Blockchain for Business | Pipeline Magazine
By: Jan-Jaap Jager
Blockchain has made strides with big names and brands in recent months. We are starting to see global household names and companies adopting this technology for a variety of reasons. Starbucks has launched its Odyssey experience, which gives customers a sense of community. Members can buy and collect digital stamps and NFTs and get exclusive offers to be a part of new and immersive experiences. The program has proven so popular with fans that their first paid collection of NFTs – each priced at $100 – sold out in under 20 minutes. Similarly, Nike’s SWOOSH Web3-enabled platform empowers customers to participate in creating and learning about digital artifacts and NFTs. This has included the recent launch of their first digital sneaker collection, based on their iconic Air Force One range.
These initiatives have generated a lot of interest in their community and branding potential. But the scope of large companies adopting blockchain spreads wider than this. And while these adoptions mark a shift in blockchain recognition for big companies and high street brands, it’s simply another step in blockchain’s natural life cycle. We are moving into a stage where blockchain will become a layer of infrastructure in software, apps and businesses around the world. Corporate giants leveraging blockchain talk more about its potential for many businesses.
So, what are some of the other benefits that blockchain can bring to businesses?
One of the biggest advantages blockchain brings for consumer purposes is its transparency. Coca-Cola’s partnership with Diginex uses blockchain for ESG supply chain traceability. It illustrates Coca-Cola’s credentials, providing information that supports their due diligence and corporate responsibilities, such as meeting labor relations requirements. Not only will this have a real impact in terms of improving working conditions around the world, but it also builds a brand.
Consumers overwhelmingly want brands and products that are ethical and sustainable. Products that make ESG claims have grown 28 points over the past 5-year period, compared to 20 points for those that do not. Two-thirds of customers would pay more for products that are sustainable, while major brands have seen boycotts in recent years following allegations of forced labor and links to human rights abuses. So being able to prove ethical credentials via blockchain has real profit and branding benefits.
This development reflects the enormous potential that blockchain has for social good more broadly and on a global scale. Globally, it is estimated that there are 1.4 billion people who do not have a bank account. Nevertheless, the unbanked often have access to smartphones and digital technology. Research has shown that 60 percent of the unbanked in the US have a smartphone, while 65 million unbanked women in the MENA region own a mobile phone. As such, blockchain and digital finance have a real opportunity to help people access financial services and make payments. This type of financial inclusion can promote equality and begin to reduce poverty in many parts of the world.
Transparency in the supply chain has great potential for other types of businesses as well. In particular, it includes any product that is perishable or where storage or transport conditions are critical – for example, a medicine that may need to be kept at a certain temperature. Blockchain’s transparency and overview will mean greater security for consumers or patients.
Furthermore, blockchain gives companies the opportunity to learn more about their customers. For example, when a customer previously bought a pair of sneakers in the store, such as a collector’s item, the store had no idea what became of it. The sneaker resale market is expected to reach $30 billion by 2030. Nike’s 2007 limited edition “Freddy Krueger” Dunk Lows can reach resale prices of $40,000 to $95,000.
Now, blockchain integration and NFTs mean Nike will be able to keep track of their products and understand the motivation behind their customers’ purchases, as well as whether they resell. A technology like NFTs can be a huge economic benefit to the artist and the producer of products that can potentially reach the resale market. They will not only be able to track their products, but can also continuously earn royalties on sales. Another advantage of blockchain is that it reduces