Tell us a bit about Blocko & Aergo, what’s your background in the Blockchain Space?

11 June 2019
ExCel, London

Aergo is an open source platform developed by Blocko Inc., a leading South Korean enterprise blockchain company backed by Samsung. To date, Blocko Inc. has deployed 38 enterprise blockchain solutions in South Korea for companies like Samsung, Cisco, SK Telecom, Hyundai Motors, Gyeonggi-do province and more. Although not publicly advertised outside of the home market in South Korea, Blocko Inc. has the second largest number of real blockchain deployments after IBM.

Aergo is the hybrid public-private blockchain implementation of Blocko’s tech that currently being rolled out in Asia and EMEA. Aergo can be used by firms of any size and complexity to potentially build new services or business ecosystems - and where a secure, high-performance and scalable blockchain can enable distributed data sharing and trust - where trust does not exist.

What are the main challenges you see facing Telco’s and other enterprises when they look to realise the benefits of blockchain and distributed ledger tech?

Blockchain is a complex topic to navigate in particular due to three things. First, companies try to implement blockchain in use cases where there is no real need for technology. Second, there is a very small number of in-production use cases that completed the full journey from end-to-end product build to integration to real adoption. Therefore the set of real working case studies is very small and the know-how is being siloed with selective vendors and early adopters. Third, the amount of conflicting marketing information provided by different vendors and marketeers can be confusing and overwhelming.

What do you think are the Key opportunities for Telco’s starting out on their journey to using Blockchain across their business?

As a preview to Aergo talk at the Telco Blockchain Forum on the 11th of June 2019, one particular thought leadership piece is around Decentralised Cloud. Telco's were late to the cloud market. Blockchain could provide a new entry point into this business and an opportunity to monetise the existing Telco fibre and infrastructure as network participants, storage or hosting providers on the network. Decentralised Cloud is a very complex use case, but we think that Blocko (and the Aergo project) have figured out the tech and the business model behind it.

In essence, the Telco’s can enter the Decentralised Cloud business on three different levels. On the most basic level, Telco’s can act as a network participant and secure network immutability by verifying the blocks. The next step in complexity is to provide the most basic cloud infrastructure such as data storage to enterprises or Apps that run their business on the blockchain. The end goal, however, is for Telco’s to provide full hosting environments for businesses to build, deploy and run applications directly on the Distributed Cloud.

Whilst the above-described use case is an infrastructure play, we also see Telco’s building proprietary or consortium led initiatives to encode business logic on the blockchain (e.g. authentication, tracking, payments, IoT). An example use case here could be a system that tracks roaming usage between global network providers. The envisaged systems will have a standardised and transparent framework for usage, fees and contracts encoded and settled on the blockchain. One of the Telco operators in Europe is already looking at this use case in great depth.

What is your call to action for the telecom’s industry when it comes to engaging with Blockchain, and forming partnerships in this space?

Correct, one way for the industry to develop is through partnerships and consortium projects. This is a good approach to build momentum in the industry and share knowledge between the participants.

However, the disruptive new technologies often move faster with early adopters leading the way. We envisage forward-looking Telcos gathering blockchain expertise from other industries, identifying specific use cases and implementing them internally. The objective here is to validate the use case and get certain early adoption for the use case. A partnership or consortium initiative can then be an appropriate next step to reach platform standardisation and industry adoption. This is very similar to how Linux reached adoption after the major players like Oracle announced their support for the technology.

Aergo specifically, there is a lot of innovation and expertise that Blocko team has collected over the past 5 years working with large enterprise clients in Korea. We look forward to sharing the best practices and use cases with forward-looking Telco's that are serious about exploring the new technology and business models.