- Amazon’s blockchain patent could be a sign that major corporations are about the crash the blockchain party
- Monolithic companies could trample over existing smaller startups and dominate whole sectors
- Startups will be fighting to get bought out, rather than fighting to compete
The news that Amazon’s blockchain patent for a decentralized supply chain system has been awarded could mark a turning point for the adoption of blockchain technology on a global scale, and not in a good way for those swimming in the same waters. As retailers and bookstores around the world have discovered, corporations show no mercy when it comes to the pursuit of profits.
Blockchain and Supply Chain a Perfect Match
Blockchain technology has the potential to transform a number of industries, chief amongst them being supply chain. The myriad links in these complex chains of international shipments and storage is ripe for overhaul, and the process is already underway – major shipping companies such as Maersk, DHL, and FedEx are experimenting with blockchain based solutions, with some of the world’s biggest and best known organizations dipping their toes in the blockchain-based shipping waters.
Several supply chain-focused crypto projects have emerged to push adoption of blockchain technology in the industry, chief among them VeChain and Morpheus Network, but it didn’t take long for blue chip companies to recognize the potential of this new dimension and turn their considerable resources towards it.
First it was IBM with its own IBM Blockchain initiative in which it has invested billions of dollars, and now the disruptor-in-chief Amazon could be on the verge of doing the same thing, having last week been awarded a patent for a blockchain based product authenticity system.
Three Years in the Planning
This may seem like a last minute jump into the pool from Amazon, but the fact is that the filing has been in the hands of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for close to three years, showing real foresight from the shopping giant. Built on Hyperledger, the same technology that powers IBM Blockchain, the system would not only achieve what many blockchain startups have spent years striving to achieve but would, critically, allow Amazon to use its gargantuan clout to hoover up the biggest and best deals out there, much as it has done with Amazon Web Services.
If Amazon has the desire to do so, it could, as it has done with retailers all over the world, dominate the blockchain supply chain space, putting smaller operations out of business. In the blockchain world, VeChain is considered a sleeping giant, what with their LVMH, DNV GL, PwC, and Walmart deals, but Amazon has the potential to flatten VeChain in a trice and dominate the space for decades to come.
Amazon Patent a Sign of the Inevitable?
Amazon staging a full frontal assault on the blockchain space wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, and it could act as the death knell for thousands of crypto startups, reducing the amount in existence to those that have carved out enough of a niche to continue operating.
In the same way that only a handful of companies own almost all the media operations in the world, we could end up seeing blue chip companies buying out blockchain startups in a way not seen since the tech boom of the 1990s. Privately owned startups will be at a premium, and a disadvantage, with a race to see who can get bought out by the likes of Amazon on the cards rather than who can build products to try and compete.
If blockchain technology takes off to its anticipated degree then a future where monolithic corporations rule the space, either through their own projects or through buying up smaller companies, is almost inevitable. And with Amazon finally being awarded their blockchain patent after almost a three year wait, they may be keen to make up for lost time.