The New Food Chain: How Blockchain Will Transform the Food Industry

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is about how blockchain is helping the food industry to better serve consumers around the globe. True Interaction built SYNAPTIK, our Data Management, Analytics, and Data Science Simulation DMP, specifically to make it easy for leaders to collect and manage data, for instance from blockchain databases, to get to insights faster. For more information or a demo, please visit us at or email us at

For now, Bitcoin is getting all the headlines. Yet the versatility of the blockchain will likely be the disruption to remember.

Initially constructed as a technology underlying Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, the blockchain is a decentralized ledger that records transactions. What makes the blockchain a disruptive innovation is that the transactions are almost impossible to edit or manipulate after the fact because they are encrypted and provide alerts when any part of the chain is altered. The potential applications of the blockchain are still being discovered given the many ways that different industries conduct transactions.

The food industry is one area in which the blockchain already enjoys an immediate impact. Below are three ways in which the blockchain will improve operations across this critical industry:

Supply Chain: The blockchain is currently enhancing supply chain management across the food industry. Food industry giants such as Walmart, Kroger and Tyson Foods have begun automating their supply chains by tracking key information including the temperature, quality and shipping dates of certain perishable and non-perishable goods. Blockchain providers such as IBM are already looking to partner with similar enterprises so that these metrics are stored on an un-editable ledger to ensure fidelity of the supply chain from producer to consumer. This ledger will also be able to serve as a transparent database, allowing food industry companies to leverage analytics to better understand their supply chain bottlenecks, efficiencies and areas for transformation.

Food Safety: The blockchain used to monitor supply chain transactions also has the potential to dramatically improve food safety, a serious issue in much of the developing world. A late 2015 report from the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year 1 in 10 people fall ill from eating contaminated foods. The effects of food safety challenges are particularly acute in the young, with over 125,000 children estimated to die annually from unsafe foods. Blockchain stands to reduce these unfortunate and preventble incidents in three ways: 1.) by providing consumers with transparency that the foods they are eating match the ingredients on the label; 2.) by capturing any event in which the food may be tampered with at any point in the supply chain, and 3.) by enabling retailers to pull potentially hazardous foodstuffs from shelves given any incident.

Payments: Blockchain stands to transform payments in the food industry. Food producers, many of whom sell their items at commodity rates, would be able to demonstrate proof of sale instantly using blockchain technology. Similarly, food distributors would be able to make payments to producers with greater ease and trust. Blockchain technology also has the potential to cut out middlemen and lower transaction fees, another promising development for small- or medium-sized food producers.



by Justin Barbaro


Blockchain 101 Self-Assessment

Blockchain is the new black. We’ve heard the term in conference calls, seen it on the cover of magazines and know it’s a hot topic on CNBC but the barrage of information makes it difficult to distinguish hype from reality. It’s clear that Blockchain will revolutionize the world but understanding how is mission critical. In this blog post we’ll cover the Blockchain essentials and the most frequently asked questions we’ve come across.

At The Art of Service we’ve developed a Blockchain self-assessment tool that professionals use to test the depth of their knowledge on the Blockchain concept and its potential. The Blockchain self-assessment covers numerous criteria related to a successful project – a quick primer version is available for you to download at the end of the article.


What Is the Blockchain?

The problem with nearly all Blockchain explanations is that they supply too much detail upfront and use lingo that winds up leaving folks more confused than when they started. We are in the nascent stages of this technological revolution and it’s hard to predict how Blockchain will impact our institutions and our lives. Brand new Blockchain-related technologies are being built every day and the framework is evolving.

