Decision Vision Episode 72: Should I Leverage Blockchain in my Business? – An Interview with Linda Goetze, Blockchain Chamber of Commerce
How can blockchain lower my costs? What’s the risk? On the other hand, how does blockchain lower my risk? Linda Goetze, President of the Blockchain Chamber of Commerce, answers these questions and much more with “Decision Vision” host Mike Blake. “Decision Vision” is presented by Brady Ware & Company.
The Blockchain Chamber of Commerce
The Blockchain Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (BCC) is an international association supporting the emerging blockchain, distributed ledger technologies, and crypto currency industries. BCC is a membership-based organization comprised of professionals, individuals, corporations, blockchain companies, vendors, partners, non-profits and government agencies.
MISSION: “Awareness – Adoption – Advocacy” Their mission is to raise awareness, facilitate adoption, and insipire advocacy in 3 core areas: a) blockchain for commerce b) blockchain for consumers c) blockchain for careers
1) AWARENESS: Blockchain technology and crypto currencies are new and are cumbersome to understand. The mainstream community is entering into this market and needs to be aware of the risks, challenges, and rewards. (EDUCATION, EVENTS, COACHING, NEW CHAPTERS)
2) ADOPTION: Millions of individuals and new companies will join the blockchain ecosystem; new startups, new careers, or investors. Standards and best practices are needed.
3) ADVOCACY: a) Blockchain industry needs a proper balance of regulations for technological advancements, prevention of market scams, and protecting individual and corporate privacy/rights. (SMART REGULATIONS, INDUSTRY ORGANIZATION, DECENTRALIZED SOLUTIONS)
The https://blockchainecosystem.io/ platform is an initiative of the Chamber and a place for the community to organize, be seen, and collaborate.
Linda Goetze, M.Ed., is the President and CEO of the Blockchain Chamber of Commerce and has served on the Blockchain Association Board of Directors. An educator and connector, Linda has been engaged with blockchain technology since 2012. A member of Mensa and CEO of Balancing Health, Linda helped establish the Atlanta Neurotherapy Institute after spending 13 years as an award-winning educator. An advocate for the safe mass adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, she led the team that launched the BlockchainECOsystem.io platform to give the community a place to get rewarded for their contributions in a synergistic environment (where privacy is respected.) Proud mother of twins birthed as the Bitcoin whitepaper was completed, she is passionate about cutting edge technologies, her family and her favorite charity, BloomintheDark.org.
Michael Blake, Brady Ware & Company
Michael Blake is Host of the “Decision Vision” podcast series and a Director of Brady Ware & Company. Mike specializes in the valuation of intellectual property-driven firms, such as software firms, aerospace firms and professional services firms, most frequently in the capacity as a transaction advisor, helping clients obtain great outcomes from complex transaction opportunities. He is also a specialist in the appraisal of intellectual properties as stand-alone assets, such as software, trade secrets, and patents.
Mike has been a full-time business appraiser for 13 years with public accounting firms, boutique business appraisal firms, and an owner of his own firm. Prior to that, he spent 8 years in venture capital and investment banking, including transactions in the U.S., Israel, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
Brady Ware & Company
Brady Ware & Company is a regional full-service accounting and advisory firm which helps businesses and entrepreneurs make visions a reality. Brady Ware services clients nationally from its offices in Alpharetta, GA; Columbus and Dayton, OH; and Richmond, IN. The firm is growth minded, committed to the regions in which they operate, and most importantly, they make significant investments in their people and service offerings to meet the changing financial needs of those they are privileged to serve. The firm is dedicated to providing results that make a difference for its clients.
Decision Vision Podcast Series
“Decision Vision” is a podcast covering topics and issues facing small business owners and connecting them with solutions from leading experts. This series is presented by Brady Ware & Company. If you are a decision maker for a small business, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at email@example.com and make sure to listen to every Thursday to the “Decision Vision” podcast.
Visit Brady Ware & Company on social media:
Intro: [00:00:02] Welcome to Decision Vision, a podcast series focusing on critical business decisions brought to you by Brady Ware & Company. Brady Ware is a regional full-service accounting and advisory firm that helps businesses and entrepreneurs make visions a reality.
Mike Blake: [00:00:22] And welcome to Decision Vision, a podcast giving you, the listener, clear vision to make great decisions. In each episode, we discuss the process of decision making on a different topic from the business owner’s or executive’s perspective. We aren’t necessarily telling you what to do, but we can put you in a position to make an informed decision on your own and understand when you might need help along the way.
Mike Blake: [00:00:42] My name is Mike Blake and I’m your host for today’s program. I’m a director at Brady Ware & Company, a full service accounting firm based in Dayton, Ohio. With offices in Dayton, Columbus, Ohio, Richmond, Indiana, and Alpharetta, Georgia. Brady Ware is sponsoring this podcast, which is being recorded in Atlanta for social distancing protocols. If you like this podcast, please subscribe on your favorite podcast aggregator. And please consider leaving a review of the podcast as well.
