Businesses today consider data an promising asset that enables transformation, finding newer models, markets and enhancing customer experience. But traversing this data beyond business boundaries is a complicated maze of incentives, compliances and sheer confusion. KoineArth taps into enterprise blockchain’s core vision—to create network and ecosystems that can traverse information with trust and incentivize the process while at it.
Praphul Chandra, CEO of KoineArth was working at HP and on his PhD thesis ‘how do you bring multiple rational entities together to work towards a common goal.’ Chandra was thinking of applying it on ground. All this while, he had been keeping up with the developments in blockchain and happen to stumble upon a paper on Ethereum Smart Contract. “That’s really where the bulb went off. In late 2016, the ideas and work that I have done in my thesis about aligning the incentives of multiple entities towards a common goal could actually be implemented using this technology,” he says.
While that was where the idea was seeded, it was in mid-2017, where Chandra worked towards its feasibility and saw interesting results which led to incorporating the company in July of 2018. The focus was on supply chain as it was “the perfect fit where multiple entities work towards a common goal,” states Chandra.
Making data a shared asset
The world’s worst kept secret: He who holds the data, holds a treasure. Chandra explains that the fundamental paradigm that blockchain brings around is that you should start thinking of data not as an asset of the enterprise, rather a shared asset in your business ecosystem.
“Often, the data that one company needs are actually owned and controlled by another business partner. For instance, a manufacturing company would love to know how much inventory its supply chain partners are actually holding because that can really help them plan the supply chain much more efficiently, reduce the cost of how much inventory they hold. But this data is not shared between enterprises,” states Chandra.
That is where KoineArth steps in to make the data a shared asset between enterprises. The problem isn’t trivial and definitely not a simple cross over of a file or database dump. The real question though: Why should one company share data with another and what’s in it for them?
The second part of that question dives into several other queries:
-How do you set up the incentive system so that both parties’ benefit? Or is there any other kind of benefit that both companies can derive by sharing?
-Does one company pay the other company for data?
-Who owns the data and does the company have the right to share the data?
-Do you need to maintain for compliance purposes and audit trail of which data was shared with which entity, so tomorrow when the user and consumer consent is required can you actually prove that the consumer consented for this data to be shared?
Therefore, a platform like KoineArth, built on Blockchain offers enterprises to solve this intricate web of data sharing. “We enable the creation of B2B digital ecosystems where multiple companies can come together and securely, privately transact with each other,” says Chandra.
Chandra began with focus on supply chain as the primary focus area “because that is where companies come together to work with each other.” Now in the last six months, Chandra states that he has started thinking more broadly about value chains. “You can also start talking about pure data partnerships where no products are being exchanged and data is the only asset being exchanged.”
Hurdles to cross:
The solution isn’t without its own problems. Chandra divides into three buckets: technological, awareness and deployment.
“As the technology itself is fairly new, building a solution on such a new technology where the talent and the capabilities available in the world is so limited. Whether its India or abroad, there is a general problem that we don’t really find talent on the ground to build a product like this,” Chandra states.
The second one Chandra states is “developing an appreciation in senior enterprises at the right level of stakeholders that this is a digital transformation impact and kind of educating them on what this technology is, why is it powerful and how will it benefit.”
“When we started out in 2017-18, we talked to enterprises. We used to say Blockchain and they used to say Bitcoin. That has changed in the last year and a half. People have started to distinguish between Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies, which is now a clear understanding in senior stakeholders these are two separate ideas.” But the silver lining he believes is people beginning to realize it does have a fundamental role to play when it comes to inter-enterprise collaboration.
The third challenge is deployment. “When it comes to deployment remember that there is an ecosystem play. We need to kind of think both on the softer and the technological aspects of how do you get multiple ecosystem partners to collaborate with each other. Sometimes it is just by the influence of the anchor customer who has enough influence in their supply chain to enable solutions like this.
As a part of what we build, we enable things like supply chain finance and deep tier finance which is like a carrot for the smaller players in the supply chain and value chain, who may not be as tech savvy but by offering them value propositions like access to capital or supply chain finance, we provide incentives to them to join our platform,” Chandra says.
Setting sight on enterprise NFTs:
Chandra’s bet for the future is Enterprise NFTs. “We believe that Enterprise NFTs, a solution we announced a couple of months ago, is really going to have a transformational impact. With product passport you can keep the record of a from the cradle to the grave,” says Chandra.
There are several benefits—environmental and sustainability compliance of such products becomes easy because you can track what was consumed and when was it recycled. Also, it becomes a digital asset, acting as a representation of its physical twin, which can become a way to share data about that particular product.
For example, banks and insurance companies can all share data about that unique product about each other. A luxury good market can also benefit because you can share data about who this product was sold and re-sold to. “The product passport has several implications as we go forward, and as a variant of that, we believe there will be a whole ecosystem of what we are calling enterprise digital collectibles. Now how do enterprises use the power of such digital collectibles to improve the customer experiences, this is another area that we are exploring,” he concludes.