Here are some key definitions and ideas to help you understand the fundamental pillars behind this insurgent technology:

1. Blockchain is a technology that essentially disperses an account ledger. For those of you in the monetary management world, you know an account ledger as the trusted source of transactions or facts. The same is true with Blockchain but in lieu of existing in a great buckskin bound book or in a financial management program, Blockchains are run by a dispersed set of information handling resources working together to maintain that account ledger.
2. The Blockchain procedure of securely and permanently time-stamping and recording all transactions makes it very hard for a user to change the account book once a block in a Blockchain has been added.
3. Private Blockchains allow for distributing identical copies of an account book but only to a restricted amount of trusted contributors. This set of techniques, practices, procedures and rules is better suited for applications needing simplicity, speed, and greater clarity.
4. Users of the Distributed Account Ledger Technology (DLT) notably benefit from the efficiencies by generating a more robust ecosystem for real-time and secure data sharing.
5. Blockchain is only one of the various kinds of data constructions that provide secure and valid achievement of distributed agreement. The Bitcoin Blockchain, which uses Proof-of-Work mining, is the most common approach being used today. However, additional forms of DLT consensus exist such as Ethereum, Ripple, Hyperledger, MultiChain and Eris.

Blockchain: Who controls the risk?

Each party on a Blockchain has access to the entire database and its complete past. No single party controls the data or the information. Every party can substantiate the records of its transaction associates directly, without a mediator.

For public businesses, the conditions of Blockchain are very different. The identity of contributors must be known while permissioned Blockchains require no evidence of work. Over the next few years, Blockchain growing pains will hit the industry and support systems will begin to take shape. Today, Blockchain needs supporting infrastructure available for cloud or traditional database setups – there are no systems management tools, reporting tools or legacy configuration integrations in place.

Could Blockchain be the structural change the market needs?

Blockchain’s foundational technology is the biggest innovation computer science has seen in a long time. The thought of a dispersed database where trust is established through mass collaboration and clever code rather than a powerful institution is game-changing. Now it will be up to the larger business community to determine whether it will become the building block for the digitized economy or if it will be disregarded and perish. Now, building formidable and trustworthy Blockchain standards is the next step to turn this global opportunity into a reality.

Blockchain: What does the future hold?

There are many Blockchain and distributed account ledger setups emerging in the market including: BigchainDB, Billon, Chain, Corda, Credits, Elements, Monax, Fabric, Ethereum, HydraChain, Hyperledger, Multichain, Openchain, Quorum, Sawtooth, Stellar. The Block chain use cases span a number of industries including insurance, healthcare and finance but we are only scratching the surface of what’s possible.

Next, get started with the Blockchain Self-Assessment:

The Blockchain Self-Assessment Excel Dashboard provides a way to gauge performance against planned project activities and achieve optimal results. It does this by ensuring that Blockchain criteria are automatically prioritized and assigned; uncovering where progress can be made now; and what to plan for in the future.

To help professionals architect and implement best Blockchain practices for your organization, Gerard Blokdijk, author of The Art of Service’s Self Assessments provides a quick primer of the 49 Blockchain criteria for any business in any country.

Get the Blockchain Quick Exploratory Self-Assessment eBook here:

About the Author

Gerard Blokdijk is the CEO of The Art of Service. He has been providing information technology insights, talks, tools and products to organizations in a wide range of industries for over 25 years. Gerard is a widely recognized and respected information specialist. Gerard founded The Art of Service consulting business in 2000. Gerard has authored numerous published books to date.

By Gerard Blokdijk


The Technology Solution to the IoT Conundrum

Unhindered in its incessant growth, the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to increase its network of connected devices exponentially. Gartner predicts that a staggering 20 billion connected devices will be in existence by 2020. To put into further context, the current trajectory of the IoT will soon usher in an age where there are, on average, three connected devices for every living person. In keeping with Gartner’s research, this fast-growing industry will soon be powering a market worth upwards of $3 trillion. An explosive growth in any industry is always accompanied with a barrage of data, a challenge that we here at True Interaction understand well. The issues associated with capturing vast amounts of data easily, both structured and unstructured, is a critical barrier point in the pursuit of data discovery and we provide solutions to these data management difficulties by means of our platform Synaptik.