Mike Blake: [00:01:09] So today’s topic is showing leverage blockchain in my small business. And blockchain, I think, has been on everybody’s radar screen to some extent for, I’m going to say, at least the last five years or so, maybe a little bit longer, depending on how much the bleeding as you are in terms of technology. And blockchain so far seems to be one of these things that’s always on the horizon. We haven’t really hit that inflection point where a blockchain appears to be everywhere. Although, I’ll bet you, it is more prevalent than we realize. It’s just not one of those things that you drive by somebody’s office building and say, “Hey, they’ve got a blockchain.” So it’s not necessarily all that visible, right?
Mike Blake: [00:01:55] And the media’s attention only lasts for so long, right? They’re only going to really get behind and publicize something for so long. And they don’t really like gradual improvements or gradual incarnations or intrusions upon the status quo. They like to report the Big Bang because that’s kind of what grabs headlines and click-throughs and so forth. But it’s a mistake to think that blockchain, I think, has gone away. It’s not going away. It is, I believe, much more prevalent in Europe and Asia. And in fact, there’s increasing regulation that is requiring blockchain to accomplish certain things in Europe that we do not have in the United States yet.
Mike Blake: [00:02:47] But I promise you, all of the big four accounting firms, all the major consulting firms, continue to have blockchain on their radar screen and continue to train their people on not just the tactical implementation of blockchain, but also that the strategic implications and opportunities that blockchain provides. Because it is coming. But this is one of these things that’s gonna be, I think, top down because the level of knowledge is so specialized. And also because, I think, frankly, blockchain has the biggest monetary impact on large businesses. When you think about one of the applications, say, smart contracts of blockchain, blockchain becomes a lot more interesting if you have 10,000 contracts than if you’re a small business that has four of them. So the fact that you have something that makes four contracts more efficient, “Nuh,” right? That’s not going to get your attention. At least not yet, especially, if it’s a five or ten percent increase of efficiency.
Mike Blake: [00:03:53] But eventually that’s going to become – it’s either going to become law. You’re either going to see either legal ramifications or, in certain cases, large suppliers and customers saying, “I want to do this in blockchain and we just can’t do business together.” Or the cost benefit relationship is going to change. And maybe the cost savings instead of ten percent or 90 percent. And that’s going to have an impact on small businesses wanting to flip over to blockchain.
Mike Blake: [00:04:31] So now, of course, I understand we’re recording this on May 21st, 2020. This likely is not going to be published, I think, until a month later. So mid to late June, if everything kind of holds up. And I understand that everybody here is still, in some way or another, responding to coronavirus. And we’ve published a number of podcasts. I think we’ll do one or two more that talk about specific tactical responses to blockchain. And if you haven’t listened to these, I’d encourage you to do so. We’ve done about five or six of this special episode. And you may find that even now they give you some helpful tips.
Mike Blake: [00:05:16] But a lot of people, whether you agree with it or not – and I know there’s a lot of disagreement out there – are ready, frankly, to put coronavirus behind them and get back to some semblance of normalcy. And I’m not going to comment on whether that’s the right thing or not. I’m not an expert. I can’t tell you whether that’s the right thing or not.
Mike Blake: [00:05:39] But what I do know or, at least, I strongly believe, is that there are a lot of companies that are chomping at the bit to get back to business as usual. To not think about masks, and infection vectors, and vaccine, clinical trials, and constant sanitation, which turns everybody into an OCD patient. But get back to kind of the strategic elements that that make business interesting and stimulating and in some cases fun. And, really, COVID has been fun for, I think, exactly zero people. And so, with respect to this topic, this is sort of a small step in that direction as well.
Mike Blake: [00:06:25] So, I’m well read on blockchain, but I’m hardly expert. And if you’re a listener to this program with any regularity, you know that what we do is we bring in experts. And boy, we’ve got a good one. So, today, joining us is Linda Goetze. Linda is President of the Blockchain Chamber of Commerce. The Blockchain Chamber of Commerce is leading the grassroots effort to bring collaborative connectivity throughout the blockchain ecosystem in order to raise awareness, facilitate adoption, and inspire advocacy for commerce, consumers, and professionals building careers in blockchain technology. Linda, thanks for joining us on the program.
Linda Goetze: [00:07:03] My pleasure, Mike. Happy to be here.
Mike Blake: [00:07:06] So, before I get to the first question, we’re going to have question zero instead of question one because I just thought of something. How long has the Blockchain Chamber of Commerce been around?
