Asset backed Crypto-Investments: The inside story

“You have to think of the Blockchain as a new utility. As in, it is a new utility network for moving value and for moving assets” – William Mougayar, Author.

The future of decentralised cryptocurrencies in the processing of financial transactions for large conglomerates, as well as cross-border payments, seem bleak as fluctuations in the base value of the currencies have started to become a regular norm.

Hence, the ‘Digitized-Currency’ industry has turned its focus towards becoming a more robust structural entity, which has finally given rise to ‘Asset Backed Tokens’.

Apart from fluctuations, certain ICOs and Cryptocurrencies have also started attracting the attention of legislative bodies on the grounds of being fraudulent or opaque. The most recent probe would be by the Korean authorities into an ICO named as Shinil Group, who are claiming to have found the wrecked Russian ship ‘Dimitri Donskoi’ from the early 20th century, with promises of shared profits from the ruins to all the investors.

Homeland Security in the United States has started cracking down on suspicious ICOs, and simultaneously shutting them down if found to be non-complacent in regard to the law. On the other hand, approved cryptocurrencies have proved to be ‘Too Unstable’ for conducting transactions requisite of legal tender. Manufacturing institutions, and similar industries, that work under strict constraints in regard to fiscal cash flow have disregarded the use of cryptocurrencies on the whole. This is due to the fact that the constant irregularity in the fixed price could result in dire consequential financial calamities for either the ‘Receiver’ or the ‘Sender’.

To put this into perspective, say a ‘Sender’ has to transact 50,000 USD using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency to a ‘Receiver’. The sender would have to dispatch approx. 7.71 Bitcoins (at the current market value of USD 6,500 per Bitcoin). The validation time for ‘proof of work’ takes a certain duration of time, and due to the volatility of the bitcoin market, when the transaction is approved the value of the bitcoin could have fallen to USD 6,000 per unit. This would result in the ‘Receiver’ facing a loss of approx. 4,000 USD. And this number only becomes bigger and more painful when the transactions are conducted in the ‘Millions’ and ‘Billions’.

So, to take advantage of the decentralized commodity without being advertently affected by the crypto-inflection, the ‘Asset Backed Token’ was conceived!

The principle is pretty much based on how an economy values its own currency.

When it comes to printing money in a country, there are no stipulations or regulations in regard to how much currency a country can print at once. Yet, countries follow a general principle of printing 3-4% above the national GDP (in multiple denominations). The GDP is evaluated keeping in mind cost of commodities, total resources produced, current fiscal deficit, national gold reserves et cetera.

In a more recent development, certain asset backed tokens are issued against the value of Gold!

In other words, the cryptocurrency is basically a digital representation of the evaluated quantity of gold.

1gm of Gold = 39.93$

 

1 Asset Backed Crypto-Token (Gold) = 10gms (Universal weightage of ‘1 Sovereign)

Hence 1 Asset backed token = 399.3$

This example was provided against the value of gold. Anything that is considered as a ‘Legal Asset’ can be tendered against the value of the crypto-token. Platinum, Silver and even Real Estate are different possibilities being explored in this regard. One such Real Estate Asset backed crypto-token NKD Technologies was present at the World Blockchain Summit in Nairobi, where their CEO Marco Robinson spoke about how asset backed tokens are the future of monetary transactions for business operations.

Other such innovative tokens and technologies will be present at the upcoming World Blockchain Summit Dubai Edition. The event will host over 1,000 delegates, startups, investors and technology experts at the luxurious Jumeirah Estate Towers, Dubai. You can confirm your participation for the event over here.

more insights

A Conversation With Nathan Kaiser, Chairperson of Cardano Foundation Switzerland

Nathan Kaiser is a Swiss-Taiwanese dual-national lawyer protecting and promoting Cardano, the world’s first third-generation blockchain.

One of Eiger’s founders, Nathan has two decades of professional experience in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei and Beijing, advising clients in all matters pertaining to investment, corporate law, commercial trade, employment law and commercial disputes. Nathan also serves as a trustee on the board of companies in Switzerland, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Active in the firm’s intellectual property team for the Greater China region, Nathan assists international clients in their corporate and commercial projects.

Trescon had the privilege of interviewing Nathan Kaiser, speaker at World Blockchain Summit taking place on 25 July 2019 in Singapore.

The Interview

When did you make your first cryptocurrency investment?

(Smiles) I am not an investment advisor, and like others, I have lost a shirt or two and won a shirt or two. My first investment was in a regulated bitcoin exchange in New York. As you can imagine, that didn’t really work out – even if from the outside, it was made to look like an exit… Generally, I look at the team first and overall. People matter.

For how long have you been working on your project and what attracted you to it?

I joined the Cardano Foundation as a Chairperson last December 2018. However, I have been with the project before that. I have been working with Input Output HK (IOHK) for several years already. As the Chair of the Foundation, my mission is to protect and help to develop the Cardano ecosystem in a transparent and decentralized way. Our main mission is to drive adoption.

One aspect of developing the ecosystem is to build a decentralized global community with the Cardano Ambassador program. We launched it last December and appointed the very first group of ambassadors in January. Currently, we have a total of over 40 ambassadors with four different roles: meetup organizers, moderators, content creators and translators. The communications and community team has been building mutually beneficial relationships with our dedicated Ambassadors. And with their help, we have been able to better manage and promote our global community across the world.

This is only the beginning: we aim to broaden the program’s appeal with additional role, and generally add bells and whistles, allowing for deeper interactions between the community, the Ambassadors, and the Foundation: The Foundation is at the stage of soon launching the second phase of the Ambassador program with better features that help the community to develop the ecosystem with the Foundation’s support.

Additionally, the Cardano Foundation has been expanding the team by bringing in new talents for operations, PR and communications, community management and legal functions. We are looking forward to growing our community and keeping it updated with regular news and engaging content.

Have any previous experiences helped you navigate the challenges in the crypto and blockchain industry?

Law can both be a massive impediment, as well as a fantastic driver. Cars and road transport was only really taking off after the rule that vehicles should stick to one side of the road. Seriously, this really helped. And in that sense my having been involved in the area of law with regard to bitcoin first, then cryptocurrencies, knowing the relevant players, and how to navigate cliffs, who has been rather useful.

