OriginTrail Advisors: Andrew Webster, Supply Chain Risk Management

And here are a few highlights from the interview (edited for clarity)

  • Andrew Webster previously worked on a “track and trace” project for cargo at Lockheed Martin and came up with a GPS device for them, but later realized that the actual problem they were trying to solve was not tagging or physical tracking but rather staying on top of cargo documentation as it was handed from one mode to another (data exchange) — that’s where most errors were made. The internet was not secure enough then, so they tried using centralized systems, but they had cost constraints.
  • When he first met with OriginTrail founders, their idea sounded absolutely fantastic and right: “I can’t think of a better thing to get involved with. It’s massively important to get it right.” How they approached the problem was done well, he said. A lot of articles say that the blockchain is a silver bullet, but there is not a lot of solid thinking behind that argument. With the OriginTrail protocol, you can see something concrete happening and working in use cases.
  • Insurance is a very difficult area to innovate in. It involves a lot of people at different points verifying what is or is not true (saying yes or no). The blockchain enables operating in a more efficient manner — creating a verifiable point of truth that can be integrated via smart contracts. Using the blockchain, we can get rid of a lot of verification processes and of a lot of conflict over information.
  • Use cases are the most important thing. Use cases demonstrate that the technology works and is being deployed in a way that is accessible and credible.
  • Andrew is really excited about an upcoming use case involving IoT, the blockchain, smart contracts, and insurance.
  • OriginTrail’s layer approach is very clever and application-friendly. Users can integrate the technology with their legacy systems and don’t have to work on everything themselves.
  • OriginTrail’s approach is considerate and careful. The team is not trying to be everything to everyone, at all times. OriginTrail’s focus is correct and the team is asking proper questions (e.g. “How does this work in your industry? What kind of use cases would be good for your industry?”).

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