Linda Goetze: [00:07:15] We were established the end of 2017. And if you know your blockchain history, that was right at the peak of the hype cycle. And Abraham Xiong actually was the ideator of the Chamber. And he was actually educating about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to people who are coming to classes that he was doing through the Government Contractors Association. And he found that there was a real dearth of good information.
Linda Goetze: [00:07:43] And if you know anything about hype cycles, you know that that’s a lot of people putting out as much noise as they can to get you to look at them and invest in their token, their coin. That was happening in spades in 2017. And because Abe saw that and he was trying to provide quality education to the community that was connecting with him through the Government Contractors Association, he’s like, “Something needs to change. We need to have some trust in source. Some resource base to be able to come to a place for the community to gather.” And that’s how the the Blockchain Chamber of Commerce was born.
Mike Blake: [00:08:20] So, I’m glad you used that term. I didn’t want to use the hype cycle because I didn’t want to, frankly, be pejorative. But I think –
Linda Goetze: [00:08:30] Were very open about it. No worries.
Mike Blake: [00:08:32] But I certainly give – that’s fair. And I think in some ways I wonder if the hype cycle maybe hurt blockchain a little bit because it raised expectations well ahead of where blockchain could reasonably be expected to penetrate industry.
Linda Goetze: [00:08:49] Yeah. The hype cycle is just a natural sequence of events that’s happened in the adoption of just about every new technology. So, it is really part of the adoption cycle. And when you have things hyped up that aren’t true value ads, then, yes, it’s detrimental. Absolutely. But it’s just part of the process. And one of the good things of having a hype cycle and then having, I guess, they called it crypto winter after the 2017, 2018 timeframe it roots out the bad actors. And it shows them for what they are. And then the people that are really doing good things with the technology that continue moving forward and continue building are able to showcase the end result of their work.
Linda Goetze: [00:09:35] And so, the hype cycle is just part of the process of mass adoption. And we’ll have another one, basically, run by the increasing price of Bitcoin that will fundamentally bring a greater adoption. And the goal is to have mass adoption through education. Not through the fear of missing out. Just to share my perspective, we’ve had an issue where fear has been the major driver. And at first, it’s fear of the unknown. People experience that with every new technology. They don’t understand it. They don’t know it.
Linda Goetze: [00:10:16] Remember when people first used credit cards on the internet? Like, “Wow.” You can just read all the commentaries around that, right? But as people got comfortable with it, then you had mass adoption occur. The same thing, we have fear of the unknown with blockchain. And the only thing that has pushed people past the fear of the unknown is the fear of missing out. So, we actually have two fears at play here. And that’s what drives the hype cycle. People see their buddy 10x-ing in their money and they’re like, “I don’t want to miss out on that.” They don’t have a clue about the technology but they jump in. They’re like, “I’m just gonna get my piece of this action.” And that’s been what we’ve seen.
Linda Goetze: [00:10:55] But I believe that education is truly the key to help us go into mass adoption. Not necessarily having to have the fear of missing out being the motivator. Actually, having people educated about what blockchain is, what value-add it can bring to their business, what level of diversification it can help them bring to their portfolio. There’s so many different value-adds and potential pain points that people need to be educated around, so that they can make informed decisions. And we can have a smoother mass adoption cycle.
Mike Blake: [00:11:32] Yeah, in fact, I would speculate – and you tell me if I’m wrong, but I would speculate that when a FOMO or fear of missing out person jumps into blockchain and then it doesn’t work out, as it probably won’t because they don’t really know why they’re doing it or how to maximize the value once they’re in there. That’s even more damaging to the reputation. Because then you have one person and is, “Ah. You know what? I put X number of thousand dollars into blockchain or a cryptocurrency.” We’ll get into that distinction in a second. “And it didn’t work out, the whole thing is vaporware,” which is grossly unfair, right?
Mike Blake: [00:12:08] That’s like saying, “Well, I got into a plane. I sat in the cockpit. And it didn’t go anywhere.” Well, because you don’t know how to fly. But Bombardier is going to take the hit. So, let’s dive in and sort of level set here. Because blockchain, I’m sure to you it’s second nature. But it is a little bit of a complex concept to somebody, especially if they’re not kind of really into technology, if you know what I mean. I’m sure you know there’s nobody better to define this. So, what’s sort of the simplest, kind of easiest layman’s way to convey blockchain and its value to somebody listening to this podcast?
Linda Goetze: [00:12:50] Well, that’s a great question. And I’m going to assume that the majority of people on this call will have heard or participated in, let’s say, a group text. So, you think about you get a group text. And you can look at it. You can see it. You can forward it. But you can’t pretend that something was sent in that group text that wasn’t actually sent. You can’t make one person think that that was – say, you send – like, you take the text and you switch it around and then you send it to someone who was in the group text previously. And say, “Hey, this is really what happened.” They can look back at their previous text and go, “You’re totally spinning this. And that’s not what happened.” Anyone in that group text can validate the actual sequence of messages that were sent in that group text. And you can’t pretend it was any different.
