Blok Technologies Inc is Commercializing the Application of Blockchain
Blok Technologies Inc (CNSX:BLK) (FRA:2AD) CEO Rob Dawson comments on their recent expansion of their core business. Blok is looking to apply blockchain to the banking app space via their LOI to acquire SimpleBlock. With their latest move, Blok Technologies is now in the Fintech, mobile banking space, building on their established presence in the Cannabis sector.
James West: Rob, welcome back.
Rob Dawson: Thanks, James.
James West: Rob, I saw a recent press release which is really kind of mind-blowing because it takes the company in a whole different direction: you’ve entered into a letter of intent to acquire a mobile banking and payment platform called SimpleBlock. Tell me about that.
Rob Dawson: So James, this is really building out the business model for Block Technologies. Like we talked about last time, we’re really focused on the underlying technology of blockchain and developing applications that commercialize that technology. So we have our existing greenstream acquisition and we’re building out a supply chain management system for the cannabis industry. This second acquisition gets us into the Fintech space; it gets us into mobile banking and payments, which is another vertical that we’ve targeted to move into.
James West: Okay, so Simple Block has started development in 2014. What exactly do they do?
Rob Dawson: So what Simple Block is, is an existing software. It’s a mobile banking and payment solution, it’s already been deployed in Asia very successfully, and they were looking for a partner to be able to commercialize it globally. This is where our discussions began with them.
So we’ve acquired – well, we will be acquiring the rights to the software, to commercialize it into other markets outside of the markets that it’s in, in Asia. What it enables people to do, particularly focused on people that are un-banked or under-banked, it enables them to do basic banking and transactions. So they can transfer money, they can deposit money, they can pay bills, and this is a huge issue, particularly in developing companies, where people don’t have access to banking facilities.
James West: So this stuff would enable them, on their cell phone, to do banking?
Rob Dawson: Absolutely. So right now, McKinsey put out a report recently that said there’s 2.5 billion people across the world that are under-banked. They don’t have the ability to do basic transactions that you and I take for granted. And this type of technology, particularly with the integration of blockchain, enables them to do so.
James West: Okay, so then, who actually pays for the transactions as they happen?
Rob Dawson: So as with other banking processes, there’s small transaction fees that are applied anytime that somebody makes a transaction. So if you are in a developing country and you need to transfer money to a relative, there’d be a small processing fee. Similarly, if you need to make a bill payment, you need to pay for your utilities, your Hydro, there’d be a small processing fee for that, as well. But again, we’re keeping this solution focused on serving a group of people that don’t have this right now, yet they do have mobile phones, and this enables them to do it through their mobile phone.
James West: Hmm. So is there other companies that do this at this point, or is this sort of a new frontier?
Rob Dawson: It’s an emerging technology, so there are other companies that have moved into this space as well. We’re focused initially on developing countries in Africa, and the reason is is that our partner that we’re bringing in already has customers that are looking to deploy this there. So you know, we’re getting into the space to really energize it and to move it forward using blockchain capabilities, and that’s what we’ll be integrating into this existing software.
James West: Sure. So will you be responsible for financing the development of this software into commercialization?
Rob Dawson: Exactly. So what we are doing is, we are gaining a license to the IP to have exclusive rights to the IP for global deployment, and we’ll be integrating blockchain technology into it, and as well, developing commercial relationships with banks in developing countries, with utility companies in developing countries, to deploy this for their customers.
James West: Right. Okay, so that’s interesting, because initially I was under the impression that Block Technologies was going to be marijuana blockchain, or blockchain for the cannabis industry.
Rob Dawson: Right.
James West: With this acquisition, you’ve just done a complete horizontal movement into Fintech or mobile banking, so is it Block Technologies’ intention to become more of a infrastructure blockchain play as opposed to any one given sector?
Rob Dawson: Right. That’s been our business model all along. So again, we’re focused on developing emerging blockchain technologies in specific verticals. We’ve specifically targeted different verticals that have immediate and pressing needs, and there’s market opportunity; obviously the cannabis space is one. And so with our greenstream application, we’re building a network to serve the cannabis industry around supply chain management.
You know, incidentally, that core technology, which is really supply chain integrity and supply chain management, can be applied into other industries as well. So as we deploy out the greenstream solution, we’ll look at the core technology and say okay, what other industries can we serve with this core technology?
The next vertical that we’ve now moved into, or we’re in the process of moving into, is the Fintech space, the banking and payments side, because we know again that this is a space that is ripe for disruption; that blockchain is very well suited to; and by integrating blockchain into this industry, we can make sure that transactions are more secure, they’re faster, they’re more efficient, and essentially enabling people to transact peer-to-peer.
So what you can look for from us is to strategically go into other verticals, to build out our overall business model which is to create a suite of products and technologies that integrate blockchain and have commercial value.
James West: Great! Well, that’s an awesome update. Sounds like you’re really moving along. Thanks for coming in, Rob.
Rob Dawson: Thank you, my pleasure.
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