While the unimpeded growth of IoT is indeed quite promising, we cannot simply dismiss the unique set of challenges that accompany such a sudden and chaotic influx of devices. The current infrastructure and infrastructure of Internet and online services are hardly primed to handle the identifying, connecting, securing, and managing of so many devices. The difficulties posed by large IoT ecosystems may be considered as a problem for the future, but the technology that can address these issues potentially exists now.

Blockchain as a Solution?

Hailed for the transparency, accuracy, and permanence that is inherent in its process, our previous post explains that blockchain “create[s] a digital ledger of transactions that can be shared among a distributed network of computers.” The utilization of cryptography allows each account on the network to access and manipulate the ledger securely, decentralizing the process and essentially eliminating the need for a middleman. Finance had one of the first and most notably successful implementation of blockchain through Bitcoin, and the industry is seemingly eager to embrace the technology even more. We have covered the meteoric rise in importance and interest that blockchain technology has been attracting in a comprehensive post, as well as its applications in the media and entertainment industry. However, this instance, with its suggested applications in the IoT, is especially momentous in that it observes the convergence of two recently developed technological sectors. So how will the blockchain model assist the IoT industry in its promising ascent?


IoT’s impressive growth is an assuring testament to its bright future as well as its crux. A centralized model of security has been effective in the past, but it is not nearly equipped to handle network nodes that balloon up to the millions from devices that also conduct billions of transactions. Not only will the computational requirements (and costs!) skyrocket, but expanding a network to that size will inevitably cause servers to become a bottleneck. The chaotic and highly vulnerable state that this puts servers in will make it susceptible to Denial of Service (DoS/DDoS) attacks, where servers are targeted and brought down by being flooded with traffic from compromised devices.

The organization inherent in the system gives blockchain the ability to create secure mesh networks that allow devices to connect reliably to one another. Once the legitimacy of a node has been secured and registered on the blockchain, devices will be able to identify and authenticate each other without the need for central brokers. An added benefit of this model is its scalability and the way it can be expanded to support a billion devices while barring the need for additional resources. IBM extrapolates the results of blockchain’s impeccably accurate and transparent record-keeping capabilities by anticipating more trust to form between people and parties, thus making transactions run more seamlessly. Chris O’Connor, General Manager, Internet of Things Offerings for IBM, illustrates the concept:


“While Person A may not know device B and may not trust it implicitly, the indelible record of transactions and data from devices stored on the blockchain provide proof and command the necessary trust for businesses and people to cooperate.”



What is a common feature in the most expansive imaginings of a technologically unmatched world? Typically, the height of technological success is marked by the existence of self-sustaining machines. It may astonish people to learn that the means for creating devices that have little to no need for human interference already exists. IBM and Samsung have partnered together in developing a concept known as ADEPT (Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry). The project chose three protocols (file sharing, smart contracts, and peer-to-peer messaging) to underpin the seminal concept.

One of the most interesting proposals for the use of this technology is the enabling of devices to autonomously maintain themselves. IBM’s draft paper features lofty goals that include devices not only being capable of signaling operational problems, but also being able to retrieve software updates and potentially address its self-diagnosed issues. The ADEPT technology is intended to accomplish the incredible feat of allowing devices to communicate with other nearby devices in order to facilitate power bartering and energy efficiency. Machines that work in accordance with consumables will be able to restock their own supplies as well. This feature will be available in a Samsung W9000 washing machine. Wielding the ADEPT system, this Samsung washing machine will use smart contracts to issue commands to a detergent retailer that gives the device the ability to pay for an order itself and later receive word from the retailer that the detergent has been paid for and shipped.

Smart Contracts

In the digital age, with the emergence of a slew of transaction systems, blockchain is being heralded as the next logical step. At the heart of blockchain technology is its unique penchant for transparency and demand for accountability from its users. Moreover, its decentralized process negates the need for intermediaries. These unique features make blockchain a feasible platform on which to conduct smart contracts. Co-opting the technology’s intended transactional use, “contracts could be converted to computer code, stored and replicated on the system and supervised by the network of computers that run the blockchain.” The exchange of money, property, or anything of value in a conflict-free manner sans a middleman to broker the deal exists because of blockchain technology.

