This month, Co-Founder of Thrupny, Andrew Rippon, has had an other article published about blockchain. This time its in the hyper exclusive Altitudes magazine, which is distributed to high net worth individuals and corporations who use private jets to travel.
Andrew has been asked to explain blockchain to the magazine's readership and relate the relevance to private aviation. As it turns out, the analysis carried out by Andrew's team, our very own in house consulting firm, has turned up a number of use cases that could make private aviation more efficient, safe and profitable.
This type of analysis is exactly what Andrew and his team are carrying out on real estate management to bring out cost savings, efficiency and ultimately more profits for our investors.
Here is the whole article below or download the original article from the magazine here, enjoy...
The relevance to private aviation of bitcoin and blockchain today and tomorrow
“What is Bitcoin really and how does it work?” is the question I get asked most often. I don’t think I have been to a lunch or dinner in the last year when someone has not asked me that. My answer is very simple, “Cryptocurrencies are the future of Money!” or when I am feeling really good, “The future of everything.” . As the Americans say, I have drunk the coolaid and am a believer that this is a technological step change. At this point my dinner partners are normally even more confused, so I have to be just a little more expansive, so here we go:
The first thing you will have noticed about my statement is that I do not refer to Bitcoin but to “cryptocurrencies”. That is because as of 9th September 2018 there are over 1,900 traded cryptocurrencies, according to https://coinmarketcap.com, the unofficial bellwether of the crypto market (yes, crypto is short for cryptocurrencies and the “in” way to refer to them). Now Bitcoin is the 900 pound gorilla of crypto, weighing in currently at around 55% of the market capitalisation of cryptos, however it is far from the whole story and we will get to why in a moment.
Technically speaking another part of my statement is not correct, according to a banker friend of mine, money can take many forms, including loans and futures contracts, but for our purposes we are defining money as a method of exchange of value. But then I said “future of everything” and you thought that had escalated quickly. The reason for my expansiveness is that the underlying technology of Bitcoin and all cryptos is blockchain, which allows machines and organisations to trust electronic transactions and documents. Hence, for the first time we have the possibility of a trustful and permanent digital record of anything that machines can interact with in full transparency and trust.
So what is a cryptocurrency in the end and why can we trust it? Simply put, Bitcoin and its little siblings are merely records of transactions that are recorded on a decentralised ledger, instead of being done by one bank or the other. This means that anyone who is sending or receiving Bitcoin or Ethereum or Tether or Monero or other cryptos, is part of the record keeping. The technology of blockchain makes thousands of copies that are identical of the records ledger. Each copy is held by a different party and is guaranteed to be identical by a process that is called the consensus model.
Imagine that you and all the people you do business with have the same spreadsheet and it is guaranteed to be always the same and not one of you can influence it or change it without the others knowing.
So right now you are wishing you hadn’t asked for details and are hoping we don’t get into tech babble too deeply. Well your wish is granted, we are now going to the “so what?”, where we can try to understand how this shiny new thing can help the private aviation industry.
The payment or “money” function of cryptos can be easily understood. For example, many charter companies accept Bitcoin payments, with the first clients using bitcoin to pay for business jet charter flights back in late 2013/early 2014. The advantages of accepting crypto for payment include a reduction in banking costs, increased visibility of where payments are, increased speed, reduced admin costs and automated escrow facilities without huge lawyer’s costs. Imagine a client deciding to fly last minute and paying in seconds with their phone, but without anyone having to pay credit card fees.
Equally, accepting any crypto reduces currency exchange costs as transaction costs between cryptos is minimal, transactions are generally costing less than one US dollar, and conversion to national or “fiat” currencies can occur to the currency required. Over time, the crypto ecosystem grow to will allow for payment of your organisation’s costs in crypto and thereby achieving the ultimate step change in costs and automation. I have built just such an ecosystem in commodities and am building another one in real estate.
But the simple beauty of cryptocurrencies is that they also have functionality that can help organizations and individuals truly digitize and automate. Many cryptos, Ethereum for example, have an automation engine built in, called “Smart Contracts” that allow clauses of a contractual relationship to be carried out automatically. Think of the most time and labour intensive process in the industry, equally the most costly and where trust is the biggest issue.
According to Kellyn Wagner Ramsdell, writing in AIN online in February of this year, the major industry players are betting big on blockchain. For example, “In November 2017, General Electric (GE) filed a series of five patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These five patents create a theoretical system for tracking aircraft maintenance records, parts acquisition, flight records, and any additional information pertaining to the life of an aircraft.” Equally, “Boeing is examining both the use of blockchain for securing the supply chain process and resolving current aviation cybersecurity concerns. A December 2017 Boeing patent application reveals the company's intention to use blockchain to prevent GPS spoofing events.”
Just as cryptocurrencies and blockchain can make today’s processes happen more efficiently, there are also whole new business models that can be developed. For example, performance payment models for the lease of components or even whole aircraft. A given component can use IOT sensors to record usage on the blockchain and an automated “Smart Contract” can pay for usage automatically using a cryptocurrency because the systems are trusted.
There are many areas where the alliance of cryptocurrencies and blockchain can help automate business in the private aviation industry. These could include:
International transactions - as the private aviation industry is fundamentally an international industry and currently often reliant on credit cards and wire transfers, which have significant costs, cryptos can help reduce cost and times of payments
Speed up and automate business payments - where time is of the essence, payments by crypto are ideal as they can take a few seconds or a few minutes to pass and are instantly shown to both parties to be in progress. the transparency helps business build trust
Supply chain - the private aviation industry, like many, has considerable supply chain challenges, with a crypto powered blockchain systems the differing players in the supply chain can trust the information about status of dispatch or payment and reduce the amount of validation required, also reduced are certain players, such as corresponding banks and physical transmission of documents
Security / identity - recording identity on blockchain and using the latest bio identification tools, operators can increase security and reduce fraud
Corporate governance - decision making through automated systems can have the benefit of giving the governance or audit function increased granularity and trust
Maintenance records and safety - again the permanent digital record aspect of the blockchain allows the recording of facts without the possibility of dispute, as long as all the steps are agrees upon up front, therefore whether a maintenance event happened or not can be absolutely established, especially when combining gps, IOT and digital imagery in the record of fact. The monetary value in this case can be to incentives good work
Simplify customer payments - show up with your phone and you are on board, whatever the sum, no costs or admin as transactions can be instantly validated by anyone with a phone tablet or computer
Loyalty and marketing - cryptos can be used as tokens (in fact they are often referred to as tokens) within loyalty or marketing programs, the advantage being that very little IT infrastructure is required, the token could be swappable for other cryptos and the costs are low
Not to mention that many wealthy individuals have been made in the process of the creation of crypto and some of these may want to avail themselves of some private jet flights with their newly valuable cryptocurrencies.
Ultimately, while Bitcoin remains the highest profile crypto and blockchain the focus of industry activity, the combination of cryptos and the underlying engine of blockchain are the way fo the future. This is because as automation happens, payment for services can also be applied, while reducing administration and transaction costs and increasing security.
Andrew Rippon is CEO of Thrupny, a new type of crypto currency, the Income Coin. He is also on the board of two further blockchain projects, Ubex and Fiduxa, both of which have raised significant investments and are delivering technology novation. Andrew has also advised multiple crypto projects in differing spheres, from decentralised data centres to yacht routing and autonomous drones. He lives in Dubai and Sardinia.