I think that the technology fans like you are, my readers, and me, fall in love for words.
When we go at some fun event where nice companies talk about new applications, new platforms, new devices, we hear some wonderful words in every room where a speaker is talking and making their show. Let’s figure the movie:
Artificial Intelligence, WOW!
Virtual Reality, WOW!
Autonomous drive, WOW!
Well, I like these words, really I love them. But when I’m in my home, in a late night like this (here in Italy is 2 a.m., and I’m writing a post. wow….) I ask myself if these fantastic technologies are usable in the daily life of a consumer or are only a nerd’s dream.
I’ve a friend that is really a nerd; he buy, test and sell smartphone each two weeks, write code, build antennas, hack TV and all those things that just like nerds. He goes really out of his head when he hear the word Blockchain or Artificial Intelligence more than two times in the same speech. And don’t you talk him about Big Data, if you don’t want see him jumping around with a red face.
I try to show him that all these technologies are the future, and all big and little companies or startup using them are going to build the future, but I know he has a bit of reason.
For example, is Blockchain really useful for everyman, that one who buys hisbottle of wine in a market store?
There are at least three factor that made difficult this.
First: a very complex supply chain
Not all wines are made by a single winemaker. A great wine company can buy wine or grapes from many little producers and put it in its bottle with its label.
Can Blockchain says to consumers who these little producer are? It does. But do consumers want this? May be.
Not all consumers are wine lovers, so they buy a bottle of wine only if it’s a Cab, or Zinfandel, or Chardonnay, Syrah, and don’t worry who the producer is or where the grapes come from, the most important thing is that the wine is good.
The travel of the bottle is interesting only for a wine fan, a wine expert or a collector. That kind of people with an high budget, who knows how appreciate a good wine or want to show their luxury wines collection.
Second: Blockchain has a price
Mining is always more expensive, and these money have to be divided among all the stakeholders of the supply chain. If this is a little price to pay for an high price wine, like a St.Emillon 1994, it becomes less convenient for low cost products, like the daily bottle of wine.
The price of a blockchain transaction is growing ever more, it needs ever more power to mine the transaction, computer ever more expensive in hardware and power supply, ever more maintenance of network, ever more experts and programmers to open the crypto key of transactions.
To work well, each component of the chain have to partecipate to it. If one of them didn’t want to write their own trade into the blocks, all the value of tracking would be lost. So, all participants must be convinced, for example with discount about their side of price, which would then be reversed in the end customer’s pocket.
From winegrower to reseller, all node of the travel from vineyard to consumer’s table has to be inserted in the process.
So, why Blockchain?
Before to choose a technology, it needs to choose a market and the right target. If you have a luxury business like diamonds, houses, high price wine, blockchain can give you an added value and make your product unique against the competitors.
But if you work in a medium price trade, using these technologies you can have the risk that your product is no more competitive.
The real challenge it isn’t to find the new disruptive technology, but the new disruptive business model.
Who will be able to make the future usable in the daily life, win.