On September 10th the Seats2meet team met with and several companies and trend watchers to explore how to make the passport a place where they can offer their services as well, making it even more relevant for users. One of the trend watchers that helps several companies, and is helping us is Jana Petkanic, a blockchain consultant with a technical background who organizes the Blockchain Talks. She gave a fascinating presentation on how we can use the blockchain technology within the S2M passport, and that’s what I will write about today.
Why is Blockchain so disruptive?
Jana started with explaining why Blockchain is such an innovative technology. It all goes down to value transfer. Within value transfer there are three flows: information flow, value (money) flow and product flow. Back in the day we needed a middle man to create the information flow, for example, newspapers, TV Stations or radio. It was a few number of people spreading information to the masses. But that was only until the internet came. Now you have the masses broadcasting to the masses on their smartphones, and the traditional information vehicles are struggling to keep up.
Blockchain will do something similar, but this time for the value and product flows. Instead of needing a bank to transfer your money, you can do it directly. No need to send your money to a bank, and then from the bank sending it to another individual. The same can also go for the product flow. And if the internet already revolutionised the entire way we live by changing only one flow, imagine what Blockchain can do. Almost every market can be affected and will have to adapt. Jana says that as before we had the internet of information, then internet of e-commerce and now we are enjoying the internet of values.
What exactly is Blockchain?
All the disruption and potential of blockchain is something to keep an eye on. But how does it work? In Jana’s presentation you can read that Blockchain is an immutable distributed ledger of transactions performed by the network participants. So let’s translate that. A Blockchain is a distributed network made by nodes, the transactions between those nodes, and the wallet as an interface. So let’s understand them better:
The node is a participant of the network. In Blockchain terminology they are also known as miners. They download a blockchain and because of that they have a backup of it in their computer. For example, if you are a node in the Seats2meet network you also have a bit of it in your computer. And whenever a transaction is made it will check with every node if that is true, if more than 51% of the nodes say something is true, then it is recorded. Because of that a distributed network should have more than a few members, whereas the critical mass depends on the purpose and scale of blockchain, so major players can’t hack it. That is, if someone hacks or “owns” more than 51% of the nodes, then he or she controls the network and everything that goes within it. Which is the contrary thing that Blockchain tries to achieve.
If you only have the Nodes separately, without connecting them, then you don’t have a network where people interact. Nodes can interact between each other. One of such interactions could be a transaction – with cryptocurrency being an asset which can be transacted. If 2 nodes decide to transact, they broadcast this inquiry to the entire network and then more than 51% of the network shall acknowledge this transaction. Once this is done (by using means of mathematical and cryptology tools), transaction is recorded in each and every transaction ledger – same copy of this ledger is they being stored and protected by every node. Within the Seats2meet passport a transaction could be the transaction of social capital, once you help someone with their questions, or when you get matched. All the matchmaking process made by the AI are what connects the “nodes” within the S2M ecosystem.
Nodes and transaction ledgers are all in the background and together create a Blockchain, precise functioning would be a pretty technical article. For you to see the transaction and be able to make them, you need an user interface. The same goes for example with your smartphone. You don’t look at all the electrical parts so you can call someone. You touch numbers and it will make the call for you. That’s the role of a wallet in the Blockchain, and the passport in Seats2meet.
Seats2meet is planing to use blockchain and with that we have to make some important choices. For example, if we create something with cryptovalue (like a Seats2meet cryptocredit), do we want it to have liquidity externally, like the bitcoin which you can sell for dollars? Or do we want to keep it in only inside the ecosystem, like a loyalty program? Which identity model will we adopt? What will our goals for the ecosystem be? If we create a cryptovalue, how many tokes do we create? Those are still open questions for us, but what is your opinion?