Blockchain is just one of many frameworks and sources of data into which Synaptik can be easily integrated. Data management is the most critical piece in the seamless execution of a successful data discovery process that is capable of gleaning answers to questions you may not have known to ask.

For more information to empower your data science initiatives please visit us at We pride ourselves in our ability to empower every day users to do great data discovery without the need for deep core technical development skills.

Denisse Perez, Content Marketing Analyst for True Interaction, contributed to this post.

by Joe Sticca


Leveraging Data and Revenue Opportunities in Media Syndication

In the modern digital era where people are constantly bombarded by web and mobile content, any expectation of success for digital media creators requires advantageous placement of their content. In most cases, that means disseminating media across as many platforms as can conceivably host it. The benefits are innumerable, not the least of which is the expanded opportunities for scale and the considerable financial implications of an increase in revenue generation as a result of growing one’s audience. However, this process is not without its drawbacks. Our previous blog post delineates some key issues that creators are often forced to address once they decide to showcase their content through different online channels.


Building a brand by means of video content requires a close eye on the full range of analytics concerning one’s media. The reach and impact of one’s online presence is paramount to a creator’s ability to make strategic, data driven decisions. Though it might seem tempting, it is not strategic, nor is it actually feasible, to publish content on any platform indiscriminately. Some video content perform exponentially better in certain online environments and in some cases, its existence on a certain platform could prove to be detrimental to a creator’s overall brand, which makes its continued presence on that platform counterintuitive.

The key to combatting this scenario is for the supplier to maintain unhindered visibility into the data surrounding and generated by their content. Analytics on this scale, across different channels is understandably a massive feat. As a response to this challenge, media creators are exploring blockchain technologies (as we detail in a previous post) and leveraging its transparency feature in order to retain control of data tracking and reporting capabilities despite adopting a multi-channel distribution strategy.

Contract Compliance and Rights Management

Once a creator adopts a multi-platform syndication strategy, the increase in exposure is accompanied by the intensification of complexity in regards to contract agreements. There does exist a much simpler distribution strategy in which a creator simply sends the content files to a third party host and is then awarded a license fee, revenue share, or a combination of the two for their contribution. However, the tradeoff for the presumed ease of this distribution process is that the creator effectively loses control of their content. This concession of control does make a simple, cut-and-dry third party distribution less enticing for content suppliers and may deem the management of multifaceted contractual agreements worth it if it means that they retain the rights to their media.

EY astutely posits that “opportunities, across all sectors of the global economy, have at least one thing in common: they require multiple corporations to partner.” In adhering to that model, media syndication requires the interwoven partnerships between the content supplier, syndication partners, and advertising networks. The amount of involved parties can be daunting even from the beginning, as each one must find enough mutual benefit to forge on with an agreement. The resulting mass of contracts is irrefutably overwhelming. Establishing the contract will be inherently difficult with the sheer amount of parties and agents involved, but AdMonster suggests focusing on the terms of your syndication relationships, your business priorities, and the requirements of your advertisers when determining the terms of a syndication agreement.

Beyond the initial hurdle of contract creation lies the cumbersome task of enforcing the established contract. The agreement will cover everything from ad agency contract compliance to the rules of digital distribution as agreed upon by the content supplier and the platform that will host it. For many video creators, this is beyond what they are capable or willing to do, hence the common employment of syndication services such as Castfire or Grab Networks. Streaming Media reports that content suppliers value these services’ capability to manage relationships, especially with advertisers, and keep “track of advertising agreements and cross-promotion rules for the various sites that carry a video.” With the release of these video inventory and contract management systems, video creators are being spurred into creating more content and syndicating it to more platforms.

