CryptoFuse, and what’s next for the internet

dodging the problems before us by solving the ones behind us

(this article originally appeared on LinkedIn)

Crypto is often called the “bleeding edge” of technological innovation. This term is at the genius level for marketing minds like myself, for it seemingly validates the nebulous space between potential and reality — a great fit for the blockchain industry.

I’ve spent the last few months working and traveling with CryptoFuse, but before I launch into my usual pitch for why you should care, I’d like to ask what you think will be the tech industry’s next biggest advancement. Are we really going to automate every part of the workspace, or put a scooter in the hands of every citizen, or target an Allbirds post directly to every Instagram user within the ages of 18–35 who follows #motivation and shops at Patagonia outlets?

Probably.

But to what end? We’re pushing the envelope of development in every possible direction, but missing the fact that all of this progress grinds to a halt without consistent internet connectivity.

I know you’re probably thinking, “I have data wherever I go, how is this still a problem in 2018?”

And you’re right, it shouldn’t be. Countless teams have spent their entire lives inching us closer and closer towards full connectivity, but we haven’t cracked the code. Remember that time you couldn’t pay for parking because you were three levels deep in a parking garage, or spent the better part of a runway deciding whether or not $10/hr was a decent price to pay for the convenience of WiFi on your American Air flight? Blow that up to scale, because convenience isn’t the only issue at play here.

Potentially millions of dollars, though I’m sure more, (feel free to correct me in the comments) are lost every year due to what’s called “packet loss,” a technical term for the loss of data inside a network. It contributes to a single, industry-wide problem that not many are looking to solve.

The internet, the thing that seems to hold all of our lives together; a complex ecosystem of data and connections that seems to grow by the second. While everyone is racing towards 5G, tokenizing, or building something-as-a-service integrations that will put layer after layer on top of our existing platforms, hardly anyone is working on the far less sexy issue of packet loss -or- what to do when your cell service takes a sick day. While Jacques Cousteau references are probably a bit over the top for our current situation, it does feel as though we’re exploring the Mariana Trench while others are shooting for the moon.

Enter CryptoFuse, the first team in the world to figure out how to handshake data offline-to-offline with validation at the point of transaction. We’re in a fully digital age for most of the world, yet some of our point-of-sale terminals are about as good as credit card rubbings when it comes to “offline” capabilities. This is a huge issue at scale, and affects not only our existing systems, but our advancements of these systems into emerging market spaces.

By now we’re all aware that if your end-customer has to spend more than ten seconds finding or downloading your app, you’ve already lost them. Apply that understanding of a customer’s attention span to this single payment processing situation, and you might get a sense of how massive this pain point is. We’re not just talking about cryptocurrency either. Anything in our modern world that needs to be transferred securely online, be that patient health records, supply chain, or identity data, needs to also function offline.

This piece isn’t about me selling you on an idea, or a company for that matter. Rather, I’d like the few of you who have survived this much of my writing to think about the potential for a world in which Facebook doesn’t have to fly a drone over Africa to beam down WiFi signals, or one where you can save that $10 for a drink rather than a Boingo pass. Let me know what you think about all this in the comments below, and head to our website to learn more.


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