Linda Goetze: [00:13:58] So, that’s a little bit what the value of blockchain is, is you have data and it can be transactions, it can be hashes of songs, or evidence that you are the creator of a piece of content. And once it is put into one of these blocks – and I am going to use a kind of a generalized blockchain because there are literally thousands of different blockchains. And they all have variances in how they function. So, I don’t want anyone to hear what I’m saying and be like, “No. That’s not how the theory of blockchain works.” Because they very well may be right. It may not be how the Bitcoin blockchain works.
Linda Goetze: [00:14:42] But the overarching aspect of what makes blockchain blockchain is that there are a series of blocks where each one has the hash of the previous block in it. And there’s a lot of nuances that can go into that. But if you try to change something in any of the previous transactions, everybody who’s in that group text, everyone that’s a node or a validator on that blockchain can say, “Nuh-uh. That’s not correct. That didn’t really happen.” And your attempt to change the past is invalidated and the blocks continue forward.
Linda Goetze: [00:15:25] One of the things that’s a potential pain point is you can put faulty data in to a block when it is originally formed. Okay? So, when I say faulty data, I’m saying, for instance, with the Bitcoin blockchain, one of the first things that was put on it was an article that was talking about the 2008 meltdown. And you could have had someone, instead of putting something that was real news, put in a piece of fake news. And that fake news would have been held immutably in the Bitcoin blockchain for the last 11 plus years. So, it’s an immutable record.
Linda Goetze: [00:16:06] It is a way for multiple parties to interact with each other without having to know or trust each other. They trust the code and how it works. And they work within the rules of that blockchain. So, I don’t know if that was a good explanation or not. But if you understand a group text and you know that, “Hey, everybody knows what really happened and can look back to see it,” that’s kind of how it is with blockchain.
Mike Blake: [00:16:32] I think the group text is a great analogy, right? Because you can’t erase all the records of history. And that’s really the key is that, there’s no one single point of failure that would enable you to call and to question the veracity of the reliability – yeah – the reliability of the information. It’s just there.
Linda Goetze: [00:16:57] The reliability of the information that it’s there. Not necessarily the reliability of the information.
Mike Blake: [00:17:02] Yes. That is there.
Linda Goetze: [00:17:04] The cool thing about that, though, is it gives a really high level of accountability. Because if you are the one that put that information there and it gets proven out as being false, then you can’t pretend you didn’t put it there. It’s on you. So, it does create a level of trust, and accountability, and responsibility within the ecosystem.
Mike Blake: [00:17:32] So, we talked about cryptocurrencies a little bit, what is the difference between blockchain and cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin? I hear those terms often used interchangeably. And I’m not sure that’s right.
Linda Goetze: [00:17:45] Yeah. One of the first things I learned was that blockchain was not spelled B-I-T-C-O-I-N. And that’s a very important distinction to draw. But the Bitcoin blockchain was the first iteration of something built on blockchain that the majority of people have heard about.
Linda Goetze: [00:18:07] There may be some deep devs that might have heard of blockchain previous to that. But that was the first instance that the majority have been exposed to. So cryptocurrencies need blockchain to function. Like, they function on blockchains. But blockchain as a technology does not require cryptocurrencies to exist or to do its job of having an immutable record.
Mike Blake: [00:18:40] If a dollar is a currency, and then we have the Fed and we have the U.S. Mint, is blockchain more like the Fed or is it like the Mint? Just pick one.
Linda Goetze: [00:18:50] I really don’t want to get political on this answer.
Mike Blake: [00:18:54] Well, no. It’s not political. It’s not a question of what they should do. But a question of what their current function is. Right? I mean, they’re not regulating it. But the blockchain effect really issues it and just sort of keeps track of who has what, right?
Linda Goetze: [00:19:10] Right. The blockchain is just the record. Right? So, you can have a blockchain that one person can take. And issue a billion coins on that blockchain. You can have a blockchain like the Bitcoin blockchain that its design enables a deflationary aspect. So, with the Fed, we have an institution that can print dollars at will. With the Bitcoin blockchain, that’s impossible. The code just mandates that only 21 Bitcoin will ever exist.
Linda Goetze: [00:20:03] And we just had the happening that occurred where the block reward that’s given to minors for supporting the Bitcoin blockchain went from 12.5 Bitcoin every ten or so minutes to 6.25. So, it’s actually a deflationary supply that is being provided over time. And that’s something that is just inversely – I mean, it’s so, I guess, polar opposite is the best way to describe it compared to how we’ve seen the U.S. dollar function and the inflation that has occurred with that. It’s a staggering difference.