On a broader level, EY continues to laud the disruptive capabilities of blockchain technology, particularly in the media industry. The technology is brimming with potential as EY notes the advent of a blockchain-based music ecosystem “in which artists can place their songs and control song data and terms of usage, with transaction royalties distributed in real time to the artists, producers, writers and engineers involved in a song’s production.” Once this system is modified for video media, the means with which contracts and the terms regarding the rights to a piece of content are enforced will be conducted with significant ease and transparency.

Dealing with countless data repositories in a multitude of formats of structured and unstructured data can make the efforts not worth the ROI for many content suppliers. But True Interaction’s Synaptik platform has the ability to automate and aggregate your disparate structured and unstructured data across internal and external sources that will usher in a transformational return. It is becoming imperative for creators to learn more about the benefits of blockchain technology and the many ways it can be integrated into your business processes in order to steer your organization to success.

Joe Sticca, Chief Operating Officer of True Interaction, contributed to this post.

By Justin Barbaro


Digital Transformation Capability and the Modern Business Landscape

Yesterday morning, The Wall Street journal announced that Goldmann Sachs Group Inc. dropped out of R3CEV LLC blockchain group. R3 has been notable in its corralling of 70 different banks and financial firms to join their group since 2014, including Bank of America, J.P. Morgan and State Street. A spokesperson commented on the company’s departure:

Developing technology like this requires dedication and significant resources, and our diverse pool of members all have different capacities and capabilities which naturally change over time.

For the record, Goldmann Sachs will continue to invest in blockchain technology including the startups Circle and Digital Asset Holdings, but there is only speculation as to exactly why Goldmann Sachs’ membership with R3 expired. Certainly it may have been related to disagreement as to the equity distribution models between R3 and its members, but just a month earlier, when R3 announced their blockchain proof-of-concept prototype exercise, R3 CEO David Rutter commented:

Quality of data has become a crucial issue for financial institutions in today’s markets. Unfortunately, their middle and back offices rely on legacy systems and processes – often manual – to manage and repair unclear, inaccurate reference data.

The truth is, that there’s still quite a bit of latitude of digital capability across, within, and without businesses, big or small.

Getting the whole gang onboard

Perhaps Goldmann Sachs’ departure is due to exactly this: some aspect of their business units are behind the power curve in their digitization transformation and data management efforts.

Digital transformation can be a painstakingly complicated process, partially because, according to Computer Weekly, some parts of the transformation process aren’t even executed by the organization itself, yet still require all the vigilance their CIO and IT units can muster, being ultimately their responsibility:

Companies of all kinds are increasingly using technology partners, channel partners, contract manufacturers, warehousing and logistics partners, service partners and other outside services to handle all or part of a business process. Most enterprises come to view these partners as the extended enterprise, and look for ways to have tight integration and collaboration with them.

To achieve effective, successful transformation, digital business leaders must get their whole business ecosystem onboard with a clear, discernable, comprehensive strategic digital transformation plan that touches upon all of the extended enterprise. To act and assess digital transformation opportunity, McKinsey suggests 4 steps:

1. Estimate the value at stake. Companies need to get a clear handle on the digital-sales and cost-reduction opportunities available to them. Digital—and digitally influenced—sales potential should be assessed at the product level and checked against observed internal trends, as well as competitor performance. On the cost side, administrative and operational processes should be assessed for automation potential, and distribution should be rightsized to reflect digital-sales growth. The aggregate impact should be computed and turned into a granular set of digital targets to monitor progress and drive value capture.

2. Prioritize. Most organizations don’t have the ability, resources, or risk tolerance to execute on more than two or three big opportunities at any one time. Be selective. Figure out what areas are likely to deliver the greatest return on investment and the best customer outcomes and start there. While digital requires some experimentation, too many ad hoc demos and showcases lead to scattershot investments that fail to deliver sustained value. One retailer, for instance, ended up with 25 subscale digital offerings by not culling in the right places.

3. Take an end-to-end view. One financial-services firm built a world-class digital channel but failed to update the paper-based processes that supported it—processes that were prone to error. That false veneer of speed and efficiency eroded trust and turned off customers. The moral? Although it may seem counterintuitive, overinvestment in a slick front end that is not matched with the corresponding high-quality fulfillment that customers now expect may actually lead to increased customer frustration.

