How we are using blockchain to put consumers at the heart of social change with innovative vertical SaaS solutions
Sustainability. Accountability. Responsibility.
2023 is seeing the emergence of these trends as far more than just buzzwords. Industries as diverse as luxury (think: proof of ownership for rare and replicable goods, such as diamonds) and finance (think: real-time verification of third party documents) are clued up to the benefits and tuned in to their consumers. The people have spoken: the quality of integrity seems to be as important to their decision-making as the quality of the transaction or product itself.
And unlike some other web3 gimmicks whose popularity may have been fuelled by fads, the practical applications of blockchain have been more widely embraced thanks to real world application of its technology.
Arguably one of its most promising applications is the area of supply chain management – especially when it comes to addressing the issue of trust in relationships and in information. With the rising popularity of vertical SaaS solutions (industry specific software), blockchain is becoming increasingly popular as a core component of industry-disrupting technologies.
At IMS Digital Ventures, we believe that blockchain holds the key to finding solutions that will redefine industry standards when it comes to positively impacting the environment, communities, and – ultimately – our planet. But we’re taking it one step beyond verification and trust. We are empowering brands with invaluable data and building the mechanisms that attract and thrill their consumers. We’ve partnered with bold entrepreneurs across industries as diverse as rare whiskies, diamonds, and organic: always with the vision of building a better future while empowering and engaging end users.
Blockchain: a recap on how it addresses transparency, trust, and authentication
Before we dive in to the specifics, let’s have a mini refresher on how it all works.
The mechanism of blockchain technology is well documented. Blockchain is a digital system for recording information from different parties in a tamperproof way. Think of it as a file in Google Docs. Everyone who the documents have been shared with can access the document, edit it in real-time, view other edits in real-time, and see all the revision history, without being able to hide their own – or anyone else’s changes.
Its technology isn’t exactly new (it emerged alongside bitcoin in 2009), even if we are only now realising the full scale of its disruptive potential for (almost) any industry.
In the case of supply chain management, blockchain promises a convincing cocktail of benefits by ensuring supply chain data is timely, accurate, and trusted. In an IBM study, over 70% of supply chain leaders cited significant improvement in data quality, integrity, visibility and speed by removing human intervention.
The use cases for blockchain as a powerful tool in supply chains are numerous. But it doesn’t stop at information tampering. Let’s look at how we’re using blockchain technology as a foundation for a new standard in consumer engagement and experience.
Blockchain in the luxury industry
The fact that the whisky industry is plagued with counterfeit goods makes for a seamless transition into blockchain technology. Add to that the increasing popularity of whisky as an investment, the mystery surrounding which casks or distilleries to invest with, and how to sell your asset – and the trust, transparency, and traceability blockchain provides is a key competitive advantage.
WhiskyGenius is a company under the IMS Digital Ventures portfolio that facilitates trading of investment-level bottles and casks via a blockchain-driven marketplace. Each NFT on the marketplace represents a physical asset – whether that is a bottle, a right-to-bottle, or a cask. All of the whisky-backed NFTs can be verified on the public blockchain, guaranteeing their authenticity. The digital assets are traded on the marketplace while the physical assets are securely stored in the distillery or warehouse.
From rare whiskies to rare diamonds: how one Belgium company is challenging the world’s best known luxury houses with an industry disrupting business model
A new generation of luxury consumers are more conscious than ever about what their purchases say about them, so imagine if you could offer them an experiential buyer journey that not only empowers them to create positive impact across an entire brand’s ecosystem, but also invites them to be part of product creation.
This is exactly what HB Antwerp has done in disrupting the luxury jewellery industry with Signum Diamonds. Each diamond they sell (rough, starting at 10-carats, and priced at USD 500,000 or more), is sold with an NFT as its digital twin. The NFT documents ownership and proves authenticity.
Blockchain in AgriTech: creating the world’s first 360-degree product ecosystem as SaaS
The longer and more complicated the supply chain, the stronger the case for blockchain. It improves access to information, financial traceability, improves coordination between industry actors, and provides the end consumer with the power to verify the supply chain information for themselves. AgriTech blockchain solutions can also help companies comply with, and communicate that compliance with, ESG commitments.
OrgHive, another tech start-up backed by IMS Digital Ventures, provides ‘farm to fork’ traceability across the entire food value chain with its blockchain solution, OrgChain. It also enables brands to leverage the data recorded on the blockchain to achieve unprecedented consumer connectedness, through loyalty programmes, rewards, personalised marketing, and more.
Blockchain has compelling uses for other actors in the food industry too. It streamlines and accelerates the auditing process for consultants, helping the industry transition from intermittent, manual audits to always-on, automated auditing solutions.
Blockchain AgriTech solutions can also benefit retailers, empowering them with real-time information so they can show shoppers exactly where their produce is being sourced.
2023 has spotlighted vertical SaaS solutions (industry specific software that leverages technology as a service). We believe that blockchain has the power to change how consumers and businesses interact across any industry where trust is essential to supply chains.