Blockchain in theory and practice

The workshop that took place at Venture Factory once again touched upon an important tech area, namely blockchain. A lot of people have heard the term before, but only few understand it and, most importantly, know how to use it to their advantage.

Technologically speaking, blockchain is nothing new
Matjaž Slak, connoisseur of the blockchain ecosystem, first explained what’s so special about the blockchain technology. He said as follows: “Blockchain, technologically speaking, is nothing new. All the concepts included in blockchain have been technologically known for a couple of years. Ten, if not more. What’s new is the way we combined them and what we wish to achieve with them. For the first time ever, blockchain gives us the opportunity to carry out trustworthy transactions between several stakeholders that don’t trust each other, without needing a third party.
People have always trusted third parties with valuable transactions. When it comes to money, we trust banks. When it comes to real estate, we trust the land register. When we have a dispute with someone, we trust the court to decide who’s right. We continually trust a third party in critical moments.

Blockchain is based on the hypothesis that two people can’t trust each other. If there are a lot of people, what the majority says, goes. This hypothesis was proposed with the first blockchain and is still valid today.

Where lies the beauty of blockchain?
The beauty of blockchain, according to Matjaž, is that as soon as something is written in it, it can’t be changed anymore. At least not in practical terms. Blockchain can be used for internal purposes, for example to confirm the arrival and departure from the workplace. It can be used to exchange information in a group: an example of that can be exchanges about car damages between insurance companies. Blockchain can also be used for tokens with which we motivate proper behavior. For example, to motivate employees when they use the stairs instead of the elevator and thus act more ecologically.

Where blockchain is now and where it will be in 10 years
At this Start:up Müsli, three experts guided us through practical uses of blockchain in business as well as looked into the crystal ball and each shared their own opinion about the future of this technology with the people who gathered in Kibla, which was packed to the brim. The future of blockchain has also been recognized by companies, which are increasingly investing into its development.

What is the general knowledge of blockchain?
When it comes to the level of education and awareness in blockchain, Matjaž Slak praised Slovenians as a nation. At the end of 2017, between 60 and 70 percent of people in Slovenia heard about cryptocurrency, which is high above the European as well as global average. The other two guests both joined this opinion. Muhamed Turkanović, assistant professor from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, where he participates in projects related to research and implementation of blockchain technology in the Slovenian economy as a member of the team of the Institute of Informatics and the newly founded Blockchain Lab:UM group, additionally added that due to the educational level, Slovenians also take self-initiative, which is why we have so many startups.

Faster business processes without intermediaries
Muhamed says that the right way of using blockchain is when we collaborate with potential co-stakeholders or partners that are globally distributed and don’t trust each other completely. Then we need a mechanism that will enable effective business operations, and blockchain offers this to us.

Tadej Slapnik, who recently concluded his work in the government, focused on the economy and is now leading the blockchain company Tolar Hasnet Slovenia and chairing the European Blockchain Hub advisory board, highlighted that blockchain has multifunctional uses, meaning that we don’t merely pass on information, like the Internet does, but also pass on value. As the third functionality, he also mentioned faster business processes because it gets rid of intermediaries, so-called third parties.

Blockchain solves the problem of trust
Matjaž says that it’s too early to judge where blockchain will be most useful. It’s true that this technology has positioned itself in the financial field so far, but that doesn’t mean that it will prove itself to be most useful here as well. “I think we need to watch out for the basic problem that this technology solves. It’s the problem of trust. And here, we quickly realize that this is a problem in all industries. If in the early 90s, we had asked ourselves who the Internet will help the most, we would find out today that it helps everyone.”
Tadej is a bit more excited about the use of blockchain in energy but, as he says, it’ll depend on the regulations, which are quite rigid in this field.

For competitive advantage on the market as well
The decision of the company to research the possibilities of using and the expedience of developing blockchain technology for its case must always come from the top, says Matjaž and continues: “It is first necessary to find out which business processes or business models that exist in the company can sensibly include blockchain and what it can improve. It’s necessary to understand that this isn’t only technology that can improve something. If we look at it like that, we will only exploit about 10 percent of it. But we can look at it more broadly, namely how can our business model be adapted to blockchain and thus how we can obtain value added or competitive advantage on the market. In the second case, the thing can be very successful.”

The entire clip of Start:up Müsli can be seen below.

See you at the following events, namely at the workshop with Lenja Faraguna about the new concept of marCAREting and a Müsli dedicated to presenting brand-building by Zavarovalnica Sava, NK Maribor, Organics Nutrients and many others. You will undoubtedly gain a lot of useful advice for your brand.
Author: Start:up Maribor , 17.9.2018


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