Mike Blake: [00:20:53] Okay. So, I think when most people think of blockchain, of course, they think of cryptocurrency as the application. Let’s set that aside for the moment. What are some of the more common applications of blockchain aside from a cryptocurrency?
Linda Goetze: [00:21:12] Yeah. That’s a great question, because we have loads of them. There is, in FinTech, a lot of implementations. And to a certain extent you might say that still includes cryptocurrencies because you’re transferring value digitally, quickly using cryptocurrencies. But those can be stable coins. There’s a lot that’s been done in the financial services sector. So, that’s a huge vertical that has been impacted just by the use of the technology, but also using the cryptocurrency side of things.
Linda Goetze: [00:21:48] In agriculture. we actually just did an event the Chamber hosted where AgriLedger was one of the guests. Gen Leveille, I believe, is the CEO’s name, a beautiful lady. That has just worked with Haitian’s to bring their mangoes to market using blockchain technology. And it doesn’t use cryptocurrency at all. But what it effectively did is took farmers that we’re getting about two percent of the value of their mangoes back to them, to getting 20 percent of the final value of the mangoes back to them. Huge positive impacts. Supply chain is a really huge vertical that we’ve seen fantastic impact through blockchain implementation.
Linda Goetze: [00:22:43] And just going digital with the bills of lading is a really key reducer in cost. And really raises transparency and allows for a lot more seamless interaction between parties that may not know each other well or trust each other. You can have smart contracts in place that just put rules around the transaction that if you don’t meet them, then you don’t get paid. And it’s just built into the code. It’s not something that you have to go chase somebody across the world and try to get your money back or force them to pay you. It’s just executed automatically through a blockchain. So, yeah, those are just a couple of avenues. But there’s a lot that I can talk about.
Mike Blake: [00:23:40] So, what was the mechanism? I’m curious about this Haitian mango trade. What’s the mechanism by which blockchain enable the farmers to capture more of their value? Is it because it took the need away for intermediaries? Is that what happened?
Linda Goetze: [00:23:55] The intermediary aspect of it was huge. Yes, they were able to disintermediate the intermediaries. But yeah, it allowed for the payment to everybody in the supply chain at the time of the final purchase. So, if you can imagine how that is a value add. It also was set up in the smart contract to penalize different parts of the supply chain that didn’t meet the requirements that they were supposed to. And there’s certain, like, temperature and timeframes that are mandated by the FDA in regards to food that can be sold in the U.S.
Linda Goetze: [00:24:36] So, any piece in the supply chain that did not manage the temperature effectively or deliver in a timely manner had a penalty that actually gave back to the farmer directly. So, even if their mangoes couldn’t go to market, they at least got that two percent that they would have made in the traditional flow of supply chains. So, to be able to guarantee that you’re going to get at least your two percent, but then have the potential to get 20 plus percent over, it’s going to change a lot of farmer’s lives.
Mike Blake: [00:25:19] So, where are you seeing blockchain? Again, putting cryptocurrency aside. So, I think this is just sort of a different animal. Where are you seeing blockchain have the most impact in the U.S. or, if you prefer, maybe among your Chamber of Commerce members?
Linda Goetze: [00:25:37] I would point to supply chain. Right now, we have – and this is gonna be showcased probably three weeks before this show comes out. The last Thursday of this month, which is May. We are going to be showcasing DFM Data Corp., which is a member of the Chamber.
Linda Goetze: [00:25:55] And a fun story there, you have Michael Darden, who is the president and CEO of that organization. He’s been a member of the Chamber for about a year. But the story starts back in 2004 when he wrote a patent. And that patent defined digital freight matching. It’s been cited over 100 times and it has – I mean, the Walmart’s, the Uber freight’s, the big boys that are doing digital freight matching now all reference back into that patent. And he wrote it after he actually managed the logistics for Coca-Cola during the 1996 Olympics. So, he has an interesting background in supply chain starting with his work with Coke.
Linda Goetze: [00:26:42] And that coming forward, interestingly, he wrote the patent while working for another company. And because he did, the company held that patent. But right at the time, I was initially meeting him a little over a year ago, that patent was reacquired by Michael. And so, it’s one of those things that at the time that he wrote it, there weren’t even cell phones in people’s cars. And he envisioned a time where every driver would have a digital device that could showcase where they were that could allow them to get information about where they should go to pick up their load.
Linda Goetze: [00:27:23] And blockchain really wasn’t a thing that he was aware of. But what he’s come to recognize – and it was neat being part of the process with him – is that he can use blockchain technology to really bring together a brand new marketplace and facilitate the most efficient digital freight matching. And the numbers that we’ve seen, I think we’re going to be able to see a reduction of about 30 percent of carbon emissions by empty trucks on the roads. So, that’s carbon that shouldn’t be being burned. And having efficient matching of those loads to the available drivers that have the certifications for that specific type of load and have the license for the different states and all of that. Those complexities can be managed by the code. And you can have consistent matching of the most efficient combination of driver, tractor, trailer, load. And, yeah, blockchain enables that.