What sets your project apart from the competition?

Cardano project is developed based on the rigorous scientific background, including academic peer review. Based on this peer-reviewed academic research, Cardano has an ethos of openness and transparency. Further, formal specification is something we are proud of. They say “space is hard”, but trust me and the engineers at IOHKJ – so is formal specification…

The Cardano project has released Plutus and Marlowe – functional contract platforms that will ensure the correct execution of your smart contracts. Specifically for Marlowe, with its browser-based contract editor and simulator, you do not need programming expertise to design your smart contract.

Plutus provides an execution platform and functional programming language that runs on the Cardano settlement layer and provides considerable security advantages. It delivers an easier, more robust way to show that your smart contracts are correct and will not encounter the problems found in previous smart contract language design.

Marlowe is a new language for modelling financial instruments as smart contracts on a blockchain. It has been designed for people who are business engineers or subject experts rather than experienced developers.

Taiwan is the next major crypto market!

Asia’s seventh largest economy Taiwan has put ahead a beneficial regulation for crypto and Blockchain companies, as the government identified the potential of Blockchain technology in supporting the economic growth of the country.

Taiwan: The Next Big Market

The government of Taiwan has not drafted or passed any official legislation regarding Cryptocurrency and Blockchain regulation. However, led by Congressman Jason Hsu, Government officials and leading Cryptocurrency companies built the Taiwan Crypto Blockchain Self-Regulatory Organization (TCBSRO) to establish quality industry standards and methodologies.

Taiwanese government officials have taken an early strategy to self-regulate the local Blockchain sector in order to make the means of regulating the market for the government more efficient.

For many years, Taiwan was criticized by the International Technology Sector for the absence in regulations for the FinTech markets. Unlike Japan, which recognized its weakness in the area of FinTech and innovative technologies, the government of Taiwan has strived to adopt relevant and disruptive technologies.

But the approval of the Financial Technology Innovations and Experiment Act, that permits crypto startups to function for years without regulatory risks, marked the initial major step towards practical regulation in country’s Financial Services sector. It may even speed up the process of passing a potential decentralised ledger based regulatory framework in the near future.

Jason Hsu, the crypto-supporting congressman of Taiwan, has held conventions with the largest companies in the global Cryptocurrency sector, including Binance, to guarantee that the local Cryptocurrency sector can proceed to grow at a speedy rate with the approval and assistance from the government.

Crypto will help Taiwan

Japan and South Korea, the second and fourth largest economies in Asia, have witnessed exponential development in their own industries, essentially due to the implementation of friendly regulatory frameworks.

As NewsBTC earlier reported, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) has recently extended its crypto team to guarantee it can meet the increasing demand for Cryptocurrencies by local businesses.

Moreover, as Leo Lewis, a Tokyo Correspondent for FT in Japan reported, Nobuchika Mori, Japan’s longest-serving finance minister and a regulator at the FSA, has proceeded to call for open-minded regulations in the crypto-finance sector.

Lewis also commented saying that Mr. Mori knew that Japan’s financial sector was collapsing in IT, FinTech, Blockchain and other potential digital industries. Faced with an emerging sector that had already captured the vision of the Japanese public, it must have been tempting to overlap on to cryptocurrencies along with a load of pre-existing national ambitions centred on tech start-ups, FinTech and the promotion of more retail cash for circulation around the system.

Analysts expect the efforts of all the major economies in Asia, like Japan and South Korea, in standardizing regulatory frameworks will help countries like Taiwan and India along with other developing countries to set their stance on this disruptive technology.

Trescon is organising the World Blockchain Summit in Taipei on 25th-26th of April 2019. The summit will feature Jason Hsu as a speaker, who will share his insights on the ongoing tug-o-war, for the legislation of digital assets, which taking place in Taiwan. To know more about the event and witness other key industry leaders speak,  click here.

Tokenizing Economies of the World

The birth of blockchain has sparked a new wave of thinking in innovation and technology, disrupting traditional systems of business economics. The advent of these emerging technologies is reshaping the world’s socioeconomic landscape by streamlining the entire information network paradigm. Today, with a market capitalization of close to US$ 2.2 Billion, there are over 100 projects that are betting on this technology’s equation.

One of these emerging technologies that blockchain underpins is tokenization. The concept of tokenizing assets in blockchain is just about gaining traction around the world but at a steady pace. So what is tokenizing and what’s in it for us in the future years to come?

Tokens vs Coins

The term tokenization in broad sense has multiple interpretations which often confuse people, but, when applied to blockchain, tokens are units used to denote a certain value of an underlying asset. Often times the terms tokens and coins are interchangeably used to refer to digital assets within the cryptocurrency community. Hence, at the very outset, it is rather important that we establish the difference between a coin and a token with respect to its modus operandi. Although tokens work like digital cash, they have a wider functionality and use case.

Coins are cryptocurrencies that independently operate on their own blockchain platform or distributed ledger, example Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple Litecoin etc. On the contrary, tokens work on another platform such as Ethereum to exist and operate. In other words, tokens are digital assets that leverage an existing coin’s blockchain network. Some examples of tokens are Omisego, Golem and Augur. With this we can safely settle the clear distinction of a token from a coin, in that, cryptocurrencies that run on an auxiliary platform namely Ethereum are not coins but rather tokens, and tokens perform similar functions as coins but they are also used to represent digital assets.

Tokenization of Assets

Tokenization of an asset refers to the process of attributing a certain value to represent that asset in the form of a token. For example, a person may purchase a certain portion of real estate using tokens via a smart contract, and as a result of this purchase, these tokens give the holder a certain fraction of rights to the property. Much like a coin it can be used as a means to trade, pay or even transfer value within the blockchain ecosystem, however, for the specific purpose on which they are designed, tokens hold the advantage of gaining value, beyond the intrinsic value that coins offer, for the reason that they are backed by a wide range of assets, such as shares, bonds, real estate or even paintings. So how is this beneficial to us? Why has tokenization of assets been gaining such popularity in the past few years? And how is it going to change the future for economic development?

