Kilroy Blockchain CEO: 10 Things Solution Providers Need To Know About Blockchain

'It's Not Rocket Science'

Karen Kilroy, founder and CEO of Kilroy Blockchain, said solution providers should look at blockchain technology just like any other enterprise-level solution for customers.

"It's not rocket science. It's databases," said Kilroy during her executive session at XChange Solution Provider 2018. "This can be a way for businesses and enterprises to make more money, prove truth and create networks that allow us to trust each other even though we don’t know each other."

Austin, Texas-based Kilroy Blockchain provides a Platform as a Service that allows people to connect their applications into blockchain without being experts. Kilroy filled the room during her session at XChange Solution Provider, which is hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company, with dozens of solution providers wanting to know as much as possible about blockchain. Here are the 10 biggest takeaways from her session.

What's Under The Hood?

Under the hood, blockchain is a database with some fancy stuff to keep [everything ]in sync. It's not rocket science. It's databases. So a transaction is requested, then the transaction goes out to the network of nodes. Then the network validates the data using algorithms. Then the transaction says, 'OK, it's checked all the nodes. This is a good block. We're going to commit this block of data.' It adds it to the blockchain, then the transaction is complete.

Public Versus Private Blockchain

The blockchains used for cryptocurrency are usually public blockchains – they're open to anyone. Anyone can participate in those networks and you don’t always know who the participants are.

Private blockchain is probably something that would appeal more to your customers. This is an enterprise-level solution and you know who the participants are because they've been invited. Only people who can participate have been invited.

The Private Blockchain Providers

It's pretty much all the big players – IBM, SAP, Oracle, AWS, Microsoft -- and if they aren't playing, they will. IBM has been very heavy in the Linux Foundation's project called Hyperledger – it's an open-source project. Anybody can get involved with Hyperledger. SAP and Oracle are using Hyperledger. There's various flavors within Hyperledger and different projects. On the Microsoft Azure cloud, they're offering Enterprise Ethereum. It's the same thing used for Bitcoin, but this is a private version of it that Microsoft hosts. I was surprised that AWS has a couple of different offers. It's something that you can get in and start playing with.

How Do You Start Playing With Blockchain?

There's many, many code samples that you can download and reverse-engineer. For an open-source developer, it shouldn’t take them too long to go in and figure it out, especially if they know Node.JS – that's a big part of it. Then there's layer two for smart contracts. That’s usually written in Golang, which is Google's language. You can also write them in [scripting language] PHP.

How Should A Solution Provider View Blockchain?

A channel partner should look at blockchain just like any other enterprise-level solution for your customers. Just realize it's going to be more than one customer in a network. You want to help your customer select the business process that touches the blockchain based on the value that it will provide to the business network.

Not everything is going to need to go on blockchain. If I create something and then I route it to you, then you approve it – maybe that approval is the only thing that you need.

How Do You Get A Customer To Start Blockchain?

Pick something small. Even for the tiny things, there's so many more steps that you actually thought about. You want to get them down to the tiniest, smallest process that could be integrated with blockchain and you want to give them a time frame. Usually what I do is I say, 'Four months. Let's get this up and running in four months.' If we can't do it in four months, something's wrong. We don’t have to automate every step. A channel partner should start small to prove value.

Are Telecoms Using Blockchain?

The big guys are starting to get in on this. That may be the driver instead of the U.S. government because things move so slowly with our government. So you have AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon working on a multi-factor authentication application that's blockchain-based. This will ensure the integrity of the applications and make sure when you buy something, that they're sure it's you. It's not just a password anymore. They'll do it based on a few different criteria, but they're still working on it.

Blockchain Use Case: Identity Theft

Blockchain can protect us from identity theft. Every time I hear about one of these big breaches, I keep thinking now is the time that the U.S. government is going to say, 'Let's switch out this identification system.' But it's not changing here. Other countries are doing it. Estonia has gone to a blockchain-based identity system. That was based on a big blowup with fraud and identity theft and they had to do something and they did.

Blockchain Use Case: Intellectual Property

Who is going to determine what is true in the future? We didn’t use to have this problem. Computers have created this for us. We need to worry about ownership, tracking it to see where it goes and who is using it. Then finally, manipulation. Someone has given Mona Lisa a great big cat [pictured)]that she didn't have in the original painting. For intellectual property, [blockchain startup] Mediachain is really one of the biggest ones that's addressing it. They have a system for intellectual property for art and music; you can add things to it and then establish ownership and royalty payment and usage. They built such a good system the Spotify bought them right away. Spotify had a very big mess to clean up because they had never gone through and done the accounting on their artist royalties. They're putting Mediachain to work on that.

What's The Solution Provider Takeaway?

All the big companies offer it. Solution providers don’t have to get something that was built in somebody's basement. You can get it from IBM, SAP, AWS -- big companies. There are many examples that can be reverse- engineered. Another takeaway would be: Don't rebuild, integrate. So don’t rebuild everything that you have just to do blockchain. Instead, take what you have, figure out your touch points and integrate around, 'What do you want to record?'