The Oregon Enterprise Blockchain Venture Studio created an environment for emerging startups to test and launch blockchain systems with viable use cases. In this article, we’ll uncover the blockchain-based pilots and partnerships being deployed between our corporate partners and the emerging tech solutions found in the startup ecosystem.
Written by Josh Daghir and Benjamin Diggles
When Bitcoin crashed in 2018, many analysts called the decentralization movement “dead.” Global corporations were highly scrutinized for exploring distributed ledger technology.
However, behind the scenes, many of the world’s leading companies were working hard to secure strategies to absorb the technology principles to develop solutions that would benefit from the promise of decentralization.
In 2019, major companies have put a stake in the ground showing their dedication to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, with announcements such as Facebook’s Libra, Amazon’s Blockchain-as-a-Service, Azure’s Distributed Ledger Technology Deployment Tools, Salesforce’s “low code” Blockchain Platform, JP Morgan’s JPM Coin, and more.
While many companies are still in the “proof of concept” phase, there is a definite shift in how they are structuring their businesses to prepare for the decentralization shift. They are forming new blockchain innovation teams to transform their businesses while the general public becomes aware of what’s possible.
For this reason, one of the primary goals of one of R/GA Ventures’ Studios, the Oregon Enterprise Blockchain Venture Studio is to help emerging startups test and launch blockchain systems with viable use cases. As production-ready deployments begin to come online, OEBVS is helping its Studio Partners realize the full potential of blockchain technologies across finance, health, education, and more.
The Cohort of Pilots
Due to the early nature of the blockchain movement, we knew it would be difficult to secure working technical use cases within the short program window. Given this, we looked not only at opportunities for technical adoption but also opportunities to better educate Studio Partners and their teams through applied research.
To identify these opportunities, the R/GA Ventures team held workshops and interviews with Studio Partners, in addition to researching industry trends and blockchain capabilities. We ultimately found six startups to invite to the OEBVS, creating a cohort relevant to the Studio Partners and R/GA.
Because technical deployments require a deep understanding of the solution and any risk involved, as well as transition plans for commercial adoption, many of the Studio Partners are approaching pilots with these startups through the lens of exploratory research and education.
While the following examples are still works in progress, we feel it is important–especially to the startup ecosystem–to share how enterprises are seeing opportunities with blockchain today.
Brave’s fast, privacy-oriented browser, combined with its blockchain-based digital advertising platform (Basic Attention Token), is resetting the web for users, publishers, and advertisers.
With growth in mind, Brave saw the studio as a great way to accelerate its end-user adoption while also creating new campaigns and program opportunities for advertisers.
Umpqua Bank is exploring how best to leverage Brave’s capabilities internally to enhance the associate experience. Among the key factors for consideration are how the browser reduces points of friction for associates, which will result in better user experience, increased efficiencies, and productivity.
With Brave’s ability to create a custom browser install for any customer, Moda saw many opportunities to roll out content on internal Moda campaigns or programs to employees. Brave is engaged with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) through Moda to drive donations via the Brave browser’s tipping capabilities.
Chronicled is pioneering enterprise solutions and networks powered by blockchain to improve the way supply chains operate. Chronicled’s first area of focus has been the pharmaceutical supply chain.
With their MediLedger consortium, Chronicled has brought together more than two dozen partners in the pharmaceutical industry to use blockchain to meet the 2023 requirements of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act.
Chronicled has been fully committed to the MediLedger project, and is not taking on additional projects at this time. Still, Chronicled has had exploratory discussions with OEBVS Studio Partners.
Everest’s platform solves for verifiable identity, secure value exchange, and transparent accounting — with a distributed ledger and storage system, mobile phone application, and administrative console for organizations and regulators.
Securing digital identity is paramount to Umpqua Bank’s business operations. The company is committed to safeguarding its customers and associates at every touchpoint. Umpqua is engaged in exploratory discussions with the Everest team to probe use cases for the platform.
Moda first saw promise with Everest around identity and data sharing, with the goal of consolidation of state purchasers of health services in Oregon and Washington. Moda is exploring leveraging the Everest platform offer identity data to different groups, creating new efficiencies, and quicker outcomes by tearing down siloed data processes.
Moda also uncovered an opportunity with Everest to streamline accessibility of state-issued pharmacy discount cards. Residents of Oregon and Washington have access to pharmacy discount cards; however, certifying a resident’s program eligibility is a point of friction today. This friction is grounded in resident identification. Using their decentralized identity platform to easily and seamlessly conduct identity reference checks, Everest could remove barriers to enrollment.
Founded in 2015, Patientory was an early player in the Blockchain industry. They are building a solution that will empower users to manage and transfer their health data to achieve actionable insights for improved health outcomes and well-being.
Moda Health, OHSU, and The State of Oregon
One of the most exciting developments of OEBVS is collaboration across Studio Partners. Moda Health, OHSU, and the state of Oregon are working with Patientory on a peer-reviewed research paper on the topic of “social determinants of health.” This has been a big focus for Moda, as “social determinants”–such as socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood, and physical environment, employment, social support networks, and universal access to healthcare–are strong predictors of future health.
The siloed and protected nature of this data makes it hard to reach and requires the collaboration of many parties to work together to stitch together the full picture of a patient. Also, while Patientory has built a platform that unlocks and brings together these data inputs, getting industry leaders to understand the offering and possibility within requires education beyond only showing an application demo. This is why Patientory decided to work with OEBVS Studio Partners on a joint peer review research paper titled, “Incentivizing Change within Social Determinants of Health using Blockchain Technology.”
Patientory is active in other proof of concepts and will be executing this research paper in tandem with a goal to have it published and ready for distribution before the end of 2019.
qiibee is the global standard for loyalty on the blockchain. Through qiibee’s plug-and-play solutions, businesses worldwide are running and operating loyalty programs on the blockchain in a few hours, while reducing costs and maximizing customer lifetime value.
With their focus on Social Determinants of Health, Moda saw many opportunities to engage with qiibee to incentivize patients to change habits. More specifically, the OEBVS identified a use case to impact positive dental behaviors. Moda had data showing that even if people had access to free dental care, they were not using it or following through with general treatments.
qiibee could incentivize people to make appointments and follow through with their treatments, creating a lasting, positive effect on overall population health. Moda is working with qiibee to explore the incentives that could prove this concept out (e.g., getting your teeth cleaned earns you three months of a Netflix subscription).
Concord provides privacy-first data and consent solutions that protect, connect, and reward people and brands. The company seeks to create a more equitable value exchange between these two audiences.
Umpqua Bank is assessing Concord’s capabilities to identify which of its many potentials would be of most value to the Bank. Umpqua is committed to providing the best banking experience, and Concord has the potential to greatly enhance how Umpqua delivers its digital customer experience.
The team at Moda also has a strong focus on data privacy and secure data sharing with those that visit their web properties. Concord is exploring with their team all the ways that they can build trust with their web visitors to continually optimize the user experience and tighten the data collection methods to remain buttoned up and compliant with regulators.
Through enterprise, blockchain is still nascent in its development; this cohort acts as a wedge into this new paradigm shift towards decentralization. Replacing existing systems with an entirely different architecture is not a trivial task, but by solving one small problem after the next, these organizations can build the momentum and confidence needed to unlock what blockchain truly has to offer.
Learn more about the Studio here.