Futurists, technologists and millions of general consumers are betting big on cryptocurrencies, tokenization and other systems that operate on the blockchain as the next wave of digital innovation, following the ubiquity of mobile connectivity through the 2000s, and, before that, the advent of home internet in the ‘90s. Project Venkman, an emerging leader in the NFT space, and Acala, the DeFi network, are the latest to stake their bets on the future of blockchain and advance the conversation around Polkadot as an alternative to Ethereum.
According to CB Insights’ Market Sizing Tool, annual spending on blockchain solutions will reach nearly $16 billion by 2023 as more people realize the potential of the technology. However, the issue of interoperability looms over, as platforms compete with one another for dominance, creating a race to the bottom for platforms like Polkadot, Ethereum and others.
Essentially, blockchain technology as of now is like the Tower of Babel: there is a language barrier that prevents blockchain technologies from communicating with one another. Platforms using the technology have allowed for rapid development in the blockchain space, but without interoperability, there is an overall diminished ability to create better decentralized applications that function without any intermediaries or third-party involvement. Interoperability will allow blockchain technologies to communicate with each other, seamlessly make transactions across platforms, and operate smoothly across all decentralized networks. Think of it this way: the internet revolutionized communication and the transfer of information, but if every person that wanted to start a website had to build their own internet, its ecosystem wouldn’t be nearly as user-friendly and the adoption of it likely wouldn’t have been as widespread.
In an economy where data has become a currency in and of itself, blockchain technology’s decentralized nature allows for added value to transform traditional applications in any industry. But lack of interoperability creates hurdles, while also giving competitors a chance to differentiate themselves.
Blockchain platforms are working to steer the developments of the technology in the right direction. Unlike other blockchain networks, Polkadot allows arbitrary information to be transferred across it in addition to tokens. While it may not be the only project making progress in the industry, it is certainly the most widely accessible one and it’s rapidly catching up to the blockchain strongholds of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Currently one of the top-five cryptocurrency platforms, Polkadot was created by Gavin Wood, a co-founder of Ethereum who saw the need for a blockchain technology company that could scale and enable the flow of assets across blockchain technologies. These parallel blockchains are known as “parachains,” and it is this advancement that has not only allowed Polkadot to make significant advancements in the cryptocurrency world, but also extend its applications to other sectors.
Case-in-point: The recently announced partnership between Project Venkman and Acala. Working with Acala as a technology partner, Project Venkman intends to utilize blockchain technology within the retail and marketing space, launching a portfolio of brand engagement solutions using on-chain loyalty points and NFTs. Helmed by chief executive officer Gavin Gillas, Project Venkman has positioned itself to revolutionize the traditional loyalty rewards programs of the past to drive consumer acquisition and retention. By partnering with Acala, Project Venkman is able to harness the disruptive power of blockchain technology to achieve its goals. These enterprise reward programs have been the focus of Project Venkman since its launch in mid-October, with the company identifying old models as lacking transparency, deterring redemptions and undermining consumer engagement.
Recognizing the potential that exists within blockchain technology, Project Venkman will partner with businesses to implement incentivized loyalty rewards programs that provide branded crypto tokens and financial management tools for its customers. Brands will now be able to foster transparency and grow their communities by providing their customers with independently verifiable tangible rewards for purchases and engagement. Project Venkman will also provide its clients with the ability to create collectable NFTs that can be integrated into their community engagement programs.
Acala was founded by members of two Polkadot ecosystem teams, Laminar and Polkawallet. The company brings decentralized financial services to the Polkadot network, including staking liquidity, a decentralized exchange, and an algorithmic stablecoin. Acala holds the unique position of being both an application layer providing these financial offerings, as well as a parachain platform that other teams can use to build upon. Alcala’s adaptability makes an ideal partner for Project Venkman, allowing the flexibility to tailor solutions for client needs.
Project Venkman’s first is theCHIVE, a digital entertainment brand that sees 10 million monthly active users. The online community is known for its irreverent content and merchandise partnerships with celebrities such as Bill Murray, Chris Farley, and John Daly, and has generated over $400 million in revenue to date. Project Venkman and Acala’s partnership will begin with a loyalty and NFT platform build for theCHIVE, with Acala’s network launch expected to happen in late 2021 and their integrations rolling out in the weeks after. theCHIVE members will receive new digital wallets to participate in NFT offerings and earn community tokens, which can be accrued through purchases, content uploads, and comments or time on the website, among other actions. These tokens can then be redeemed for merchandise credit, access to exclusive sales, events or digital rewards, gamifying the traditional retail rewards model in an entirely new way.
Project Venkman and Acala will continue rolling out e-commerce engagement solutions to additional clients and brands over the coming months, offering a small but significant look into the ways in which blockchain technology can be utilized to disrupt industries. The partnership showcases the growing ubiquity and influence of the Polkadot network within the greater blockchain sector, as its advancements in interoperability position it as a leader within the industry. Like the internet before it, blockchain technology has the ability to bring about great societal change, so long as innovation is supported to keep up with progress.