4. Align the business portfolio accordingly. In the long run, some lines of business will simply be destroyed by digital. Hanging on and tweaking them is futile. Companies need to act purposefully and divest where it makes sense, identifying what holdings are likely to be cannibalized or likely to underperform in the new environment and sloughing them off. Conversely, some areas will clearly need new capabilities and assets, which companies often do not have the luxury to build up organically over time. One retailer used targeted acquisitions to rapidly build out its e-commerce capabilities, allowing it to focus on defining strategy and aspirations rather than tinkering with the “plumbing.” Source.

Creating new monetizeable value

A recent report by Gartner revealed that often organizations are missing out on a bevy of monetizeable value due to overemphasizing traditional silos and markets (marketing, social media, mobile applications, etc.). A too-narrow focus means organizations are getting only a small share of the full value that digital transformation can provide. Saul Judah, research director at Gartner says,

All too often IT leaders focus value creation more narrowly, with the result that most digital initiatives are aimed at operational improvements, rather than value transformation. While this tactical approach to digital value can result in very real process and financial improvements, the greatest potential for digital value lies in more strategic initiatives, such as creating new markets, empowering employees, changing the basis of competition and crossing industry boundaries.

IT leaders need to work with the business side of the house to identify and exploit these high-value initiatives.

Algorithms and analytics offer accelerators of value and are themselves of exchangeable and monetizable value. An analytics process may use algorithms in its creation, which could also be monetizable through an algorithmic marketplace, making it available to enterprises of all types and sizes to use.

For example, True Interaction’s data agnostic machine learning analytics platform, SYNAPTIK, is rolling out a data marketplace where organizations can syndicate and distribute new data revenue opportunities and actions to their clients, as well as other platforms.

Digital transformation and the modern enterprise landscape

The Blockchain endgame?

Blockchain technology offers several benefits to an organization. The technology uses new methods of encryption which enables anonymous sharing of information in a data-rich environment. They are further characterised as Smart Contracts, computer protocols that facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation of contract cases or terms. And with blockchain, the dataset remains updated and intact at all times, without the need or use of a central governing authority.

Decentralised systems using blockchain technology can manage the data relationships and sequence of events where all parties share the same data source. Furthermore, with the impending intersection of the Internet of Things with blockchain technology, digitally tenacious organizations will soon be able to connect, conceivably, anything with anything, and get them to communicate intelligently and securely. Enterprises that embrace this phenomenon will be able to provide a better user experience and value-added services, as well as gain competitive advantage and differentiation.

Seeing the rumble between Goldmann Sachs and R3 shows us that we are still a ways off as far as describing the exact standards of blockchain in business. With certainty, some markets need to topple age-old paradigms of strategic thinking that are no longer relevant in a digital world. But the promise is quite exciting.

by Michael Davison


Blockchain Just Fixed the Internet’s Worst Attribute

Blockchain was originally conceived in 2008 and implemented in 2009 as a way to record all public transactions in the Bitcoin database, but the technology has applications across nearly every industry. Today, we are seeing a huge amount of investment in blockchain technology, and some exciting movement across several industries regarding its implementation, and with good reason. At its essence, the wonder of blockchain comes down to this: finally, electronic transactions of all varieties can be made possible without the need for a bank.

Today I want to discuss and explore blockchain and how it can revolutionize attribution, provenance, and copyright –the Achilles’ heel of digital media. We’ll also take a look at some companies that are spearheading the technology leap.