Building Token Economies

Tokenization essentially means conversion of any asset into a digital token. This means that when you trade a token, you are also trading the asset that is backing that particular token. The alluring characteristic of a token is that it can be used to account for exchange or validation of any form of asset by attributing a specific value. These assets can be gold, shares, property, energy or even the number of likes a person has on social media. Tokens represent a democratised participation of rights through a decentralised web network for the reason that anyone or everyone has the right to access digital tokens. Be it an investor, farmer developer or even a taxi driver. This feature of a holistic functionality and utility that tokens entail is what is impelling nations to build token economies.

Thus, the catch here is that tokens are generic and fungible in nature as they can be used to assign values to broader concepts such as social capital, natural capital and cultural capitals, in that it is more generic in nature as against monetary currencies. In a broader sense, tokens can be used to express social values, which monetary currencies fail to do.

 

As newer technologies try to find its ways to penetrate and break through its relevance across the globe, Dubai is vehemently embracing blockchain technology for multiple applications. Termed as the “Blockchain Capital” of the world, Dubai seems to be receptive and raring to go on new technological prospects that blockchain entails, much like the concept of tokenization. With more and more countries providing avenues to host summits for blockchain solution providers to advocate the relevance of tokenization today, the adoption of a tokenized economy is following a similar trajectory.

Dr Habib Al Mulla, chairman of Baker McKenzie said “Investing in asset-backed tokens is less risky. This is because the asset-backed tokens are supported by tangible, underlying assets that have an intrinsic value, such as company shares or even property”. He further said that regulators in financial free zones are already being receptive to digital payments.

However, needless to say, everything has its pros and cons. From a regulation and adoption standpoint, there is still a great deal of inhibition that needs to be broken among early adopters, regulators and the general public, to see through the potential significance of this tokenized economy. Regulators are trying to wrap their heads around this new technology and it is only a matter of time till we see a full-fledged consensus-driven system that is transforming real-world assets via tokens.

Tokenization has the potential to put an end to the notorious divide between capitalists and workers, by achieving goal congruence, in that individuals in an organization are driven by the value of a single token ecosystem through maximum participation.

“UAE can become the next Wall Street,” says Nick Spanos at World Blockchain Summit in Dubai

Dubai’s third edition of WBS saw more than 50 solution providers from the blockchain and crypto space gather under one roof to stimulate business opportunities through collaborations in the UAE. The summit hosted top speakers such as Suresh Prabhu, Nick Spanos, Mru Patel, Dr. Marwan Alzarouni and Emin Sirer among others.

Wednesday, 06 November 2019 (Dubai): It was 30+ hours of unconventional networking at the 13th global edition of World Blockchain Summit in Dubai on 22nd, 23th and 24th October. With the conference floor swarming with over 650 attendees that included top blockchain and crypto pioneers, industry experts, investors, solution providers and startups, the 3-day tech innovation festival was driven by the idea of Dubai’s vision to continually explore and evaluate the latest technology innovations by promoting more blockchain and crypto-related investments in the UAE.

As an exclusive strategic partner for the conference, Dubai’s third leg of WBS was organized in collaboration with LEAD Ventures. The summit was attended by the Chairman himself, H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Abdullah Bin Sultan Al Qasimi and his delegation, Mohamed Al Banna, CEO & Managing Director and Faris M. Al Tahtamooni, Associate Director – Strategic Partnerships, LEAD Ventures. The partnership synergy which was to create more investment opportunities in the UAE through collaborations with selective companies saw more than 50+ solution providers gather under one roof to stimulate business opportunities.

Top speakers for the summit included Suresh Prabhu, India’s Sherpa to G7 and G20 and former Union Minister for Commerce and Industry; Emin Sirer, CEO for AVA Labs, Inc; Mru Patel, President of EXcoin Futures; Dr Marwan Alzarouni, CEO of Dubai Blockchain Center and Sir Anthony Ritossa, Chairman for the Ritossa Family Office to name a few.

Early pioneer of Blockchain Technology and keynote speaker for the summit, Nick Spanos said, “There is a lot of hope in Dubai for bitcoin and blockchain enterprises because the government seems to be working with the industry. I believe that if they keep going the way they’re going, the emirates can become the next Wall Street.”

Business visionary and serial entrepreneur, Mru Patel who has been at the forefront of disruption for the last twenty-five years, presented a case study on the future of Stablecoin. In his tech talk, he added, “At least fifty per cent of the world’s retail banks and a lot of the traditional small exchanges will disappear. Three years on and we’re seeing that consolidating. Today, not many of us carry paper. What blockchain is doing is trying to enable this very fast.”

The UAE is considered as a number one destination for innovation in the GCC region. World Blockchain Summit also provided 20 startups a platform to exhibit their innovative capabilities in front of global investors at the Pegasus Tech Ventures Startup World Cup regionals. QUUBE Exchange, a company that offers the first & only quantum resistant ecosystem for the Crypto World won the pitch slot at the 2020 Startup World Cup in San Francisco. They will now get an opportunity to network with startups and investors at the Grand Finale of the Startup World Cup and pitch QUUBE Exchange for a US$ 1 Million investment prize.

World Blockchain Summit – Dubai 2019  was officially sponsored by Platinum SponsorFuture1ExchangeGold SponsorsMasrshal Lion Group, and 2LocalBlockoBadge SponsorQUUBE ExchangeLanyard SponsorEXcoin; Silver SponsorsTecraCoinSynchroBit Hybrid Exchange and Electroneum Ltd;  Bronze SponsorsBlock 30 Labs and KaruschainPitch PartnersGLBrainBe FasterStibitsProperSix The Prestige Network and BabyToken

Exhibitors include: Bitcrore Foundation, DigiXHubPayment PorteFinwin TechnologiesOsiz TechnologiesTRON-EuropeF4MASExLabuan IBFCFinesse,  Encores Technology Holding LLPBeldex International Limited OÜVectorium,  ChainUPMediLiVesBitherXDVMarketplace and TradeStars

Association PartnersGovernment Blockchain Association (GBA) and Kartblock

Strategic PartnerThe Franck Muller Geneve

Supporting Partner: Truong Thanh Japan (TTJ)

About Trescon

Trescon is a global business events and consulting firm specialised in producing highly focused B2B events that connect businesses with opportunities through conferences, expos, investor connect and consulting services. For more information visit: https://www.tresconglobal.com.

