Early blockchain player looks to expand platform

A group of developers who came up with a blockchain protocol known as Syscoin in 2014 are looking at expanding and further formalizing that initiative with the creation of Blockchain Foundry, Inc.

The emerging blockchain-technology development company, which has ties to Toronto, sees potential for building on the Syscoin protocol that provides business and individuals the ability to trade goods, assets, digital certificates and data securely, said president and CEO Dan Wasyluk. One of the main goals of the company is to provide end users with the benefits of blockchain technology without having to understand or know that blockchain technology is powering their experience.

Blockchain Foundry’s initial commercial product, Blockmarket, is a web-based e-commerce platform which will allow online retailers, entrepreneurs and individual sellers to create and access individual marketplaces hosted entirely on the Syscoin network. “We chose the marketplace demographic because we already knew there was a proven use case out there for it,” said Wasyluk.

In a lot of existing marketplace platforms, such as eBay or Shopify, the merchant is giving up a significant percentage of their sales to facilitate the transaction, he said. “We thought that area was ripe to disrupt.” There are also fewer regulatory barriers, Wasyluk added. “Being a bootstrap company, we don’t have the financial runway to deal with those as the moment.” Syscoin was initially crowd funded in its early days, and Blockchain Foundry is looking to do a round of seed funding in the near future.

Syscoin has already partnered with Microsoft as a member of Microsoft Azure’s blockchain-as-a-Service, and Blockmarket is currently undergoing Microsoft certification with the goal to have it available on the Azure Marketplace before the end of the year.

A lot of companies doing a lot of things with blockchain, said IDC Canada associate Robert Smythe, but the challenge is getting the technology into state that it’s stable, usable, and understood without a computer sciences degree.

Blockchain Foundry would appear to be off to a good start, he said, in that it has chosen to the Microsoft Azure platform, which is both easy to use and affordable. “Using Microsoft Azure is a smart move as it will keep their costs down.” In addition, Toronto is a good spot to work out of because it has a large blockchain and crypto-currency community. “There’s a good knowledge base developing in Toronto.”

However, there are now close to 200 cryptocurrencies, said Smythe. “The majority are pump and dump. Syscoin has a market cap of $5 million vs. $9 billion for Bitcoin,” he said. “It is no wonder they are building interfaces with bitcoin into the Blockmarket product.” The question is who will come aboard and use it.

Smyth said it would appear that Blockchain Foundry and its Blockmarket product have been set up to monetize Syscoin. “It is smart to incorporate cryptocurrencies into a marketplace but this then places them in the sight of Amazon and Stripe,” he said. “These multibillion companies could wipe out Blockmarket in a second if they concluded it could be a potential future competitor.”

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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