If Maex Ament were 20 years younger, just finished college and looking for a career entry, he would definitely take a closer look at the blockchain technology. He is CEO of Centrifuge. This is a Berlin start-up that builds an open, decentralized blockchain platform for trading and business transactions between companies.
At its core, it’s about financing. Small businesses and medium-sized companies still have limited possibilities today to carry out invoice processing quickly and cheaply. Often it takes several weeks. And that although liquidity is a crucial factor within the financial supply chain. Maex Ament wants to make the payments easier with the other two founders Martin Quensel and Philip Stehlik with the blockchain-based platform Centrifuge. For example, loans or supplier financing. Third parties should also have access to the decentralized platform in order to be able to use a common infrastructure.
“Our concern is that every company in the world manages and maintains its own data and business relationships,” says Ament. No middleman, no intermediary should cultivate business relations between customers and companies. “Worldwide, but especially in Europe, small businesses and SMEs have no access to advantageous financial services,” explains Ament. “If I need a loan and do not want to wait 120 days for my money, then there are hardly any cheap alternatives.”
The Ethereum Blockchain and the Smart Contracts
A little digression of what kind of blockchain the start-up centrifuge uses for its platform: it’s about Ethereum. The platform combines the advantages of blockchain with automatically executable and programmable action chains, the so-called “Smart Contracts”. Digital contracts that work automatically and always come into effect on certain events and follow the “if-then” principle. They therefore do not require human monitoring. This blockchain principle is attractive for almost all industries. That’s why many start-ups work with Ethereum instead of using their own blockchain as a base.
The Start-up Centrifuge is also about these smart contracts. “As a customer, I can prove that I have a business relationship with a company and I can prove that it will pay me in 120 days and I can prove that it has always paid me in the last two years,” explains Ament. And this proof of a business relationship is what I can use to manage financial services with the blockchain.
13 people work at Centrifuge in Berlin. Two big German companies have already won the start-up as customers. Which companies are, the start-up can not tell. Only in six to twelve months will it become clear whether the blockchain-based solution will be of benefit.
The future of Blockchain
Maex Ament sees great potential in Blockchain – above all because of openness and transparency. Every private person keeps his own data. No one will depend more on large corporations like Google or Facebook and other marketplaces. “It will not happen next or next year, probably only in 15 to 20 years,” says Ament. “It feels like 1995, when very few people realized what the Internet is going to change.” At that time you could only send e-mails and many people have wondered why they need fast Internet, the e-mails would also be sent. “That’s 20 years back and that’s what Blockchain will be like in 20 years, the technology will be self-evident, it’s hard to understand right now.”
Whether companies should take a closer look at blockchain technology? The CEO of Centrifuge claims you should be careful. “If I ran a large company, I would not change my entire IT structure and move all the money to the blockchain,” he says. You should familiarize yourself with the technology and wait a bit longer until the blockchain is developed.
The Blockchain is really interesting for anyone interested in technology, be it consulting firms, developers or career starters. For them, the blockchain holds exciting opportunities, according to Ament. “So it makes sense to take a closer look at the blockchain because I think it creates fantastic new job opportunities and business opportunities,” he says.
So an appeal to all crypto fans: Make something of the blockchain.
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Blockchain technology will become the next big digital revolution after the invention of the Internet. But hardly anyone can explain what the Blockchain actually is. She will fundamentally change many areas of life – not least marketing. LEAD explains – as easy and understandable as possible.