For further details about the announcement, please contact:

Rahul Harindra
Corporate Communications Manager [email protected]
Tel: +91 080 4611 3911

Should You Attend A Virtual Conference During COVID-19?

As the blockchain and crypto community moves online, it’s important that we learn to love virtual conferences and make the most of them.

I must admit, there is something special about a live conference. Some of the best proposals and projects that we’ve encountered have probably come from random interactions with people at conferences.

The buzz of a venue teeming with delegates eager to network, exclusive luncheons & after-parties, the silent appreciation that follows an inspirational keynote and tons of user-generated content as attendees snap pictures and share them on social media.

Conferences have proven invaluable to ICO’s/ IEO’s & STO’s worldwide. No matter what your business objective, conferences have had it covered. As the crypto world prepared for a promising 2020, something unprecedented happened – COVID-19. It crumpled the fabric of financial normalcy and it looks like the things aren’t going to change anytime soon.

But does it mean letting go of all the benefits of a physical conference?

I don’t think so.

Virtual events are an excellent opportunity for everyone in the industry to come together during these difficult times. Affordable and virtually accessible events are the need of the hour.

Let’s look at some virtual events that have proven very beneficial for the crypto community in 2020.

Blockdown 2020: a revolutionary virtual event that incorporated 3D & VR technology to mimic the feel of a real conference! It also featured some of the biggest names in the blockchain space, including the likes of Akon (AKOIN) Roger Ver, Changpeng Zhao, Alex Machinsky and many more industry heavyweights that need no introduction.

Another virtual event that raised the bar was Consensus Distributed. It featured over 300 speakers and over 5 days of content – all streamed live & free for a massive global audience. Again the benefits far outweighed the drawbacks, with a stellar line-up of experts including Vitalik Buterin, Adam Back, Joseph Lubin, Antony Lewis and more…

Virtual Blockchain Conference 2020 had a great message of advancing blockchain adoption and education globally by streaming live blockchain implementations in supply chain, banking and finance, government & healthcare industries.

So why should you attend a virtual conference? These are unprecedented times after all…

Because all the heavy lifting is already done for you.

A global audience, face to face networking sessions, secure & private meetings, investor connects & private get-togethers designed specifically to help you interact meaningfully with the crypto ecosystem. You just need to login and turn up from whichever part of the world you are in right now.

It’s a win-win for everybody – hours of high-quality sessions, zero travel costs & travel restrictions, an unparalleled line up of speakers that would have not been possible to gather at a physical conference & the opportunity to network with a global audience.

Think about it. You’ll be spending less than your monthly CRM budget and lead generation costs and be exposed to an ocean of networking possibilities. It’s all the benefits of a real conference and then some more.

If you’ve missed the above events you should definitely consider the following*

World Blockchain Summit is a well-known name in the blockchain & crypto world. Having hosted multiple conferences across the world, it has proven itself as the quintessential blockchain event. It’s consistent lineup of industry experts & well thought of agenda has had attendees coming back year after year.

WBS Asia – 2020 is no different. It features one of the best speaker lineups seen thus far in 2020. Changpeng Zhao, Tim Draper, Don Tapscott, Dr Ben Goertzel and Charlie Shrem are scheduled to be joined by over 30 industry veterans.

 

The online event will also feature live keynote speeches, fireside chats, panel discussions in addition to tier-one media publications, crypto investors, ICO’s, STO’s & tech journos.

World Blockchain Summit – Asia will feature hours of high-quality content, live Q & A, interactive polls and more.

To get involved, head to https://asia.worldblockchainsummit.com/ or join the exclusive telegram community to know more.

Blockchain Summit London is another great event focused on blockchain for business. The summit boasts of 200+ speakers & 1000+ professionals coming together to discuss the impact and opportunities of blockchain and distributed ledger technology on business.

Paris Blockchain Summit – 2020 is a great event if you are looking at blockchain in Paris & Europe as a market. PBS 2019 had a stupendous lineup of speakers and supporting partners and their upcoming 2020 edition is looking to exceed expectations. Bruno Le Maire, Changpeng Zhao, Dr Jutta Steiner, Meltem Demirors and more will be joined by over 130 speakers and experts.

Well, that’s about it for now!

What’s your take virtual events? Have you recently attended an event that changed your perspective?

Help the community. Let us know in the comments 🙂

 

*Disclaimer: Trescon is not responsible for the views, suggestions and opinions expressed here, ensure due diligence before participating in virtual events.

Thailand establishes its vision of becoming the next Blockchain force at Trescon’s World Blockchain Summit

WBS Bangkok saw the participation of 300+ regional and international blockchain and crypto experts who came together to assess Thailand’s blockchain ecosystem. Top speakers for the summit included Prinn Panitchpakdi, Deputy Leader & Head of Economic Team, Democrat Party; Mike David, Chief Fintech & Virtual Currency Officer, Spokesperson, (CEZA); Topp Jirayut Srupsrisopa, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Bitkub Capital Group Holdings Co., Ltd and Board of Director for Thai Fintech Association and Felix Mago, Co-Founder of Dash Next & Dash Thailand among others.

Thursday, 05 December 2019 (Bangkok): The 14th global edition of Trescon’s World Blockchain Summit debuted in Thailand yesterday with over 300 crypto enthusiasts in attendance. After covering five countries this year, the global blockchain and crypto conference extended its footprints in one of South East Asia’s most active crypto markets for the first time. WBS Bangkok saw the participation of regional and international C-level executives, blockchain and crypto pioneers, industry experts, investors, solution providers and startups who came together to discuss the current and future trends in blockchain and its significant impact on Thailand’s digital economy. The conference took place after Trescon’s Startup Grand Slam Pitch Competition that brought together leading early-stage startups for a live on-stage battle for the most innovative ideas in the emerging tech space. BabyToken – a cryptocurrency and a blockchain ecosystem created by one of the most popular healthtech apps in the world – Pregnancy Tracker was the winner of the pitch competition. The summit also hosted an honorary award ceremony to felicitate EXW Wallet  as the Best Wallet of 2019 along with the Best Blockchain Entrepreneurs Under 30 namely, Benjamin Herzog, Founder; Manuel Batista, CO–Founder and Pirmin Troger, CO-Founder/ CNO of EXW Wallet.