We are at an amazing point in history for artists. A revolution is going to happen, and next year it’s going to take over. It’s the ability of artists to have the control and the say of what they do with their music at large. The answer to this is in the blockchain. ~Imogen Heap, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter

Here’s how blockchain will fix the internet with regards to digital media: In the same way as blockchain technology provides an open, decentralized ledger of monetary transactions, it can also be purposed as a self-verifying database of other types of time-stamped events – one such event could be, for example, the registration of a copyright. A blockchain may also attach a hash of the work itself, the metadata associated with it, and even any information about permitted uses of the piece of media. Following this idea, any new instance of the work – without that metadata – would not match the original record and therefore would obviously be identified as copy. “This can also help and empower artists and rights holders to manage and track the use of their work, as well as tie back into audience demographic data,” says True Interaction COO and resident digital media guru Joe Sticca.

Blockchain technology may well stabilize the value of digital media. Anyone who uses social media is intimately aware of the phenomenon of sharing something online, and watching it morph and be stripped of its metadata as it makes its way across pinboards, Tweets, and/or Reddit. Think of the ramifications of blockchain: Finally, an internet where, when you share something, it intrinsically contains the information regarding its creator as well as the contract for its use. And while this technology is purposed to squash piracy, its effects will fuel a whole new world of online commerce.

Here are a few companies that are leading the charge:


Originally envisioned as a ‘Netscape for Bitcoin’ in 2015, Blockai intended to utilize blockchain for a kind of social media stream that would allow users to send messages and authenticate items. Now Blockai has announced it has raised $547,000 in seed funding to relaunch as a blockchain copyright service: a tool that allows artists to authenticate and claim copyright over images. With Blockai, the process is as follows: Create a piece of digital art, photo or anything that can be copyrighted. Register your copyright on the blockchain, a public ledger powered by Bitcoin. The record is permanent and immutable. Then, receive a registration certificate with cryptographic evidence that protects your copyright. You own the certificate forever.


Revelator solves copyright challenges in the music industry by integrating sales, marketing, accounting and analytics into one unified system based upon blockchain technology, with fair pricing and levels of service for the individual artist, a manager, or a record label, Recently, the company announced it has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding led by Exigent Capital, with participation from Digital Currency Group and Israeli early-stage fund Reinvent (Revelator is headquartered in Tel Aviv). That’s on top of the $3 million the company has already raised.


Verisart works in the same way, but in the realm of physical and fine art. The digital startup intends to chronicle original artworks, prints, multiples, and books by using block chain, thereby assigning each object a unassailable certificate of authenticity. Each object’s provenance, in turn, is created step-by-step by its owners, who add their e-mail addresses to an object’s data when they purchase one. Ultimately, Verisart plans to catalogue older artwork by extending the verification service to online sites and artists’ estates, and eventually begin to work with art appraisers and insurers to add works that have already been validated. The company has recieved $2M in funding from Earlybird Venture Capital, Freelands Ventures, and Digital Currency Group.


Monegraph specializes in attribution of media with multiple creators or complex attribution. The Monegraph platform enables sharing of revenue across the value chain of media distribution for online broadcasts, video clips, image reels, and other licensed or brand sponsored content. According to Monegraph, the ability to distribute media via their revenue sharing infrastructure aligns the interests of all stakeholders in the creation and promotion of the content in such a way that distribution is dramatically amplified. This allows the media to reach localized communities of viewers not obtainable through centralized points of distribution. Monegraph has raised $1.3M in funding for its platform.


Ascribe is another copyright platform that enables creators to claim authorship and generate a certificate of authenticity on a piece of media. More than 20 marketplaces and services have integrated the platform, and close to 4,000 artists are using the service. The company raised $2 million in seed from Earlybird Venture Capital, Freelands Ventures, Digital Currency Group, and various angels.They’re a developer-friendly company that includes plenty of documentation around their REST API. Ascribe also includes features such as setting limited editions for pieces of digital media, loaning or renting a piece of digital media (granting a temporary license for specific range of dates), and tracking the chain of ownership of a work of art.

By Michael Davison


The Decade of Blockchain?

“Blockchain technology” – it’s been buzzing all over the financial news recently if you haven’t noticed. The term still hasn’t quite exploded onto the public square yet like Bitcoin, the notorious first implementation of the technology, but a quick Google Trend search since the first published Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008 clearly shows a recent outburst of interest in “blockchain” since the end of 2015.

