On September 9, at 1345 Avenue of the Americas in New York, Bitcoin Association kicked off the 2nd BSV Blockchain Conference of the year, welcoming business executives, institutional investors and journalists for a full day of sessions demonstrating the real-world use cases of the BSV blockchain.
As Bitcoin Association Founding President Jimmy Nguyen said in his keynote address, the BSV Blockchain Conference was about presenting a bigger vision of Bitcoin than the one often promoted: rather than the highly speculative brand of digital gold often thought of, Bitcoin is about the fusion of data with money. As the presentations that followed demonstrated to the business leaders in attendance, that bigger vision means big things for enterprise.
The event was a business conference and not a technical one. Because of that, the focus was on the ability of BSV to solve real-world business problems – but it also meant that some introductions to Bitcoin and blockchain were required to set the scene.
Hassan Qureshi, a partner at MNP, one of the largest accountancy and business advisory firms in Canada, presented their recent report which analysed the features of Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) to determine which stays truest to the Bitcoin protocol described by Satoshi Nakamoto.
‘Right up front, Satoshi originally wanted a payment network. Something that could rival Visa,’ Qureshi said.
‘We understood that Satoshi’s Bitcoin was supposed to be a system that allowed many potential outcomes. It was meant to be a more efficient way to provide Internet payments and especially casual payments.’
But despite both BTC and BSV sharing this common origin, the MNP analysis found that just one project lives up to the original vision for Bitcoin: BSV.
They both provide ways to transact, they have a mechanism to confirm the integrity of those transactions and there is a timestamp element. But the differences are stark: on BSV, there is no cap on block size, while on BTC, it’s capped at 1MB. BTC has also had opcode functionality stripped away over the years, functionality which BSV has restored. This means that true to the original Bitcoin, BSV can be used for a wide range of purposes such as complex smart contracting and not just as a volatile store of value.
The short presentation served as a necessary introduction to concepts key to understanding why BSV offers such potential for enterprises and keeping Bitcoin’s most important capability front-of-mind: its status as a data ledger.
Businesses everywhere run on data, whether they know it or not. They create and use data relating to their products, assets, customers, sales, logistics, financial activity, supply chains and countless more. While data becomes exponentially more important each passing year, businesses are still trying to get a grip on the existence of all of this information, let alone successfully using it to deliver value.
And yet while we rely on data in every facet of life, concerns of security and integrity have by and large capped our ability to commit fully to a data driven world. Phillip Runyan, managing partner at Veridat, a software-as-a-service platform which streamlines the capture of critical data to the BSV blockchain, spoke to the crowd about the problems that have historically prevented us from truly relying on data and how BSV is here to change that.
‘Today, we’re in a bit of a jam. Hope is our strategy. We hope that people are being good actors. We don’t need to do this. Because the solutions that exist for tomorrow are blockchain based, because blockchain is a proven technology to reduce error, fraud and lost records. It’s decentralized, it’s trusted, and its transparent. Most importantly, it’s tamper-proof: once it’s on there, it can’t be mucked with.’
‘Let’s move forward and utilize trusted technology that will allow us to not have to live in this just trust me world.’
He ran through some recent examples where companies had been able to successfully manipulate or falsify huge amounts of data. He talked about the Ranbaxy scandal, in which a drug manufacturer faked swathes of data in support of their manufacturing and R & D processes and were able to supply drugs to over 40 countries despite their perceived efficacy being based on fraudulent data. Or the practice of fraudulent marijuana testing, where data is manipulated to portray certain strains as having a higher THC content than they really do.
Data fraud is really only possible in the absence of a trustless system, such as the BSV blockchain ledger. By having important data like this available to be audited, the space for fraud is massively reduced.
‘Blockchain would have been able to capture these things on the fly, before anybody had the genius idea of pressing the delete button – you’ll be held to a higher standard,’ said Runyan.
This is the vision that Veridat is looking to deliver to the world. A lightweight, interoperable platform working across disparate systems, using the blockchain to validate the time and dates of events, rendering the recorded data immutable and verifiable. More than that, the data captured by Veridat is easily queried thanks to the openness of the blockchain: not only is the data more reliable thanks to being written to the blockchain, but there’s an enormous cost saving by not having to embark on a time- and money-intensive audit to verify the accuracy of records.
While data is in every industry, having data be immutable and permanent is more imperative in some contexts than others. The healthcare example touched upon by Runyan is perhaps the most important, particularly as the world has watched authorities scramble to build a sensible COVID-19 vaccine tracking system over the past year.
