Presently, anyone with an entrepreneurial idea can float a token and invite people to invest. The investment vehicle is not a broker or bank, but a distributed platform connecting buyers and sellers. The ICO bestows the hope anyone can take part in soliciting and investing while bypassing the hugely regulated, bureaucratized apparatus of traditional financial markets, including rarified venture capital funding. A nice example of this new investment vehicle working is the Block.one startup which has gathered almost $4 billion for a product yet to be launched. It may seem like the beginning of a beautiful future with the democratization of business, investment and fundraising. The possibilities are limitless. Numerous blockchain protocols have gotten billions during ICOs. But what’s next?
Despite its delusive simplicity, ICO projects require thorough research and profound experience in the field you’d like to set on blockchain rails. Moreover, ICO projects strongly rely upon the real economy, and this factor is often skipped. The real economy, though it may seem outdated and doomed to extinction, ensures the basis for all ICO projects, as without real money used for token purchases or for solidly backing cryptocurrency values, they rapidly fade. Without using a real economy, investors lose their money and the blockchain bubble could disappear for good. For example, according to research by Shikhar Ghosh, every year, from 30 to 40 % of ICO startups sell their assets and go belly-up. It is not surprising half of all ICOs projects in 2017 failed.
Despite the fact that today blockchain doesn’t get as much attention from the public as it didwas a few years ago, companies in the space continue to rake in capital from investors. One of the latest is Circle, that announced a $110 million Series E round led by bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain. Other participating investors are Tusk Ventures, Pantera Capital, IDG Capital Partners, General Catalyst, Accel Partners, Digital Currency Group, Blockchain Capital and Breyer Capital.
A few months ago, Crunchbase News predicted that the amount of money raised in venture capital rounds by blockchain and blockchain-adjacent startups in 2018 would surpass the amount raised in 2017. The chart below consists of worldwide venture deals and dollar volumes for blockchain and blockchain-adjacent companies. All data is based on Crunchbase research.
Unlike traditional startups, they do not follow a proven path and try to find new approaches to ensure stability for their ventures. Stability, sometimes, means giving up solid blockchain practices in favour of new, clever technology combinations. Today, blockchain alone cannot help you achieve all of your business goals if not combined with equally profound technology. Blockchain provides security, transparency, and tracking of every single piece of data. It’s an enormous well of data verified and secured, but it works at half power without a tool to analyze these massive data.
One of the sore points of using ‘solid’ blockchain in retail is the lack of transparency and trust in the entire retail supply chain in the B2B sector leading to a lot of inefficiencies for business. Businesses lose money, because as data used by manufacturers and retailers to measure business performance is not reliable. Optimal shelf availability is currently one of the most challenging issues plaguing the world of retail today and causing $400 billion in losses per year. The solution for this problem relies solely on accurate data analysis only reached by overcoming data breaches and establishing unbiased control over the overall product life cycles.
Blockchain lends a hand with collecting the pieces of data from different sources involved and records it in a secured but transparent way. But, that is not enough for several reasons.
The first reason is the retail and supply chain data contains tons of garbage (mistakes). In other words, we protect trash from manipulation?!
The second reason is blockchain significantly increases the volume of data, requires extra expenses and kills economic benefits.
The third reason is it needs complex blockchain protocol which can execute jobs in real time (fast micro-transactions, especially data from IoT devices), and the cost of the micro-transaction should be close to zero.
OSA DC can easily solve these problems. The company, with its synergy of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies with smart contract functionality, ensures product data transparency and smart online assistant services. Their scaling strategy is based on 3 pillars:
1. through existing consumer products and retailer chains customer bases (global/regional corporations);
2. by establishing local offices and operations in key markets and approaching local customers;
3. through establishing local partner bases (we are in negotiations with D&T and EY, IT integrators and other consulting providers).
With consumer consent, their provided data is used to enrich machine learning algorithms and improve B2B services. OSA DC enables a fair share approach and rewards consumers for sharing data. This data is invaluable for enhancing business solutions to develop better products and services for end customers.
Furthermore, OSA also provides other great solutions for the B2B sector:
1. Garbage out
OSA’s big data platform collects and structures fragmented data through the entire supply chain, and ISA’s AI engine analyzes data in real-time to correct mistakes and provide prescriptions to businesses to improve situations.
2. Efficient Blockchain solution
Corrected data is saved in the data-lake including calculated KPIs (key performance indicators). Smart contract creates the hash for a certain part of data and this hash is recorded in Public Blockchain. Thus, data is secured from manipulation and the solution is very cost-efficient.
3. Automatization by smart contract and digital wallets functionalities.
OSA DC leverages smart contracts which retailers and manufacturers can use to enter trade agreements and monitor KPIs. The smart contracts trustlessly handle sales agreements and related data, and they can execute agreements once certain conditions are met. For instance, when the smart contract verifies a product has received proper shelf placement per an agreement, it pays the retailer for this. If a retailer meets a KPI, the smart contract can provide them with an incentive bonus.
As for B2C businesses, there are some problems here, too. With the growing number of businesses, emergence of new technologies, prevalence of synthetic products over organic, chemicals added to practically every sort of consumed product (food, drugs, cosmetics, washing liquids), people tend to be on the look-out for any sort of deception or fraud. Often important data for consumers is neither easily accessible nor secured. People have to put in more effort and make separate research for the majority of consumer products, and in some cases, this is not enough. This entails data abuse, misinterpretation or propagation of biased data.
OSA’s Blockchain based solution prevents these problems, as its AI engine carefully verifies the incoming data, makes corrections if needed and supplements the resulting information with consumer ratings and feedbacks. Only after the data is sieved, is it hashed in the public Blockchain. This way consumers can base their judgements upon reliable data and create reasoned product ratings influencing future updates.
The OSA team has developed the blockchain based solution for B2B and B2C services. One of the main points of this solution is the hybrid blockchain which allows:
- some data hashed in private Blockchain only
- some data hashed in public Blockchain
- and some data hashed in both layers simultaneously
Currently, OSA uses Quorum based on Ethereum (developed by JP Morgan), but due to known limitations of current Ethereum, we are looking for a more advanced cryptocurrency. The OSA team has tested various protocols including NEM, Cardano and EOS. EOS shows quite promising results. The next test will be Hashagraph.
In the end, the OSA DC platform creates the perfect conditions for B2B and B2C services mutual supplementation. B2C services by the decentralized platform bring consumers sharing of unique and otherwise unobtainable data, enabling AI to come up with certain shopping patterns, product preferences and pricing influence on purchasing decisions. This data can be used in both directions to improve B2B services by providing manufacturers and retailers with ready business solutions and to enhance the product quality and its pricing by using consumers’ constructive criticism.