfungible, as opposed to gold, [which] can be used to as an investment grade, investment asset. I mean you can take gold and borrow money across it. So this company has come up with a clever method of having a collection of diamonds and making them fungible; that means it becomes unique, it has a unique price associated with it. So it has taken something, [an] asset like diamond, which is typically considered illiquid, and made it investment-grade. So we've been working with this company and what will this give is the ability for people to buy diamonds, it gives a liquidity to the diamond market, and it can also give people the ability to borrow across diamonds. So you've suddenly, and this is just one example, but you could do that with lots of different assets. They have a patented technology and it's, it's their I.P. and we’re going to wait for them to announce it, but it's a very clever way. And blockchain made that possible because every piece of that asset is trackable, traceable, and it's put on blockchain. So everyone can see exactly where the diamonds are, but they can also see where their assets are.
So it becomes a non-counterfeitable, digitally traceable, set of assets, and then so now you have one more asset in the world of which you can borrow money. One quick one; the other one we have been working on is in the real estate market. We just started working on it. It is the, we’re creating a real estate token, which is a digitized version of all the information about that property. If you look at any real estate transaction, it takes a long time for the transaction to happen, and that's because there are lots of counter parties. So we're building a blockchain-based infrastructure that will facilitate a real estate transaction. So everything, from who owns the property, who owned the property, who's got the lead on it, the land, right? All of that, the title of all that information is stored in this token
By doing that. This is a very simple, well, it's gonna be a long process, but it's a very simple idea. But by doing that, you can possibly, we can see a future in the next three to five years where you might be able to refinance your home; in the U.S., it takes a month or two months to refinance. You might be able to refinance your property in a couple of days. That means as interest rates go up and down, a common consumer can almost refinance their house and take advantage of that drop of a point or two which you cannot right now. I mean, you wait for like half a percentage or a percentage drop before you refinance your home, but using blockchain technology and this real estate token that we are creating, you’ll be able to do that quickly. So there are lots of these, uh, interesting use cases that we’ll see in the market.
Neil Hughes: 23:19
Fantastic. I’ve got to ask though; what excites you most about the tech landscape at the moment? And just how transformational do you think technology such as blockchain is actually going to be for businesses?
Sushil Prabhu: 23:34
I’m very excited about blockchain. I mean, if you've seen the crypto market, the crypto asset market, the cryptocurrency market, it’s like dead winter right now. They call it crypto winter. Uh, the currency market is down, and I hear all sorts of stories. I mean, I read them about, hey, is the blockchain done with, are you guys done? I mean, I spent a lot of my time explaining to people that cryptocurrency is just an application on a blockchain. It's not the blockchain itself. See one of the interesting things about blockchain is it has introduced very new concepts which would not have happened, which would not have happened before, like the whole decentralization, the fact that you don't need a central authority. The trust can be built or you can have trustless transactions on a blockchain and hence you can have a decentralized authority, that that is something which was very new and uh, we're just getting into it and trying to understand.
A lot of people are looking at blockchain as just technology, where I can put data and it’s in 10 different nodes. We're looking at it as, it's a complete way of decentralizing the information so that counter parties and multiple parties can work together and you don't need a central authority. If you don't need a central authority, that means you don't need a intermediary, you don't need a middle person. And there's drastic speed and execution. There is, of course, full transparency with all the parties, but there is one concept that that I like the most and hopefully the others like it, is that with a blockchain, you have the ability to incentivize every participant, right? Everybody can be incentivized, like the micropayments I gave you an example of where anyone can actually be given an incentive, but there are lots of places that the entire world out there has something to offer. Every human being has something to offer, and the blockchain technology, because it is global and because anyone can access that once it's all established, you can insert the right - like let's say if I need advice on a specific thing. There is no way for me, let's say you and I have a wager on just the weather and and I need a referee to come in and say you be the referee on it. Right? And this is a very simple example. We could even use a lot more complex examples on financial forecasting and stuff like that. There are lots of experts all over the world. This technology, you can actually give them incentive to everyone to give their advice and also make sure that [there is] unbiased advice from each of them. So you can think about lots of different use cases where there's a large population of the world which is not in the current economy and you can track them into this ecosystem, track them in a good way so that they could be a participant in it.
So the way look at why blockchain is really attractive to me, or to all of us, is that if you look at open source, open source laid the foundation for the next set of services, open source’s goals were to make the underlying platform technology free, affordable, right? And that’s the reason we have Google, Amazon, Facebook. There is no way we would have those technologies if open source wasn’t there, because there’s no way it was a business viable, right? Open source made it possible, but the whole promise of open source, is if you make the underlying platform technology free or affordable, better things will come out of it. It's the same thing with blockchain, right? With blockchain, and it's still a nascent, evolving market and it's a still evolving technology, but as it lays a foundation across the world of this blockchain, better and bigger things will come out of it. Businesses that we had not even thought about. I mean, although I talked about the crypto winter, just let's say the crypto example here, cryptocurrency, although we talk about crypto being bad, bad because it’s been hyped up and people have used it for the wrong reasons, but take a cryptocurrency, put KYC, AML, and all that stuff that will give you, so that you are under the regulation and you’re very compliant, then here you have a digital asset or a token or a currency in this case, which is more trackable. You can track it better than a dollar bill, right? You know exactly who owns it. So cryptocurrency itself, when done well, it's a fantastic thing. I mean, you can have it be seamless cross border and it's more in sync with what you and I do everyday, a digital currency. So I think, and then I gave an example of the micropayments, bigger and better things are going to come out of this. And so we believe that blockchain is not only here to stay, it just a matter of global adoption and acceptance, and it takes a lot, you know, it doesn't happen right away. Again, people draw parallels to the dotcom, with blockchain and they say, well, this is like the Internet, you know, how it became big and then it went down and it took 10 years for the Internet to pick up.