Linda Goetze: [00:28:23] So, it’s definitely one of those if you want to say, “Where have you seen this potential?” I think that’s one of the biggest areas that you’re going to really see a lot of benefit and value add, both for the drivers, for the companies, and for the environment.
Mike Blake: [00:28:45] So, this is probably an unfair question, but I’m in the unfair questions business. And that is, can you think of an application of blockchain that has surprised you? Maybe somebody has done something with blockchain who said, “You know what? Huh. I don’t think that would be something you’d use blockchain for.” But there they are and they’re kind of making a go of it. Is there anything like that out there that you can think of?
Linda Goetze: [00:29:14] Your listeners can look up SpankChain and have an idea of some of the things that have shocked me.
Mike Blake: [00:29:19] Okay. It sounds like we’ll just leave it at that.
Linda Goetze: [00:29:22] I would. Yes, sir.
Mike Blake: [00:29:25] Maybe not do it from your work computer it sounds like. In your observation, what industries are being disrupted the most by blockchain? I guess supply chain logistics. And if that would be your answer, is there a particular part of supply chain? Is it freight management? Is it something else? What industry is really having to undergo or is undergoing a sharp change because blockchain has come on the scene?
Linda Goetze: [00:29:57] As much as I’d love to point back to the supply chain side of things, because that’s our focus this month at the Chamber. I really have to point to financial services and banks. And the good thing is they have been disrupting themselves. They have recognized what this implementation of blockchain through cryptocurrencies, through almost instant value transfer for not even pennies. Like hundreds of pennies per transaction. They realized that that was going to just what it does, shake up their model of charging.
Linda Goetze: [00:30:40] I’ve heard ridiculous numbers. But you send a hundred bucks, it ends up costing you 30 dollars to get it to where you want it. That just is untenable. When I can take my digital wallet and send it to the digital wallet of anybody in the world in seconds for almost nothing. So, the banks saw that they would be disrupted. And they are also established institutions. They have relationships, they have reputations, some positive, some not. And they realized that they would have to shift.
Linda Goetze: [00:31:18] The majority – it’s very interesting. I think Bank of America probably has the most blockchain patents of any organization I’m currently aware of. And that may have changed since I saw those numbers. But we have a lot of banks that have put a lot of effort into figuring out how they could use blockchain technology for their benefit and for the benefit of their customers. And really try to stay ahead of this adoption cycle, so that they weren’t the ones disintermediated.
Mike Blake: [00:32:00] Is there an emerging application? I’m going to go back, I just want to react It’s interesting how banks – the thing you said how banks have really taken a lead in blockchain adoption. Because they are not known for being the most forward thinking, an industry that’s willing to self-disrupt. So, that’s interesting that they have embraced this. To me, that means that they see that the economics are quite compelling. That has to be it, right?
Linda Goetze: [00:32:28] Well, absolutely. And I mean, the JP story, Jamie Dimon, basically, threatened that he would fire anybody who bought Bitcoin that was on his staff. And then next thing you know, JP Morgan is leading the charge. And the story that I heard was that it was an internal – I think it was a VP that showcased the power of blockchain in some transactions. I believe it was with the Royal Bank of Scotland. And when they saw the reduction in fees that was possible based on making it a blockchain transaction, I think that won over the administration. So, it was a very interesting transition. And now, obviously, they’re leading in a lot of different aspects there and building network.
Linda Goetze: [00:33:17] And yeah, I mean, they saw the writing on the wall against their will in many cases. But you can’t deny that it’s a disruptor. And then, you either just say, “Hey, like Polaroid. We’re just going to keep making this film.” Or you go, “Hey, we’re going to bring out a better digital camera.” So, anyway, I think it’s a good thing. But it hasn’t been an easy road necessarily during this transition time.
Mike Blake: [00:33:53] How important is regulation for a blockchain adoption? And how important do you think it’s going to be? Is widespread – I mean, aside and fair, is increased blockchain adoption going to continue to be led by the private sector in the U.S. just simply seeing the value of adopting it and maybe some customers forcing their providers to adopt it? Or do you think regulation has a significant role to play here?
Linda Goetze: [00:34:23] I think we’re in a really, really interesting time in history. And COVID-19 is playing part of the role of making this even more interesting. But we’ve seen a lot of RFPs coming from government, both on the national and state level. And not just here in the U.S. India, Australia. There’s been a lot of outreach from government into the private sector looking for blockchain based solutions to help deal with the current issues.
