The Rise of Blockchain Technology

Jalak Jobanputra, Founder and Managing Partner, FuturePerfect VenturesJalak Jobanputra is a venture capitalist and the founder of Future Perfect Ventures, with over 20 years of experience in digital media, enterprise software, broadband infrastructure, healthcare IT, education technology, mobile, and Internet. She has invested in over 80 early stage companies over the past 15 years, resulting in several multi-billion dollar acquisitions and IPOs. She was recently felicitated with the institutional investor top 35 fintech award for her immense expertise in financial technology. Jobanputra’s venture capital fund, Future Perfect Ventures, invests in blockchain technology and machine learning to enhance the value of decentralized solutions and services.

The Impact of Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology has immense potential in addressing many significant challenges in this era of internet. If one looks at cloud and legacy infrastructures, a lot of it contains loopholes that can be exploited using a simple line of computer code. Now if imagined a ledger, documented across millions of computers connected to the internet; it would be practically impossible to erase or alter the ledger. Blockchain technology, in simple words, is that ledger, having millions of copies of every transaction ever made.

Blockchain in Combination with AI and Big Data

With the evolution of complex machinery, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and theInternet of Things (IoT), most of our daily transactions will be stored online, requiring enormous storage space and stronger security protocols. Thisis one of the main reasons why blockchainisconsidered as the technology of the future.AI and machine learning coupled with blockchaintechnologyensure a swift channel through which security threats can be tackled in real time. Leveraging the unique traits of blockchainand AI, FuturePerfect Ventures focuses on providing a decentralized approach to security applications.

Advantages of the Decentralized Approach

Microsoft, one of the biggest players in offering cloud-based blockchain services, is heavily engaged with a number of companies that I have invested in. If one looks at the financial sector, they are one of the early adopters of blockchain technology. And the reason for that is straightforward: many of the challenges and inefficiencies observed by these financial organizations can be resolved by implementing the blockchain technology. The Australian Securities Exchanges just announced that they were moving from pilot to production to utilize blockchain technology for settlement of transactions.

Tech companies are starting to look at blockchain technology because a centralized model is always susceptible to malware attacks. A decentralized version of the same model takes a peer-to-peer approach, significantly reducing the chances of external infringement.

AI and machine learning coupled with blockchain technology can potentially ensure a swift channel through which security threats can be tackled in real time

This can give rise to new business models for the future. The companies that will figure out ways to incorporate these promising trends into their current business models are the ones that will survive.

Blockchain for Healthcare

The healthcare sector has started taking a closer look at this technology since the last year. For instance, insurance fraud, patient's insurance claiming process, duplicate health records, etc., have probed the industry to look to blockchain tech in order to address the inefficiencies and lost revenue. In the US, healthcare is moving towards the concept of bundled payments, which requires a very close tracking of the services provided by multispecialty hospitals, nursing homes, and home care. The implementation can play a vital role in visualizing the entirety of services offered by the healthcare industry.

The Rise of Cryptocurrencies

In the last few years, we have seen that cryptocurrencies and the underlying technology have taken several strides forward. Adding to that, we have witnessed Bitcoin prices skyrocketing with every passing second; people are looking at it as a potential investment asset. Financial organizations are building private blockchains—that may use pieces of the Bitcoin blockchain technology—without having to depend on the price fluctuations. They are just constructing their blockchains based on different rules which are very different, and hence, cryptocurrency and the underline technology have to be separated out.

Few companies like BitPesa and Abra offer low-cost re-maintenance services using Bitcoin. These companies buy and sell Bitcoin on the back-end, providing a transmission channel to avoid additional costs. In Africa, a single transaction may cost 20 percent extra in fees. However, with Bitcoin, we can bring this down to two-three percent, saving a substantial amount of month for an individual or businesses. Also, blockchain-based transactions are not only trackable but can also be used for micropayments and people can potentially be compensated for their data.

Contextual Knowledge Merging with Technology

Human contextual knowledge is probably the missing link here, which is why some of the successful applications of AI are the ones that operate without consumer-facing elements. If one looks at Siri, many people were frustrated with it, but over time it has improved by adapting to different situations and learning from them. Overtime, we are getting better with the human element and that is why it is essential to have significant data sets to create the right consumer interaction. On a consumer level, people are very different and employing AI to interact with different kinds of people and perfecting this would take some time.

More companies are opening up data sets, APIs, and data sources, creating an environment where more companies have access to data to build some of these models; this is why companies like Google, Facebook, and IBM are the most significant players in general purpose AI as they have more access to data sets. As for start-ups, if they build the right partnership they can become larger players. As a result, vertical AI applications are an area that I am looking at very closely in financial services and healthcare.