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Hot Technology: Blockchain, look beyond the noise and it’s very real!

Every now and then a technology appears that is so intriguing that it spikes fantasies of what it is, does and all the things it might make possible: Examples are the Internet, GSM mobile telephony, or social media. And no doubt, Blockchain is such a technology, too: Oh, the hype and oh, the claims of all that it will do, and oh, the fears of all it will replace: Agencies, banks, currencies, jobs, “everything!”

Screenshot of the original Blockchain/Bitcoin white paper of May 24, 2009, the “birth certificate” of Blockchain (Source:

While the fantasies run wild with every up and down of cryptocurrency prices, these are just one use of Blockchain technology. I observe something completely different: Away from the noise and hype, Blockchain has matured into a solid IT technology that is used to solve previously unsolvable problems and produces increasingly novel applications.

And the Blockchain startup scene is alive and kicking. Here are two use cases of Blockchains that exemplify this:

SyraCoin, citizens crowd-fund city services in exchange for tokens. By City of Syracuse, NY and

Citizens of Syracuse, NY, can now donate money to help out other citizens in need, e.g. those in danger of being evicted from their homes. The donors receive “SyraCoin”-tokens in return, which they can use to buy city services such as transit or to shop at local participating businesses. This creates the first-ever “municipal token economy”. Vite Lab’s hosted Blockchain platform was used to create this ingenious solution to bring together parties, who otherwise would never meet and who have few reasons to trust each other: Citizens in trouble and landlords, city caseworkers and local businesses as well as ordinary citizens willing to pay for services in a new way.

I find the SyraCoin a beautiful example of how Blockchain technology enables completely new solutions.

For more information contact Luke Kim, CMO, at Vite Labs in San Francisco:

Oh, and the app is beautiful, too!

Screenshot of Vite Lab’s IOS App for SyraCoin users (Source: Vite presentation)

PlayTable, board games and trading cards reimagined

Products combining hard- and software have always been attractive to me because of my past in hardware and because this mix often lends itself to particularly interesting business models. Now imagine a very large tablet that can detect objects placed onto it thanks to RF-ID. And each of these objects is completely and unfalsifiably unique because each is one block of a Blockchain.

Screenshot of PlayTable’s game with an interactive tablet and gaming pieces (Source:

What results is a gaming platform where you can play in a virtual environment by using real playing pieces. Where playing pieces can be loaded with unique awards that can be bought, sold or traded with others. And where you can buy and sell the playing pieces. And no cheating possible! This is a new gaming category halfway between online-only computer games and old school offline-only board or card games. And highly social because it involves personal interactions facilitated by the tablet. I can see lots of interesting new games coming our way. Fancy a CryptoKitty you can pet and keep in your pocket? Now you can! And the principle can, of course, be applied to serious applications such as education, test-taking, simulations or professional training. What a clever use of Blockchain to reinvent traditional games, many of which have had a hard time since the arrival of electronic gaming! The combination of the different hard- and software elements results in a new level of interactions. 

For more information contact John Dempsey, Founder & CEO, at PlayTable in San Francisco:

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  1. Pingback: Digigram Newsletter of July 2019! – Gert

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