Linda Goetze: [00:34:52] That said, there needs to be kind of a catch up done with the regulatory and legislative side of things to make sure that the things that are in place are not going to – I mean, just think about when being able to have a digital signature was a big deal. And was it valid? Would it stand up in court? We’re getting that same stage now with blockchain-based technologies. Is you signing with your private key tantamount to you validating personally and then you’re legally responsible for that? Those are the questions that need to be answered.
Linda Goetze: [00:35:33] And there’s standards bodies. GS1 has been working towards bringing standards to bear our global standards. I think they’re right around now completing the blockchain and supply chain standards. And it’s a process. And because the technology is so nascent and because there’s so many iterations of it, building a standard that actually speaks to all of the possibilities is challenging. And we’re moving in to the graph of things timeframe. And that’s a whole another way of the world working that’s almost going past blockchain and enabling digital agency.
Linda Goetze: [00:36:24] And digital agency is something that another one of the members of the Chamber is bringing to the table. And they have a phenomenal technology stack. Just to give you a quick awareness point, Charlie Northrup is the gentleman that owns the technology stack. And he’s the guy that saw an instance of the internet when it was just in between universities. And his buddy was a professor. Charlie sees this and he said, “That’s gonna be commercialized.” And his buddy is like, “No. Man, this is just how we share research.” Charlie went home and wrote ten patents that defined e-commerce.
Linda Goetze: [00:37:01] And I got to sit at lunch with him a couple of months ago when he was hanging out with the guys who had helped broker the sale of his first patent stack. And one of them said, “Hey, Charlie. Did we tell you about that email we got from the winning broker after the bids got wrapped up?” And Charlie is like, “No. What did it say?” And it was in response to the broker’s request for how much more he could bid. And the email said, “Whatever it takes.” And it was signed Bill Gates. And so, that’s the start point. And the winning bid basically has been what has funded the development of this new technology stack.
Linda Goetze: [00:37:43] And at that same lunch table, Charlie said, “You know what? My current patent stack will dwarf my first one.” And I believe it will. He has a way of approaching digital identity and provisioning people into the digital space, into the digital world, into digital ecospheres and ecosystems that is unique and is empowered by digital agents that are a brand new form of A.I..
Linda Goetze: [00:38:16] So, I mean, it can be spun up on a raspberry pie. This isn’t, like, super complex tech, but it’s 500,000 lines of code that empower his digital agent. And that agent can learn. And it can learn nouns, verbs, and modifiers. And it is going to, I believe, usher in the fourth industrial revolution and empower us, as humans, to actually have agency in the web, in the digital world. And right now, what do we do? We provision ourselves into someone else’s website using a username and password. We get tracked all our activities by cookies while we’re on that site. And then that information that’s gleaned from our activities is then sold to sell us more. And we don’t benefit from that.
Linda Goetze: [00:39:12] I’m really happy that because my daughter searched up something on my phone, I start getting advertising for slime or whatever the little 10, 11 year old thing is that she’s looking at. That’s not the way we should have our data managed, for us as human beings, to be able to take control of our data and be able to provision it at our own benefit to whoever we think it’s most appropriately provisioned to, I think, should be part of our digital rights.
Mike Blake: [00:39:51] We’re talking with Linda Goetze, who is President of the Blockchain Chamber of Commerce. And one thing I want to make sure we get to for this interview is, there’s a concept of a private blockchain and a public blockchain. What are the differences between the two?
Linda Goetze: [00:40:10] Yeah. Private blockchain is nodes are spun up by, say, an institution. It could be – I don’t want to name names – but you guys know the big boys. They can spin up 20 nodes. And they can provision them to other companies that are in their trusted network. And it’s distributed. But it’s not decentralized. So, DLT stands for Distributed Ledger Technology. And that’s blockchain and DLT get thrown back and forth, usually as synonymous but there are variances. So, you have this distributed ledger that is shared by multiple trusted parties. That’s a private blockchain.
Linda Goetze: [00:41:00] And one central entity is responsible for determining the governance of the blockchain. And sometimes that central entity can actually be a consortia. So, there’s a group of companies that are in the decision making process, but it’s centralized. Nobody from anywhere can just tap into it and interact on it.
Linda Goetze: [00:41:25] But a public blockchain does have the capacity for anybody, like for instance, the Bitcoin blockchain. You could spin up a Bitcoin node today if you wanted to participate in the blockchain. You can go purchase Bitcoin on public exchanges. It’s not only reserved for an elite group of people to transact on their specific business implementation blockchain instance.
Linda Goetze: [00:41:59] So, the main difference is, one is publicly accessible and is distributed to the public. And anybody can go and look at the blockchain. So, you can use a block explorer and go see all of the different wallets and how much they hold. And have an awareness of what’s happening on a public blockchain in a way that you can’t unless you’re provisioned into a private blockchain. So, it’s the provisioning into it, who is able to do that provisioning, who has the right to see the data. That’s very different in a public and private blockchain.