WBS Bangkok had a cohesive agenda that essentially explored multiple facets of blockchain and cryptocurrency in the global context and for Thailand’s blockchain ecosystem. One of the major topics of discussion at the conference included the global outlook for 2020. While talking about the legal and regulatory landscape in Asia and Thailand, Kullarat Phongsathaporn, Partner at Baker & McKenzie Ltd added, “We’re likely to see more regulations globally in the digital asset world. This is a good sign, in that it is creating a real impact and more traction, so much so that the regulators are really active. We need a holistic direction from the government, so next year we can expect more synchronization from regulators.”

The conference also featured a real-time live polling debate on Blockchain being a foundational layer to create trust within enterprises. The panellists included Felix Mago Co-Founder of Dash NEXT & Dash Thailand; Cris Tran, Regional Head, Managing Director of Infinity Blockchain Ventures and Managing Partner for Asia Blockchain Review; Clayton Roche, Country Ambassador for Maker DAO; Jorge Sebastiao, CTO of EcoSystem, Huawei and Joeri Van Geelen, Managing Partner APAC for Prysm Group as the Moderator for the debate. Interestingly, the poll result confirmed a favourable response from the audience towards working blockchain in the enterprise space.

#WBSBangkok 2019 was officially sponsored by Strategic Partners, BitkubDash ThailandPrysm Group. Platinum Sponsors, Future1ExchangeSimbcoinStartup Studio; Gold Sponsor, ACO Platform, Silver Sponsors, Synchrobit Hybrid Exchange, Wink Pay, Synchro LedgerPik ChatCoinKeeper Pte LtdOpu Labs, IncRelictum Pro; Pre-event Party Sponsor, Hustle Token Pitch Partners, ProperSix LtdBabyTokenBitcrore FoundationBeFaster,  Bullionblock Ltd,; Exhibitors, Beldex International Limited OÜCryptoknowmics, Game of Tron and ecxx.com

Association Partners, Thai Fintech Association and DAFEX

About Trescon

Trescon is a global business events and consulting firm specialised in producing highly focused B2B events that connect businesses with opportunities through conferences, expos, investor connect and consulting services. For more information visit: https://www.tresconglobal.com.

For further details about the announcement, please contact:
Rahul Harindra
Corporate Communications Manager
[email protected]

Tel: +91 080 4611 3911

Digital Transformation of Agriculture – Seeds in the womb of time

Eleventh Monthly Column on Digital Transformation

Background

The first green revolution of India started from mid 1960s mainly because the rate of growth in agricultural harvests could not keep pace with population growth. The revolution was predominantly driven by the ultimate objective of achieving self-sufficiency in food and contributing to mitigate shortage elsewhere in the world. India adopted high-yielding varieties of seeds. Government’s initiatives gradually helped farmers with improved availability of irrigation facilities, fertilisers, and insecticides. This was followed by limited mechanisation of cultivation using tractors, pumps, deep tube wells, and other low-end devices for harvesting, etc.

 

The process of green revolution continued with contributions from various research work for cross breeding of plants and seeds, all weather farming of erstwhile seasonal crops and vegetables, improving soil testing, manure applications farming techniques, etc. Farmers now grow many crops, vegetables and fruits of western origin which were never grown in India just about two decades before. Another revolution joined the march, and that was white revolution.    

  

But even after seventy-three years of independence, Indian farmers are deprived of the rightful price for their harvests, because of too many intermediaries. Their produces are subjected to adulteration, contamination, wastage, and spoilage due to unscrupulous traders and non-availability of affordable storage, supply chain and cold chain facilities. Reliability of harvest cannot be established due to lack of quality-based gradation and traceability to the origin of farmland and farmers.

 

Farmers in India do not have easy access to technical advisories and services related to weather conditions, soil testing, crop scouting, etc. They do not get right quality and quantities of inputs such as seeds, fertilisers, etc. at the right prices and at the right time. Last but not the least crop loans from banks and insurance for coverage against perils of nature are also not available without pains and hurdles. These situation for agriculture and agriculturists may not be much different in many underdeveloped and developing countries.

 

Objective

The predominant objective of this paper is to ideate a comprehensive digital solution which can address the above issues and mitigate miseries of farmers who grow food for all but do not get rightful rewards for their hard work. The author would like to contribute in his limited way towards making this journey for digital transformation joyful and rewarding from the perspectives of all stakeholders and particularly for marginal farmers. The proposed solution with limited modifications would also be able to mitigate similar miseries in areas of horticulture, animal husbandry, fruit orchards, sericulture, etc.

 

Industry 4.0 and Agriculture

Agriculture contributes about 15% to Indian GDP. According to a recent estimate of ILO around 42% of Indian working population is engaged in agriculture. Most of these farmers belong to lower middle and marginal category. They do not get the rightful return against their hard labour.

 

But the present scenario is different in industry and service sectors. The entire world has entered the era of fourth industrial revolution which is essentially driven by digital transformation. In about a decade’s period many Goliaths have been disrupted and ‘destrupted’ by ‘startupian’ Davids powered by digital tools and applications. India is no exception to that, albeit at a slower pace. According to Venture IntelligenceW1 presently there are about 30 Unicorn in India and many more ‘Soonicorns’ are in the race. The bigger question is whether digital transformation of agricultural activities is possible? Can agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors of the economy collaborate and integrate their platforms to ensure for farmers the rewards they rightfully deserve?

 

Economic TimesW2 reported in July 2020 that, “Surprisingly, tech companies and startups see an opportunity to upgrade around $400 billion Indian agriculture sector. There are 896 agri-tech startups providing tech tools for pre-harvest, post-harvest and during plant growing periods, according to Tracxn data as on July 1. They have attracted $560 million of venture funding, most of it in the last three years. In two years, according to Maple Capital Advisors, agri-tech ventures will attract another $500 million.” This report indicates that the process of collaboration for digital transformation of Indian agricultural sector has already started and is gaining momentum with considerable quantum of money being invested. However, there is a need for an integrated approach.