Blockchain’s amenability to healthcare was explored in-depth in another session, hosted by two businesspeople who have already built functional healthcare applications using the BSV blockchain: Steve Lawrence, president at EHR Data, and Zachary Weiner, founder of VXPass.
‘We have a fundamental problem with healthcare,’ said Lawrence.
‘The data that you’ve created over your life for all of your health issues, you have no control over…. In no place are data silos more visible than in healthcare.’
Picture the situation of a person who moves from one corner of the U.S. to another. Despite spending years going to their local doctor and building up a repository of data in the form of their healthcare records, the most likely outcome of moving state is that none of that data moves with the patient: it stays with their older healthcare provider(s) and to the extent that any information moves at all, it’s totally out of the hands of the patient.
This is where blockchain solutions, like those built by EHR Data, come in. EHR Data has a permissioned API which communicates with various healthcare systems, such as labs or pharmacies, to pull in patient data from a variety of sources. The data can be subject to rules at both entry and exit, and it can send notifications based on events which are recorded on the blockchain – for example, an elderly patient missing an outpatient appointment might trigger a follow-up response from the healthcare provider.
VXPass illustrates the need being addressed by blockchain in the context of vaccines. VXPass is a blockchain-based vaccine administration and verification platform. Like the other solutions discussed so far, the value comes from having a single source of truth that can be owned by the person whose data it is. Rather than disparate healthcare agencies around the world keeping their own vaccination records, leading to patients having to prove and re-prove their vaccination status indefinitely, their vaccination status can be recorded on the blockchain and can be accessed by anyone the patient chooses to grant access to.
Moving from one public good to the next, there was also a case study on one of BSV’s most ground-breaking projects, the Tuvalu National Ledger, built in partnership between the national of Tuvalu, nChain, Elas Digital and tech consultancy Faiā. Thanks to the scalability, reliability and security of the BSV blockchain, Tuvalu has begun the process of making its government entirely paperless, with citizenship applications, licensing, land transfer, census information and more all eventually being stored on the blockchain.
‘When we do this, this becomes the first proper use-case of the technology as opposed to just using Bitcoin for just its speculation,’ said George Siosi Samuels, managing director at Faiā and Bitcoin Association Ambassador for South Pacific.
‘We want Tuvalu to be a leader in showing what a nation can do beyond just the money aspect.’
This session was a fascinating look into what went into designing and building such a large-scale and important project, particularly one which entails such sweeping change to the status quo. After all, BSV holds the potential to change the world, so while the Tuvalu National Ledger may be the first national-scale implementation of BSV, it won’t be the last.
nChain’s Simit Naik, director of business services, said that while the paper system that was being replaced wasn’t ideal, it was relatively simple, so whatever implementation is selected, it had to be as frictionless as possible.
‘Because everything is paper-based, the use of cash is very simple,’ said Naik.
‘I give it to the store keeper or to my friend, that’s that done. If we try to introduce technology and add additional steps into that, not only does it complicate the process, it creates friction. When you create friction, it makes it very difficult for people to accept change.’
Also present at the conference were innovative businesses which are only made possible because of the BSV Blockchain. Britevue is an incentive-based online review platform which takes advantage of the micropayment capabilities of the BSV blockchain to pay users for each interaction their online review receives. Reviews are also written to the blockchain such that users are able to have the confidence that review data on Britevue is not being manipulated in any way.
In addition to highlighting the products being built using blockchain, the conference also saw presentations from a well-developed eco-system of infrastructure companies which support the work being done by others on BSV. TAAL is one of these; they offer a full suite of services to help businesses of many sizes and kinds write their data to the BSV blockchain cheaply and efficiently. Another is sCrypt, whose founder Xiaohui Liu was on hand to demonstrate their high-level smart contract language and its functionality on BSV.
BSV Blockchain Conference New York was about making the business case of BSV for businesspeople. So, it felt appropriate that the last session of the day was titled “Why investors should pay attention to BSV” with Paul Rajchgod, managing director of private equity at Ayre Group, and Zach Resnick, managing partner at Unbounded Capital. From their extensive experience in capital investment, the message was clear: adoption is well underway, and the VCs are here.
Resnick said that the current interest in BSV would have felt like a pipe dream a year ago; he estimated he’s now in conversation with about a third of the reputable crypto and blockchain focused VCs about the BSV blockchain.
One of the last things Resnick said before handing the mic back to Nguyen to close the conference was something that is reflective of the overall purpose of these BSV Blockchain Conferences. For Resnick, making the case for BSV doesn’t need to be about blockchains or details about the underlying protocol; it’s much easier to point to one of the working use cases that have already been built on the BSV blockchain and are solving long-standing commercial and governmental problems.
As New York saw in September, there are a lot of them.