Mike Blake: [00:42:38] Are there used cases in small businesses today? And we’ve talked about supply chain a little bit We’ve talked about banks, I don’t think are necessarily small businesses. But the main street kind of businesses that we think of in terms of retail, restaurants, bars, things of that nature, is there a use case or creative firms, consulting firms? Is there a use case for blockchain for firms like that?
Linda Goetze: [00:43:11] There are multiple use cases. And one of the things that we’re seeing in the ecosystem at large is the building out of platforms that are low code or no code. And they’re basically taking the business functions that a blockchain could make better, faster, cheaper. And allowing a small business to take advantage of those functions without having to create their own blockchain, spin up all their own nodes to participate. So, that’s happening more and more.
Linda Goetze: [00:43:44] So, it’s going to be how creative do you want to get. And which of your business processes do you think would benefit from the automation of a blockchain implementation. But for businesses in general, anybody can benefit from starting to engage with cryptocurrencies. Taking payment in cryptocurrencies, paying their suppliers. You reduce costs across the board. You’re not having to pay, possibly, a MasterCard or a Visa one to three percent on every transaction.
Linda Goetze: [00:44:23] It can reduce costs for anybody who’s willing to say, “Hey, I’m interested in starting to explore this. I’m interested in a deflationary currency rather than an inflationary currency. I’d like to diversify.” There’s a lot of ways to approach it. But I believe every business and any human being gets value from diversification. And that’s what I see both the cryptocurrency side of things and the blockchain implementation. It’s diversifying. It’s saying, “All my eggs aren’t in the same basket. I’m not dependent on just one way of doing business. I am making the choice to diversify.” And I think diversification is going to determine our destiny. And that’s as individuals and as companies.
Mike Blake: [00:45:18] So, we’re running out of time. But I have a couple more questions I do want to get to. And one is, in your view – and I’ll bet you see this a lot – how is blockchain most frequently misunderstood?
Linda Goetze: [00:45:38] How is it most frequently misunderstood?
Mike Blake: [00:45:43] Yeah. Is there a common misconception around what blockchain can do or can’t do that you find yourself having to or needing to educate people about?
Linda Goetze: [00:45:54] I think probably saying that it is a trustless way of doing business is something that’s just saying that it’s confusing. But the way that some people take that and say, “Hey, if it’s on the blockchain, it’s immutable and it’s correct.” And it’s like, “No. No. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s correct.” Going back to the example I gave near the beginning around the fake news. If you put fake news on any blockchain, it’s still fake news. And it doesn’t engender trust. And the fact that it is immutable does give a responsibility point to whoever posted it. But it doesn’t make it truth and it doesn’t make it trustworthy. So, that’s something that has been a kind of scratch your head when you hear people talking about that aspect of blockchain.
Mike Blake: [00:47:01] Okay. I think that’s a great point. And I would agree with that. I think that is the most widely misunderstood other than blockchain and Bitcoin being the same thing. I think the other misunderstood part is that because it’s blockchain, therefore it’s true. When, in fact, it’s only as true as the veracity of the data when it was first entered into the blockchain ledger. It was false to begin with. It’s false all the way through.
Linda Goetze: [00:47:27] Yeah. And it’s provable that somebody put it in false.
Mike Blake: [00:47:30] Yeah. That’s right.
Linda Goetze: [00:47:30] And that’s a value add for sure.
Mike Blake: [00:47:32] There is that accountability that you’re talking about, right?
Linda Goetze: [00:47:36] Absolutely.
Mike Blake: [00:47:36] So, there’s no dilution there. Linda, this has been great. There’s more to this topic than we can possibly cover in an hour. How can people contact you for more information?
Linda Goetze: [00:47:47] Yeah. Blockchainchamber.org is our website. The blockchainecosystem.io platform is another one I’d like to welcome all of your listeners to come to. It’s a great place to connect with people. I don’t like calling people experts, but experienced contributors to blockchain technology can be found there. And I would be happy to have anyone reach out to me. I’m on LinkedIn. My name is spelled G-O-E-T-Z-E. So, Linda Goetze. I’m one of the few on there. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding me. So, I would be happy to connect with your audience and the community that’s listening to this podcast today.
Mike Blake: [00:48:30] Well, thanks very much. That’s going to wrap it up for today’s program. I would like to thank Linda Goetze of Blockchain Chamber of Commerce so much for joining us and sharing her expertise with us. We’ll be exploring a new topic each week. So, please tune in, so that when you’re faced with your next executive decision, you have clear vision when making it. If you enjoy this podcast, please consider leaving a review with your favorite podcast aggregator. It helps people find us that we can help them. Once again, this is Mike Blake. Our sponsor is Brady Ware & Company. And this has been the Decision Vision podcast.