So what is blockchain technology anyway?

A blockchain is type of data structure that can be purposed to create a digital ledger of transactions that can be shared among a distributed network of computers. By using cryptography, each account on the network may access and manipulate the ledger securely, without the need for any central authority or middleman.

Why is blockchain important to me and my business?

As businesses continue to evolve into true digital, industries are awash in a deluge of big data; and two common challenges across SMBs continue to mount:

1. As big data’s volume increases, the ability to process and manipulate that data quickly and efficiently becomes compromised.

2. The sheer size and breadth of data in all of its environments, lifecycles, and formats increases the challenge of keeping business data secure.

Blockchain technology addresses these challenges directly in two ways:

First, with blockchain technology, there is increased transparency, accurate tracking, and a permanent, secure leger. Once a block of data is recorded on the blockchain ledger, it’s extremely difficult to change or remove. When someone wants to add to it, participants in the network — all of which have copies of the existing blockchain — run algorithms to evaluate and verify the proposed transaction.

Second, because blockchain technology obviates the need for a central authority, middleman, or clearing house, transactions can be run and approved automatically in seconds or minutes. This reduces costs and boosts efficiency.

Blockchain will make the financial services industry’s infrastructure much less expensive. The Block Chain Protocol allows the instant transfer of value, irrespective of size. Faster, cheaper settlements could trim billions of dollars from transaction costs while improving transparency.

But blockchain technology’s application isn’t limited to the financial industry – its uses are endless:

Automotive: Consumers can use the blockchain to manage fractional ownership in autonomous cars.

Voting: Using a blockchain code, constituents can cast votes via smartphone, tablet or computer, resulting in immediately verifiable results.

Healthcare: Patients’ encrypted health information can be shared with multiple providers without the risk of privacy breaches.

Source: Financial Services Technology 2020 and Beyond: Embracing disruption (PWC)

Meanwhile we are beginning to see a number of developers building APIs on the Block Chain Protocol, across a variety of applications:

– API’s to allocate digital resources such as energy, bandwidth, storage, and computation to the connected devices and services that need them. Eg; FileCoin

– API’s for Oculus Rift: With access to the virtual world now becoming TRON-esque, developers are looking at creating API’s that can be used in the virtual space to make transactions, blurring the lines between virtual and real economies.

– Micropayment API’s tailored to the type of transaction being undertaken. i.e: Tipping a blog versus Tipping a car share driver. Very useful in a shared economy where consumers increasingly become prosumers.

Source: WIRED

Blockchain: The time is now for progressive businesses.

As I mentioned earlier, Blockchain is still on the cusp of public consciousness. In a recent survey by PWC, 56% of survey respondents recognise the importance of blockchain technology, but 57% say they are unsure about or unlikely to respond to this trend. I wrote in an earlier blog post that progressive SMBs are making huge gains, and the race is already on. According to PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey, 81% of banking CEOs are concerned about the speed of technological change, more than any other industry sector.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that in the last year, more than 40 financial institutions said they were working with blockchain. Other sources detail that in 2015, 13 blockchain companies obtained over $365 million in funding, and by the beginning of this year, blockchain companies had raised well over a billion dollars to fund their development and operations.

SMBs should realize that blockchain technology is not just for the globals and multinationals. It is applicable to any sized business and can be scaled accordingly. The technology has reached a stage that some businesses are even experimenting with establishing smaller, “private blockchains” within their own offices, or are exploring how they can deploy their own blockchain on smaller “permissioned” networks.

The time is now for research and analysis – even professional consultation on the full extent of its application in your business. Certainly it’s a complex technology, with several yet-to-be determined regulatory implications, and as always, there are the usual difficulties with implementation, and sorting through the swath of competing vendors and platforms. But with a clear strategy of where, why, and how to apply the technology, you will be on the right road to incorporating blockchain into the framework of your business.

By Michael Davison