 

ICT and Agriculture

The process flow of agricultural activities from sowing seeds to reaching harvests to ultimate consumers generates considerable volume of multi-faceted data by different stakeholders from different locations. Successful digital transformation involves a great deal of automated processes for timely collection of relevant data, safe storing, and meaningful analyses. The imperatives are to draw inferences from the outcomes of data analytics, strategize plans, and initiate timely actions for maximisation of value creation and minimisation of value destruction with due transparency. Therefore, use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is foundational requirement for solving problems for all stakeholders directly or indirectly engaged in agricultural activities.

 

This has been observed and concluded by many research scholars. Walter et al. (2017)B1 concluded that, “The use of data and information becomes increasingly crucial for the agriculture sector to improve productivity and sustainability. ICT substantially increases the effectiveness and efficiency of collecting, storing, analyzing and using data in agriculture.” Kaddu and Haumba (2016)B2 observed that, “ICT allows agricultural practitioners and farming communities to easily obtain update-to-date information and thus make better decisions in their daily farming.”

 

Post the above two research-based conclusions, digital technologies have brought in manifold improvements in automated processes for data collection, analytics and problem-solving capabilities. This is more so when there are simultaneous applications of Blockchain, IoT, Drone, AI, ML, Edge Computing, etc. in different combination(s) befitting the problem(s) to be solved in isolation or combinations.

 

The following part of this paper has been written in the form of an ideated use case for designing comprehensive solutions of those problems, as briefly delineated above, faced by various stakeholders in the life cycle of a crop. Efforts would be for further orchestrating splintered efforts by stakeholders in the value chain and improve collaboration with trust, transparency, privacy, information safety and security.

 

Kishan Blockchain for Digital Transformation of Agriculture

Blockchain has already been established as one of the most safe, immutable, transparent, and reliable technologies for conducting commercial and non-commercial transactions.  The Author in some of his previous columns in this Journal has written about Blockchain which is also synonymously known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Additionally, readers can also refer one of his published papersB3 or watch his video recorded Master ClassW3 for gathering brief application-oriented knowledge on Blockchain.

 

While ideating structural design, operating propositions, and applications of Kishan Blockchain Platform, hereinafter referred as KBP, for digital transformation of agriculture the author has made efforts to plug in certain other digital tools and devices to render the solution comprehensive. At the user end KBP is to be positioned as a simple ‘App’ that can be handheld using a smart phone, iPad, or laptop / desktop computer, etc. The front-end can be presented in any vernacular and user-friendly icons, with toggle switch for change of language. The administrator for the KBP should arrange training for farmers and other participants

 

Stakeholder Participants for KBP  

The very first of objectives for digital transformation of agriculture should be to bring the following stakeholders under one umbrella of a KBP:

  1. Cultivators – Farmers and their associates, who in course of time may be assignees for all rights, assets, and liabilities of the farmers.
  2. Government Agencies – Officials of Land Registry, Jila Parishad to Gram Panchayet (Local self-government from district to village level), Block Development Office, irrigation, and meteorological departments.
  3. Input Vendors – Seed processors, manufacturers of farming equipment, pumps, fertilisers, pesticides, and insecticides, digital devices like drones, IoTs, sensors, etc.
  4. BFSI Players – Banks, financial institutes, insurance companies, factors, etc.
  5. Service Providers – Agricultural scientists, supply chain and cold storage operators, soil scientists, etc.
  6. Customers: Government, organised retail chains, food processors, hotel chains, eCommerce players and co-operative marketing federations    

It will be a challenge to incorporate all narratives for systems architecture and business requirements (BR) for designing and writing software for KBP. However, some of the new and critical aspects, which are unique requirements for a KBP has briefly been narrated in the following sections.   

   

Administrator for KBP

KBP, being a nation-wide initiative for digital transformation of agriculture, can be administered and oversighted by a National Council like GST Council. Digital scientists can be co-opted as members of this Council. While discharging its roles and responsibilities for policy decisions and oversight, the National Council may decide to handover responsibilities to a professional IT organisation for developing, scaling up and maintaining the KBP on its behalf.    

 

Nodal Structure for KBP

Scaling up of any blockchain platform is one of the major challenges for software architecting, designing, and coding team. Accordingly, several options can be considered for structuring one or more KBPs bearing in mind that data collection, analytics and oversighting can be performed both at state and national levels. This is necessary for framing strategies and policy decisions for agriculture sector, and timely dissemination of technical and commercial advisories to farmers. The following options and operating features may be considered:

 

1. Blockchain with DTL Nodes for the following stakeholders:

  • District > Jila Panchayet > Block > Gram Panchayet > Farmers’ Cooperative > Farmers and other stakeholders

Or

  • State > District > Jila Panchayet > Block > Gram Panchayet > Farmers’ Cooperative > Farmers and other stakeholders

2. Administrative authorities for above platforms can be at the supervisory node of respective Ministry of Agriculture at state and / or central government levels simultaneously with decentralisation and delegation of authorities to officials at District, Zila Parishad and Gram Panchayet levels depending upon transactional need and ease of operation.

 

One or more such KBPs can also be operated by any corporate house in private sector. Government officials can also join as participants. However, it should be ensured that a common farmer at the lowest village level is not put into a dilemma of selecting the right KBP to join and for this too much of competition may be avoided  

 

3. Recommendation and approval of transactions should be kept at one or more nodes depending upon guiding policies, SOP for operating the KBP, roles and responsibilities of each participant and nature of each transaction.

 

4. Integration and interoperability of the above DTL platforms across district, state and central government levels should be ensured for more collaboration and coordination for the ultimate objective of value creation for farmers.

 

KYP – Pre-entry Identification and Authentication Participants

The proposed KBP platform would first provide facilities to ‘Know Your Participant’. It would capture all details and credentials for identification, recognition, and registration of every singly participant, irrespective of being an individual, incorporated entity or government agency. Uploaded supporting documents, towards proof of authenticity and credentials, would securely be stacked by the KBP in a digital document library. This KYP facility would be configured in compliance with all regulatory requirements which the respective participants are subordinated to.  