And I, I believe that that's true, except that the Internet system, when we built [on the] Internet in 1998, when we were all involved in the Internet space, it was mostly for communication, to access data, to do a transaction with an organization. But there was still was not the incentive for everyone to participate. Blockchain is different because it is definitely beyond that, because then it's going to offer a way for every human being in the world to be a part of the global economy. Right. So anyway, that's, that's my take on blockchain. I think it's a wonderful thing and it's going to get bigger and bigger revenue every year.
Neil Hughes: 29:45
And you mentioned a phrase a few moments ago about global acceptance and global adoption, so I mean, is global adoption your biggest challenge right now?
Sushil Prabhu: 29:55
Adoption is a challenge and I'm sure you were there in the internet days; I used to work for a company called Scient and we were promoting the technology as how wonderful it is with regard to all of those things like, well no, I don't think secure or I don't think it’s there yet, we’ll build our own extranet will have at least LAN connection, all those things. So I see the same thing on the blockchain, right? Some of it has to be a leap of faith that people have to take. They need to understand that it's the technology and there are some new concepts which are going to become a part of our life and will make our life a lot easier. But there are issues. There are adoption challenges. One is, as I mentioned, a leap of faith. It takes awhile for people to accept. We throw so much technology at people, and human beings can only digest so much. So one of the big issues out there which will be solved in 2019, is the transaction speed.
Right now, the blockchains that are out in the market, they are slow; you can't build the type of applications that we're all used to, and you have to. So the transaction speed is a big issue and as we better that and we prove that, the adoption will improve. The second big issue, I think this is going to take a while, is the user experience. If you, if you look at a, if you look at any wallet, I don’t know if you have a crypto wallet, it's not that intuitive and no one is going to type 32-bit keys and Hashcode. I found it difficult when I used it and I'm into technology and we use this. So it needs to be as simple as using the overdraft that you have. And I think it's going to get to [that point], and it's gonna get to it very quickly too, because there are, even the wallet concept that I just mentioned.
Imagine your wallet, a couple of years from now, that wallet just doesn't tell you how much money you have. It also tells you the land property rights that you have. It tells you everything and it's right there in front of you. But the user experience of that has to [improve], and so that's one big challenge that we have faced. We have a good set of designers in the company, and that's when I talked about the integrated approach, everyone will have to do the same. You need to understand the business well, the engineering well and you need to have user experience to bring it all together. So that's one thing. The other big ones, which you probably already know. that there's this whole thing about the concept of stable coin. We can't do ecommerce right now with the fluctuation, so there needs to be stability. The cost of a stable coin, I don’t know if that's how it's going to be solved, but somehow it's going to get solved, because as people see interest in these crypto assets, they're going to figure out how to do that.
The couple of other ones, which is the- I mentioned there's lots of different distributed ledgers and you have them. There's never going to be one distributed ledger because every ledger has its own capabilities. Like Hashgraph is known for speed. There could be some other one which is known for data. So imagine a world a couple of years from now, where you have a wallet, which the wallet talks- your identity, let's say, is stored on Ethereum, and real estate property installed on EOS, but how do you communicate across these two chains? So when I build an app, when developers who build their app a couple of years from now, they would have to access data from multiple chains, and will have to transact with multiple chains. That inter-chain communication is being resolved, I won't say it’s solved yet, people are looking into it and once that gets done you will see a lot more use cases and a lot more applications.
Speaker 3: 33:42
And one last thing just in the adoption around globally, most of the chains that you've seen the market, they are called public chains and anyone can use it. The data is out there and the privacy is an issue in some cases because everyone can look at the data. That doesn't go very well with an organization. You know, some of my clients are very large investment banks and they tend to create a private chain just because they don't want that data to be accessed by anyone else, and they didn't want anyone else to see it. So the enterprise properties that we need in a chain, needs to be more and more in this public chains, because the whole idea is the internet was built once and everyone is using it, right. Whether you are, you work for JPMorgan Chase, or you work for Uber, everyone is using it. For a broader adoption, these chains need to have properties so that an enterprise can have a private discussion or private transactions in it. And I think it's going to happen, but it needs to be there. That's why you don't see a lot of large organizations building a lot of applications yet. They do it privately, but they don't use the public infrastructure. So that's what I see as the adoption issue right now.
