Blockchain: Not High on the Priority List – Market & Trends


May 30, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. | Interview: Diana artist | Comments)

Heinrich Zetlmayer, Skaylink
Heinrich Zetlmayer is CEO of the cloud service provider Skaylink. The graduate engineer was Vice President at IBM for over seven years and is a founder, investor and member of several supervisory boards. As the founder and co-owner of Blockchain Valley Ventures and a long-standing member of the management board of ESL Turtle Entertainment, he is familiar with the latest trends in the digital economy, the crypto and gaming scene.

The lessons of the delayed digitization should finally be learned, says Heinrich Zetlmayer from Skaylink. After an initial hype, the topic of distributed ledger technologies is neglected. In an interview, the CEO explains what added value the technology offers.

function view: The best-known example of distributed ledger technology (DLT) is the blockchain, as used in Bitcoin or Ethereum, for example. How do you define this technology? And what can DLT basically do?

Heinrich Zetlmayer: Ultimately, DLT is a technology that allows value transactions and ownership to be further digitized and, above all, decentralized and thus made more independent of manual and personal processes. That is why DLT is also often described as “trustless”, since you do not have to trust a central instance for authentication or authorization. At DLT, these tasks are solved technically and decentrally using various methods.

function view: Cryptocurrency is just one example of many. What other applications and ideas are there based on the basic technology of the blockchain? Where do you see the specific benefits in the enterprise environment?

Zetlmayer: From my point of view, there are two major benefits: Firstly, collaboration between companies within value chains can take place on a digital basis much more securely and reliably than before, which both rationalizes many value creation processes and enables new applications. This not only saves money, but also allows companies to incorporate financial functions into many business models that were otherwise reserved for finance, which is summarized under the “embedded finance” trend.

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Supply chain management in the life sciences sector is an advanced example of improved collaboration. Life science supply chains involve a myriad of document-based processes. Forms need to be reviewed, signed and submitted, often using more traditional forms of electronic communication such as email. Accordingly, the communication processes are also plagued by the classic problems of a lack of transparency and, above all, insufficient security. For example, Veratrak, a European provider of a blockchain-based document management platform, helps life science companies to centralize this communication and make it tamper-proof.

function view: Why is it then that DLT and blockchain are still treated so neglected by industry and business?

Zetlmayer: Most firms outside of the financial sector have other concerns. Many are lagging behind in digitization, the pandemic has shifted priorities and focused on topics such as cyber security.

“Blockchain is still a comparatively young technology and the
The broad market for blockchain applications is still in its infancy.
We are currently in a growth wave in the financial sector.”

function view: A majority of hyperscalers have been offering blockchain solutions for a while, but not all are being successfully adopted. After six years, Microsoft recently canceled its “Azure Blockchain as a Service” without replacement. How do you rate this development?

Zetlmayer: Blockchain is still a comparatively young technology and the broad market for blockchain applications is still in its infancy. We are currently in a growth wave in the financial sector. It is interesting that the clouds of the hyperscalers are often used by blockchain companies for certain infrastructure topics.

function view: Against this background, what can providers do to optimize their blockchain portfolio?

Zetlmayer: Cloud providers should currently focus primarily on the fintech sector. The blockchain applications are most mature there, behind which there is already a very large, complex industry and corporate world. In second place I see the topic of supply chain management.

function view: And how should (user) companies approach this supposedly complex topic? What is your advice to decision-makers who are dedicating themselves to DLT for the first time?

Zetlmayer: Because of the complexity, I would actually seek outside advice. Good research into existing use cases certainly provides an initial overview, but it takes a competent look to then assess where blockchain technology can generate real added value for the specific company.

function view: What help can a company like Skylink provide in this context?

Zetlmayer: We are happy to advise user companies on how to use it and are not in love with technology, but are strongly geared to the business benefits of the customer company.

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