 

Enforceability of transactions – Super Smart Contract

Every single commercial transaction that will be entered and executed by and between two or more of participants must have to be backed by a legally enforceable contract in compliance with respective laws and regulations. The KBP would facilitate the process by hosting templates for all possible types of contracts which two or more of the participants under a contract would have to digitally sign-off. Such transactions could be in the nature purchase of farming equipment, fertilisers, technical services, etc, loan to farmers by banks, crop insurance contract, sell of crops to buyers, and so on.

Such underlying contracts will be father-hooded by the Super Smart Contract. All such contracts will initially be drafted by legal eagles, and then codified and embedded in the Smart Contract library hosted in the KBP. It will have facilities for change of clauses and sub-clauses as mutually agreed by and between the concerned participants through offer for modifications and acceptance recorded through the platform. All these will be linked and grafted to the concerned smart contract hosted by KBP and guide all subsequent transactions.    

 

Digital Platforms Tools and Devices for KBP

Success of any KBP will to a large extent depend upon simultaneous and integrated use of many other digital tools and devices for conducting various primary and auxiliary activities:

  Integration with other Digital Platforms

  • Government Blockchain for Land Records:  Integration of any KBPs with such state government level land records will facilitate the process of, establishing ownership of crops, collateralisation for bank loans, contract management for selling of harvests, etc.
  • Fintech and Banking Platforms: Introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency or permission for use of Stable Coins in India may take time. Therefore, seamless integration of a KBP with one or more FinTech Platforms would be necessary for financial transactions.

  Use of Digital Tools and Devices

  • Internet of Things and Sensors – IoTs can be used for multiple purposes, when integrated with the concerned KBP. The following could be some of those purposes:
  • Soil Surveillance: Sensors and IoTs can be placed reasonably deep into the land for monitoring moisture content. This will help estimating irrigation need based on advisories for no or scanty rain by meteorology department.
  • Deep Tube-wells and Pumps: IoTs can be affixed to water flow meters from deep tube-wells and / or pumps for automatic generation and collection of data regarding volume of water used by a farmer. Such data can be used for charging him, and /or government monitoring depletion in levels of underground water.
  • Farming Equipment: If a farmer hires equipment such as tractors, harvesting machines etc., an IoT can be fixed for multiple purposes, e.g. intimating days and hours of use for charging the farmer, health condition of the equipment and need for maintenance depending upon say period of use, heat, sound, speed, etc.
  • Drones – These flying machines can be fitted with sensors, IoTs, digital cameras and computers having abilities for videography and geo-physical positioning. These can be integrated with the KBP and used for the following purposes:
  • Spreading of pre-measured insecticides and pesticides with reference to type of crop, field area and advisory issued by agricultural scientists.
  • Crop scouting to monitor growth, colour and physical state of standing plants, visual status of yield, time for harvesting and surveillance against pilferage.
  • Imaging of cultivated field in an unfortunate event of natural calamities to assess the extent of crop damages and insurance claim amount to be paid to farmers.
  • Pictures from drones linked to geophysical position will enable government agencies to assess areas of land cultivated for a type of crop in a given season.  
  • Immersive Technology (AR, VR and MR) – These can be used for virtually real image management of standing crop. Such video images can help farmers to realise physical condition of crop and actions needed to ensure rightful treatment for ensuring growth free from risks of insects and pests.
  • Edge Computing – To reduce load at the central cloud computing level, various digital devices, e. g., Drones and IoTs may be powered with in-built computing devices for processing of local data before passing processed information to the central cloud storage.

RPA and Robots – Robotic process automation and deployment of robots in India would be possible in course of time. The author feels that these may be introduced in the second or third phase, bearing in mind that large number of people earn  livelihood from agricultural activities.    

 

All the above digital devices may be provided by the service vendors on rent to the farmers and / or the Central KBP administrator, except for certain IoTs and Sensors, costs for which can be borne farmers.  

 

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – Extensive data will be generated and captured by a KBP through various commercial and non-commercial transactions. Such data will never be stale for future reference and will always be updated for every crop growing season. KBP should be designed in such a manner that those data can easily be retrieved, collated, and safely stored in such a manner that will facilitate the process of using tools from the stable of AI and ML

 

The predominant objective is to conduct region-wise analyses of various related variables, price movements of outputs in relation to inputs, farming techniques, variation in weather conditions, type of soil, etc. It will also generate how the vendors and customers commercially conduct themselves and behavioural data of farmers. When inferences are drawn after analyses, various stakeholders, including governmental agencies, banks, insurance companies, vendors, and buyers, will be able to strategize their respective plans, initiate actions with a win-win motive for all.  

  

Podcast Facility

All services to farmers need not be rendered through a transaction in a KBP, e. g, informing farmers and insurers about attack of pests and insects, forecast for natural perils, rain in a monsoon season when saplings are sown, and crops are grown etc. Objectives could be to help farmers to decide timing for sowing seeds and drawing water from underground or from canal. Hence, a KBP would have a configured facility to podcast such advisories as messages to all farmers. However, records for such podcasts can be kept in the concerned KBP.

 

Escrow Bank Account – Comfort for Stakeholders

One of the overriding objectives of a KBP is to ensure transparency and reliability for all transactions and to commit that all participants get their dues on time as per contractual terms. For this a KBP can open and auto-operate an Escrow Bank Account on behalf of each farmer. The farmer would have a lien on the balance of the account. All collection and payment transactions processed in KBP will auto trigger instructions for processing and settlement by Banks. If money is required for subsistence of the farmer, the bank will directly credit the farmer’s savings account in accordance with the loan agreement.

The chosen bank should be the one which would sanction loan to the farmer against future receivables from sale of crops and / or the farmer’s land as collateral(s). The farmer’s personal money, drawing funds against loans, collections against approved government grants and insurance claims, if any, will be deposited to this account. Payments to all vendors and service providers will be released from this escrow account on behalf of the farmer while crops grow on the field.

 

The bank loan will be paid-off from collections against sale of crops. The residual positive balance will be credited to the farmer’s savings account after the transaction of the season is completed for settlement of the last liability on behalf of the farmer. Any negative balance will have to be settled by the farmer or though waiver of loan by Government. In any unlikely and unfortunate event of crop failure, collection will be there against insurance claim for meeting the bank loan, the entire process of which will be managed by the KBP in sequence of auto-triggered transactions or the ones initiated by the concerned stakeholders.