Neil Hughes: 35:00
So what's next for OpenCrowd? Is there anything else that you can share with us today about your grand vision and the road ahead?
Sushil Prabhu: 35:09
Oh yeah, absolutely. we’re definitely looking forward to 2019, we see security token offering picking up momentum, [it] already has this month, but it is going to pick up. So, our plans for next year is to continue on the blockchain solution practice that we have, but we're counting on having a fintech practice and we're also going to be focused a lot more on real estate.
In addition we are, we have a couple of products. One of the product that we're working on is called DragonGlass like the Game of Thrones dragonglass, and that product, we're going to launch and be really excited by March, which will give you access to all these multiple ledgers out there. So we’re basically creating an incubation lab where some of the startups can come and work with us. We're also in the process of building an OpenCrowd Ventures, which would be a venture arm which would fund some of these, uh, some of these startups. So that's all in the making. And so we really look forward to 2019. There's been great momentum in 2018. And I think, uh, it is irrespective of the crypto winter that's going on. The blockchain technology adoption is going to continue and we still will have more applications being built.
Neil Hughes: 36:30
Fantastic. So if we do have anyone listening that wants to find out more information, wants to look at your roadmaps, download white papers, or just find out more about what you're doing. Can you remind the listeners where they can find you guys online and also contact your team if they've got any questions?
Sushil Prabhu: 36:45
Sure. So we are definitely, we have a website, www.opencrowd.com, and you can either send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. My name is Sushil Prabhu, you can send an email at email@example.com. We'll definitely get in touch with you. We want, we definitely are interested in helping people who are interested in blockchain technologies because we think it's a, it's the future and if you have any questions or if you need any help, just contact us and we'll help you if we can.
Neil Hughes: 37:24
Well I think there's so many business leaders wanting to know more and wanting to get involved and wanting to leverage this technology, but they do need a helping hand. So the fact that OpenCrowd is a design and technology service company focused on developing these most advanced distributed ledger and machine learning applications in the market has got to be a great thing. But more than anything, just a big thank you for joining me today and sharing your story. Thank you.
It's easy to see how for the last 13 years, OpenCrowd has been successful in delivering high end applications for their clients, with a particular focus in the financial services. And the big takeaway from the conversation to me was their new partnership with Securrency, which is going to enable them to build a security and compliance standard for the future of finance. Huge ambitions. Something I really salute here. For those reasons alone, it’s going to be a project that I'll be following very closely. But what did you take away from today's conversation? Please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweet me at @NeilCHughes, or pop by my website, techblogwriter.co.uk. But as I've been a dark mood today, I'm going to grab myself one more shot of whiskey and watch Bad Santa before returning tomorrow with another guest from another industry, and more importantly, the story of how they’re transforming it or aiming to with technology. Thanks for listening and until next time, don't be a stranger.
Thanks for listening to the tech blog writer podcast. Until next time, remember, technology is best when it brings people together.
SOHO, NY - Published on July 14, 2018
OpenCrowd fielded a team of their own hackers in the Global Blockchain Hackathon held in Soho on July 14th. There was no specific theme besides utilization of Blockchain, but the team had a few ideas at the start of the hack. They wanted to test a use case that would require fast transaction times and high throughout. They also wanted to integrate the Internet of Things (IoT) because they felt like that’s an under-represented segment of blockchain. The team created a protocol level IoT device that creates and publishes content, and utilized that device to illustrate an approach to mondernize supply chains.
For hardware, the OpenCrowd team was equipped with an Onion Omega 2+ ($9), a Power Dock ($15), a webcam with microphone ($18), a battery ($12), and a small toolkit to solder and fasten necessary components. The team invented The Block Box, the first of its kind, battery operated, computer vision, self-sovereign crypto hardware wallet that fits in the palm of your hand. It is censorship-resistant, tamper proof, and features military-grade encryption.
The Block Box creates content from its environment, including video, audio, images, and environmental data. It regularly uploads this content to the decentralized Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS) and publishes an access key to the EOS Blockchain. Subscribers to that device’s stream are notified of new content, and to be granted access, pay using the Block Box Token (BBT) to the device. The Block Box features a 1” OLED screen that displays the device’s BBT balance in real time.
The team selected EOS for the Blockchain layer. EOS launched in June with some anticipation. It is a DPoS Blockchain that features very high throughput (two blocks per second) and a full-featured operating system for smart contracts written in C++. For the hackathon, the application ran flawlessly on the global Jungle EOS testnet.
The team also developed a mobile-friendly web application and services platform using React.js, Nodejs, and Express. The entire platform was hosted in the cloud, using AWS, GitHub hosting, and Heroku for the various components. The web application features a supply chain use case for canned goods manufactured in Austin, Texas. The item was first scanned as it was manufactured, and the manufactured date, GPS coordinates, and serial number was recorded on the Blockchain. Later, when the shipment arrived in New York, the item was scanned and another record containing the new GPS location was recorded to the Blockchain. Using computer vision, IoT capabilities, and best of breed Blockchains is an effective way to modernize supply chains.
The OpenCrowd team was proud to win the Excellence Award for their Block Box invention and pragmatic supply chain solution.
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