Hybridverse Workchain case study: how a decentralized business model can be an effective instrument [even] during a pandemic breakout.
“If anything would kill over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’d most likely be a highly infective virus rather than a war — not missiles, but microbes,” warned Bill Gates during a TED Talk five years ago.”
Unfortunately, governments didn’t take in consideration Mr Gates’s warning until a few months ago when the pandemic outbreak actually happened and took the world under the iron curtain of mandatory isolation and shutdown.
Many would say that Gates’s words have been prophetic but that’d be highly incorrect as his words were the result of an accurate scientific research that exposed the vulnerability of the world’s response in a pandemic scenario, highlighting the fact that governments have spent more for nuclear deterrents (defense against other humans) than for a viable pandemic risk management.
The current situation teaches many things, with the main concept being “always carefully evaluate scientific predictions, especially those made by a man that has revolutionized the world with his technology”, however, now it has happened and we have to deal with it, as the world turns, logistics keeps going, people keep working and the in dustrial world cannot fully stop, because that would mean the end of civilization as we know it.
[virus or not] “a productive society must go on”
Italy has been the first country after China to enact strong countermeasures in this sense, the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and his government had passed a 25 billion euro package “activating” 350 billion euros more of measures to ease the economic pain of the corona-virus and was building a plan to protect businesses, families and workers. Businesses must enact “smart working” also known as “remote working” in order to ensure continuity (where possible).
In this optic, a crucial role is played by IT businesses that can provide remote services with little or no changes to the “pre-pandemic” business model.
Hundreds of companies are already adapted or are shaping to provide tools that allow to ease the quarantine of the citizens, services that allow to:
- work remotely, through fast and free connectivity and the use of advanced smart working platforms;
- read a newspaper for free even without going to the newsstand or a book without going to the library on your smartphone or tablet;
- keep up with school and training courses, thanks to e-learning platforms, as proposed by the Ministry of Education;
- use digital online services, such as accessing public or specialist services, such as medical or professional advice;
- carry out a distance of activities of everyday life, such as shopping, sporting activities, but also socializing, political and religious life, associations, or even hobbies, such as the arts or cooking.
As time goes by, many more more European countries are following the “Italian model” and enacting similar countermeasures, we recently received a vademecum from the Irish Dept of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, providing a checklist of preparatory actions to mitigate the outbreak.
As we all share the benefits of living in an industrialized society, it’s very much understandable that a total shutdown of every business and productive activity it just isn’t possible as it would be the end of society as we know it.
We see that in a moment of difficulty where human interaction has to be limited to the essential, technology once again, provides a big help to reach such goal, the “AGILE” model, “smart working” and “remote productivity” are terms that now are well known to companies and individuals well beyond the IT sector, this is a demonstration that the IT industry is always a step ahead of the others, however it’s also true you can’t grow and eat a computer, but you can instruct a computer to instruct a robot and grow crop on your behalf.
COVID-19 has boosted smart working adoption
Smart working, therefore, is a flexible way of working, free from the old business logics, from rigid schedules, from the obligatory office presence; it is, rather, a way to view work that focuses on results. Also, today’s job market itself demands flexibility: possessing soft skills and problem solving abilities can make a difference. The pandemic accelerated and exposed the benefits of smart working which is a flexible way of working, free from the old business logics, from rigid schedules, from the obligatory office presence; it is, rather, a way to view work that focuses on results, cuts fixed costs related to office rental variable costs related to bills and improves the overall productivity.
Another important point is that today’s job market itself demands flexibility: possessing soft skills and problem solving abilities can make a difference.
Hybridverse’s Workchain decentralized working
Critical situations always have a “double-outcome” they serve questions and answers as well as they find those who are prepared and those who aren’t.
Preparedness can be the result of two outcomes as well:
i. scientific research conducted in order to mitigate a risk
ii. innovation conducted to provide a better solution than the present one
Hybridverse is a core technology company providing a new way of doing business, the Workchain, a decentralized economy made of decentralized workers, where settlements are automatized via smart contracts technology.
In this period we’ve heard about AGILE, smart working and else but nobody has talked about decentralized working, this is very much understandable as the decentralized working business model of the Workchain it’s way ahead of times and it’s still in development at Hybridverse Labs. However in this tragedy the world is in, we can surely affirm that a decentralized working model is way more effective that a smart working model, because of factors and benefits that can be implemented thanks to the underlying blockchain technology, obviously, such model can be implemented “only” in blockchain based systems, and this is not a way of saying “we’re better than others” but instead we’re saying “in this critical situation we’ve found a better way to transfer value across business parties”, and even though there are some limits which as previously said are related to the underlying blockchain technology, the benefits of adopting a decentralized business model are variegated:
- Payments and settlements are regulated via smart contracts
- Agreements are signed directly via with the worker private key
- Referral IDs are public keys on a public blockchain network
- The removal of the need of trust removes the need of human interaction
- Any smart contract compatible function can be independently coded and implemented on top of the Workchain by developers where needed
A practical example between smart working and decentralized working business implementations
Let’s start our example of with remote working, supposing that an IT SaaS business decides to go “full remote” and Frank, the sales manager has to adapt his sales strategy accordingly and new subscriptions agreements have to be fulfilled remotely, now, in terms of sales strategy, very little has changed as Frank is a very good seller and the services he sells are so convenient that he doesn’t have to be physically present in order to get a deal. But, during the settlement phase, an issue arises, how Frank is going to sign the contract?
He could use an E-signature, but the E-signature represents a point of risk especially in cross-border settlements when an E-signature belonging to a State isn’t recognized in another state, additionally, a further problem arises from how the validity of this signature can be verified by the customer (in more simpler terms, how a customer can know that the signature belongs to the company representative? E-mails can also be easily spoofed.
Unfortunately, the internet is full of scammers that use the vulnerability of centralized systems in order to take advantage of those who aren’t savvy with technology, and here’s exactly where blockchain technology can stop them.
Unlike a centralized SaaS sales model that relies on organizational trust, the Workchain SaaS model relies on cryptographic trust, where the electronic signature or e-mail address is substituted with a blockchain public key that cannot be duplicated or spoofed and every agreement is signed with the related user private key, additionally, the payment settlement can be sent in a fully machine-to-machine interaction directly and transparently removing the need of making a payment based on trust. Of course, given the current limits of the technology it’s not possible to implement such systems, but we are confident that with the evolution of this technology (especially in regards to on-chain/off-chain communication) smart contract based settlements can be expanded to non-blockchain industries and perhaps to the primary and secondary sector with the the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence.
Innovating the present for a better future
As we said earlier, innovation results from problem solving, which can be enacted when the problem is already present or even better when the problem isn’t present yet. Lastly but not for importance, we want to thank all those “off-chain” workers such as doctors, nurses, cleaners, delivery people, farmers and many many others that allow us in the technology sector to have the instruments to innovate, because without them technology wouldn’t exist and every part is important, especially in such a scenario as we are in it now.
For these and other reasons, we’re studying and researching how we can help our society today while we develop the solutions of tomorrow.
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