Investment in education will benefit blockchain

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Megan Wright

“People either refuse to embrace blockchain because they don’t understand what it can do or what it can be used for,” said Shping’s Gennady Volchek

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Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Like many technologies to have come before it, blockchain is still carving a place for itself in the popular mindset. Many have been quick to embrace its potential as sectors that are ripe for adoption—such as banking and financial services—implement blockchain-based applications and platforms.

There are, however, a large number who remain unconvinced of the technology’s potential. According to Shping CEO Gennady Volchek, this is for one of two reasons: “they don’t understand what it can do or what it can be used for”.

Investment in education and a leadership will ultimately underpin the widespread uptake of blockchain, said Volchek in a recent interview with AIIA Network. And he should know; he’s the CEO of a platform that utilizes blockchain to accumulate, share and validate information

Read more: Banking's battle for customers gets personal with AI 

As a platform, Shping is a great example of the potential for blockchain to provide transparency across all touchpoints of a supply chain. “For us, that might manifest in questions surrounding the origin of products you pick up in-store—where it has come from and the journey it has taken to reach customers,” said Volchek.

“This information, we know is becoming important for the next generation of shoppers in particular who bring different sets of values into their shopping considerations.”

And, when combined with AI, blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the way brands interact with consumers through capabilities like chatbots and automation, Volchek added.

So what is blockchain?

“In simplified, non-technical terms blockchain enables two parties to conduct a transaction in a manner where both parties feel safe and to do so without the need for a middle-man to facilitate the exchange,” Volchek explained.

“Through its decentralized and distributed nature, blockchain is immune to tampering by a single entity and that makes it perfectly scalable for both low- and high-volume transactions.”

This means that blockchain is ideal for transmitting things of value from one party to another—be that currency, information, deeds and so on—with the security and potential for seamless, self-actioning and highly complex tasks.

Finance is the most obvious sector for uptake,” said Volchek. “By removing an intermediary this reduces the cost of a typical transaction, which is attractive to businesses and consumers to make it more competitive and scalable.”

Read more: IBM launches blockchain partnership for improved cross-border payments

In a bid to stay ahead of the curve, Shping is also moving into the adtech sector, in a bid to use blockchain to streamline how brands connect with consumers. “In today's paradigm, brands pay media owners and ad distributors to reach consumers, we want to change that so that marketers pay consumers directly for their attention,” said Volchek.

This could be seen as a win for both businesses and consumers in a world where personalization and user-demand are driving the market forward. Add AI to the mix, and the scope is theoretically unlimited.

“AI has the potential to reduce the cost, time and resourcing needed to deliver customer service and support. Yet at the same time, AI will make that self-service much more personalized, faster and accurate.”