Last night, I attended an event for techies and investors called Lead the Future.
The event focused on the topic of the blockchain and the potential it holds for Kiwi businesses.
The folks presenting were mostly developers who are exploring new ways to apply blockchain technology and investors interested in driving New Zealand’s market in the same direction as the explosive market in the U.S.
They think blockchain could be the world’s next big thing.
They were excited… and by the end, so was I.
If you’ve never heard of it… or maybe heard about it, but you’re not quite sure what it is, blockchain is a technology that allows for data to be verified and stored extremely easily.
It uses a mix of math, cryptography, and networking to record things in a reliable and permanent way.
That record is called a “ledger”.
It’s a lot like the ledgers that accountants and business-owners use.
On the 11th, John gave me $5 for a steak-and-cheese pie.
On the 12th, I gave Sara $8 for a coffee.
On the 13th, Alistair paid me $28 for kick-boxing lessons.
For many businesses, these ledgers are extremely long and detailed. It’s easy for mistakes and errors to throw off the results.
That’s why accountants spend a lot of time vetting and re-vetting ledgers. If they were audited, they’d need to prove that everything adds up.
If it doesn’t add up, the accountants order Chinese and settle in for days or weeks of long nights trying to find the mistakes and inconsistencies until it’s correct.
I’ve been there myself, surrounded by piles of financial statements, receipts, and takeaway boxes. It’s hard work… and it feels like a lot of time wasted.
That’s where the developers of blockchain saw an opportunity.
Instead of one accountant, there would be thousands.
They’d all take the pile of transactions and start putting together the ledger themselves.
Eventually, one accountant would stick his hand up and say that he’s finished.
All of the other accountants would stop what their doing and double-check his work.
If they’re all in consensus that it’s accurate, the ledger would be stamped with a seal of approval, set aside, and everyone would start again with a new pile of transactions.
Except with blockchain, it’s not accountants, it’s computers doing the work.
The result is that there’s a growing stack of tamper-proof, verifiable ledgers that anyone can reference at any time.
That stack of ledgers is the “blockchain”.
Quick, reliable, and efficient.
You might be asking yourself, “So what? I’m not an accountant. How is this relevant?”
The answer is that blockchain will soon be integrated into basically every industry and every sector.
At the moment, some of the biggest uses for this technology are in the financial field like currency exchanges, stock markets, and of course, accounting.
Blockchain allows for professionals in these fields to instantly verify transactions with complete confidence. And in a way that all but eliminates the chance of fraud.
The Big Four accounting firms – PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and KPMG – are all incorporating blockchain tech into their new services and business models.
Bill Gates is pouring money into this tech through his Level One Project.
Several governments including the U.S., India, and Australia have begun incorporating blockchain into their data protection systems.
This revolution is coming whether you like it or not.
5 Kiwi Blockchain Startups
So how can you get in on the ground floor and potentially profit off it?
Fortunately, in New Zealand, this technology is just now starting to take off through a few, specialised startups.
For an investor in budding technologies, the timing is perfect.
Here are a few local companies doing amazing things on the blockchain front.
Disclosure: We are not affiliated with these firms in any way, nor do we make any sort of commission.
BitPrime – A cryptocurrency retailer. BitPrime maintains reserves of many of the major cryptocurrencies. Through their proprietary wallet, you’re able to buy and sell crypto coins safely and securely. Visit them here – bitprime.co.nz
NEM – A blockchain platform. NEM took the original blockchain idea and made several improvements and modifications, particularly for business applications like payments, equities, and escrow management. Visit them here – nem.io
Choice – A payment system. Choice greatly reduces transaction fees for Kiwi merchants. Plus, they take half of those merchant savings and donate them to registered charities of the consumers’ choice. Visit them here – medium.com/choicetopay
BlueBlock – An advisory service. Blueblock helps budding blockchain-based businesses with tokens, ICOs and digital asset investments. They’re helping the early movers in this industry get off the ground. Visit them here – blueblock.io
Crypto Launchpad – A multi-pronged blockchain resource. Crypto Launchpad investigates and certifies companies about to launch their ICO. It gives investors the extra assurance that the company behind the coin is who they say they are. They also provide consulting and investment banking for these groups. Visit them here – cryptolaunchpad.io
Don’t be surprised if one or two of these becomes a household name in the next few years.
Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.
Editor, Money Morning New Zealand