 

Crypto Currency  

Ideally all transactions for this Escrow Account should be handled using a Cryptocurrency. The author is of the view that in course of time when India will introduce Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) that should be the valid medium for settlement to be handled through a KBP, which every participant will be able to encash into fiat currency, i. e., INR. Till that time one can adopt any other cryptocurrency such as Stable Coins subject to Indian financial regulators approving such use.  

 

Sequence of Events and Transactions

Design and codification of a KBP as a blockchain platform should be pervasive, versatile, and flexible enough to allow initiation and processing of all commercial and non-commercial transactions by and between the stakeholders. It should configure all transactions right from a farmer ideating to grow a crop say paddy to its selling to government, organised retailers and / or hotel chains. The concerned KBP should enable floating of tenders among and beyond the participant vendors by a farmer or a group of participating farmers for equipment, seed fertiliser, and / or any services that they may require. If any vendor wants to participate in such tenders, must first register as a participant. Similar facility should be there for exploration of price of harvests through request for quotation (RFQ) from prospective buyers. 

 

KBP – A Virtual B2C Market Place for Vendors

From the perspective of vendors, KBP provides a tailor-made virtual marketplace that will save considerable marketing expenses for those product sellers and service providers. They will also be assured of getting paid because of funds form bank loans being available in the Escrow Account. And for these facilities all those organisations would be happy to pay participation fees. This in turn will be a source of earnings for the Administrator of any KBP to meet expenses for maintenance and scaling up as and when needed to accommodate larger participation.

 

Banks also will find comfort for participating in a KBP as lenders because the escrow bank account which will be operated as an integrated part of the KBP for end to end handling of transactions in a crop season from sowing seeds to realisation from sales.

      

KBP – A Virtual eMandi for Farmers and Buyers  

KBP will also serve as a virtual marketplace for buyers in the form of an eMandi of agricultural produce. Accredited technical agency(ies) for providing services for quality inspection and gradation of crops will also be a participant(s) of a KBP. Objective is to ensure that the farmers get the most deserving price for their crop befitting its quality as graded by that agency.

 

Even before the Crop is harvested farmers per design can initiate reverse tendering process among the participating buyers through the KBP for exploring and discovering the right price. Exception to this could be for ‘Minimum Support Price’ announced by Government for procurement from farmers for harvest like paddy and wheat. All these will make the role of any intermediary redundant and ensure that farmers get their due reward. Again, because the product will be sold directly by the farmer to the buyer no scope of adulteration and contamination would be there. Such buyers can be charged a fee for providing sourcing services by the KBP.

 

Supply Chain Management Back Tracing

Supply chain management service providers, including packaging of harvests, will also be participants of a KBP. One critical requirement that needs to be taken care of by them is to introduce RFID or QR Codes on every primary, secondary and tertiary level packaging for the products of each farmer. Such codes are also to be inserted in case there are instances of break bulk and repackaging. Structure for such codes is to be logically designed to identify farmer’s name, if allowed, GPS position of the land where the crop was grown, type of farming done, e. g., organic or inorganic, and universal product tariff code. The package should also contain all other disclosures and declaration in compliance with related regulatory requirements.

 

Software for the supply chain portion of a KBP are to be coded at the back end in such a manner that would facilitate the process of tracking and tracing back the product till the ultimate farmer and his land where the same was produced. Readers may be aware that wineries prefer to know and quote the place where the grapes were produced first on the label of a wine bottle. In developed countries consumers are increasingly demanding to know details of the farm, location, type of farming done whenever the buy agricultural products.        

 

Instructional Transactions

KBP will have to record certain transactions which will be in the form of advisories and instructions to farmers by Government agencies, agricultural scientists, vendors for manures and pesticides, meteorological authorities regarding onset of monsoon and commencement of sowing seeds, etc. Such advisories / instructions may or may not be rendered on a commercial basis against payment of fees but have important bearing in farmers’ ultimate success for growing crops of the desired quality and quantity per square unit of land cultivated. Such transactions should also be recorded in Blockchain for every node of the DTL to take note of.

 

Conclusion

Kishan Blockchain Platform has been ideated by the author as a seed in the womb of time with the objective to generate and ensure rightful rewards for hard labour and sacrifice of Indian farmers. He will look forward to seeing that day when KBP will meet reality and be regarded as a friend of millions of farmers under the sun. The author will be happy to collaborate with any organisation who may be interested in the proposed KBP.

 

Note:

Contents of this paper are of proprietary nature. The author reserves all rights of the ideated method for digital transformation of agriculture through the ‘Kishan Blockchain Platform (KBP)’ as delineated above. He may be contacted at [email protected] or @paritoshbasu.

The author acknowledges contributions of Ms. Rajashree Basu in writing this paper.

 

Bibliography

B1.  Walter, A., Finger, R., Huber, R., and Buchmann, N., Opinion: Smart farming is key to developing sustainable agriculture, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 114, 6148–6150. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1707462114, 2017

 

B2.  Kaddu, S., and Haumba, E. N. (2016). “Promoting ICT based agricultural knowledge management for increased production by smallholder rural farmers in Uganda: a case of Communication and Information Technology for Agriculture and Rural Development (CITARD), Butaleja,” in Proceedings of the 22nd Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Library and Information Associations (SCECSAL XXII), Butaleja, 243–252.

 

B3.  Basu Paritosh, Emerging Dimensions of Blockchain Technology, AIMA Journal of Management & Research, February 2019, Volume 13 Issue 1/4, ISSN 10974 – 497, pp 1-21

Webliography

 

W1.  https://www.ventureintelligence.com/Indian-Unicorn-Tracker.php

 

W2. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/can-high-tech-firms-with-actionable-inputs-eliminate-uncertainties-in-agriculture/articleshow/77040874.cms

W3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bC6-0QlJNQ

This article was first published in the August 2020 issue of ‘The Management Accountant’, the monthly Journal of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India.

About the Author

Dr Paritosh Basu is presently a full-time Senior Professor of NMIMS University School of Business Management, Mumbai. He is a scholarly academician and a digital evangelist. He is also engaged in various research and consulting activities. Earlier he served large Indian corporates for about thirty-four years with last two assignments being of Global Group Controller and CFO in two large Indian MNCs.

[email protected]

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