カテゴリーアーカイブ: Adoption

eBay Teases Crypto Expansion

eBay News Bit

Popular e-commerce provider eBay has released promotional materials suggesting that its is ready to accept “virtual currencies” and offer “digital collectibles.”

The ads have appeared at Consensus 2019, a cryptocurrency and blockchain summit taking place this week in New York. In addition to hinting that eBay will soon offer support for cryptocurrencies, they feature claims about the company’s online reach and user count.

Because the initial ads didn’t mention any cryptocurrencies in particular, it’s unclear if the online marketplace plans to focus on Bitcoin or other tokens. At the time of this writing, the e-commerce company hasn’t released any public information about an expansion into crypto beyond the ads. It’s likely that eBay will offer more information before the conclusion of Consensus.

However, the marketplace has been contemplating bitcoin as a method of payment for some time. Scott Cutler, senior vice president of eBay, told Yahoo Finance in 2017 that the company was seriously considering accepting bitcoin for payments on its platform.

Either way, this prospect will serve as good news for crypto enthusiasts. As one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world, with a $31 billion market capitalization, eBay’s potential adoption of digital assets would certainly serve as a boost for the global crypto industry.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Sats Back: How the Ebates of Bitcoin Plans to Convert Holders to Spenders


“The merchants don’t want the banks either — that’s the alignment no one talks about. Look at what Kroger did. They pulled out of Visa. The retailers are on the good side.”

Alex Adelman, co-founder and CEO of Lolli, should know. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011, the entrepreneur started Cosmic, an e-commerce gateway “with the idea to democratize commerce, allowing anyone to buy anything anywhere,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. The company, after an initial acquisition by PopSugar Inc., would end up in the hands of e-commerce cashback giant Ebates, and Adelman and his CTO, Matt Senter, would stay on staff after the buyout.

Now, the duo are taking their experience working at Ebates and their original dream to “democratize commerce” to a new network of technology and clientele: Bitcoin.

From Cash Back to Sats Back

While working at Ebates, Adelman told us that he learned “why people buy, how people use cashback programs,” — the hows and whys that would eventually lay the foundation for building Lolli’s bitcoin-back platform.

From craft beer memberships to VPNs to clothing, you can shop for just about anything on Lolli, though Adelman says travel is the most popular category (this is perhaps due to the fact that most airline booking sites, like CheapOAir, which accepts crypto as payment, give a flat rate in bitcoin back rather than a percentage).

Like Ebates’ own model, Lolli’s is simple and enticing: Shop online with Lolli’s participating retailers and earn a variable amount of bitcoin back as a reward. Launched just six months ago, the platform already has 10,000 active users, Adelman told Bitcoin Magazine, and it’s struck up partnerships with retail and online service leaders like Walmart, Overstock and Bookings.com. These are just a few names out of the 500 partners Lolli has brought to the platform as it continues to sprout and grow.

The seeds for the company were sown over five years ago when Adelman was on a trip to New York while he was still building Cosmic. He was couch surfing at the time while navigating the choppy waters of New York’s sea of industry, attempting to form partnerships and secure capital for his first startup.

Adelman said he doesn’t like the “Hollywood-ization” of those moments when the entrepreneurial light bulb clicks on and a business idea shines forth. But he also said that, if he could pick a moment when the initial spark for Lolli’s conceptualization was kindled, it was one fateful night at a New York bar when he met the soon-to-be co-founder of Blockstack, Ryan Shea.

“A couple of years into [Cosmic], we learned about bitcoin. On a trip to New York, I bumped into Ryan Shea randomly through a friend of a friend at a bar, and he had just learned about bitcoin and he talked my ear off for like three hours. And everything he said resonated with me,” Adelman said.

“Everyone has that friend or that moment. I was obsessed. Everything we were building was on top of fiat rails and all breakages we were seeing were with payments. We were getting taxed by every single one of these layers that has no real purpose or reason.”

Still, it would take years of careful deliberation and focus before Adelman and Senter would go full bitcoin with Lolli. Adelman’s glad they waited, telling Bitcoin Magazine that he doesn’t think they “would have had the same success if we tried to implement it five years ago.”

Originally, though, the team wasn’t going to build it for Bitcoin. After leaving Ebates, Adelman said that he and Matt toyed with Solidity to see if they could build a DApp for this use case. He was on a bit of an altcoin kick, he admits, and thought that Ethereum might be a good fit for the platform. That was until he took a walk in Washington Square Park with friend and fellow Bitcoiner Arjun Balaji.

“I was talking about some of the stuff we were building in Solidity and he asked pretty bluntly, ‘When’s the last time you read the Satoshi Whitepaper?’ And truthfully, I hadn’t read it in a couple years. It’s so basic, so I felt like I knew it,” he said.

“I read it again, and it hit me like this source of truth. And speaking candidly, I said, ‘What am I doing? Everything’s in Bitcoin. That’s where it starts.’”

“So I started the concept for this idea that was so simple: Ebates but for bitcoin. Giving people cash back in the form of bitcoin as a way to distribute bitcoin to more people.”

Between Adelman’s background of shopping Cosmic to retailers over the last seven years and Senter’s developing skills, “all these things beautifully came together, and Matt and I just started building.”

Matt hammered out a prototype in “about two weeks,” and Adelman began shopping around this beta to some retailers.

Turning Holders into Spenders

Today, Lolli continues to grow and, as it grows, Adelman believes that not only will it bring more people into the bitcoin ecosystem to passively earn the cryptocurrency, but it will eventually convert holders into users. Then, the companies that participate in the sats-back program will be incentivized to accept bitcoin as more users leverage the program and show interest in spending their bitcoin on actual services.

“The next stage — these earners are going to become spenders. Once they hold bitcoin, they’re going to want to spend it.”

For now, though, he says that the retailers are just happy to have the additional coverage. It wasn’t hard to convince them to play ball, he told us, because much like with Ebates, the cost is negligible and can be seen as a marketing expense. Lolli drives users to their sites because, like with Ebates, “people are loyal to [the service], not the particular brands.”

After these users purchase goods on these sites, Lolli receives a commission from that purchase and they credit the user’s account with bitcoin that the company buys from “top OTCs,” Adelman said. He emphasized that all user information is anonymized (the retailers don’t see names, only user IDs when someone shops using the service) and that the company does not make money by selling data, a misconception that the company has been crusading against online.

When asked whether or not the platform would expand to other cryptos, Adelman said he’s a big believer in free markets, and that people can spend their bitcoin or trade it for other cryptos if they wish. So, for now, he’s loyal to bitcoin, and he would rather focus on enriching the platform’s functionality before adding support for other coins.

In the works, for instance, is a category search function that will allow users to type in the item or services they’re searching for on the site to streamline their search. Until that feature is ready, customers can reach out to Lolli customer support to request an item and they will search for participating retailers to find the best deal for you. Adelman believes that this human factor and customer service will ultimately allow his new company to outcompete the legacy cashback company he came from.

“It’s all about good branding. We want people to associate good customer service with bitcoin. And if we can do that, it’ll mean more people defaulting to Lolli for bitcoin over Ebates in the long run.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

UnionBank Launches Two-Way Bitcoin ATM in the Philippines

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The UnionBank of the Philippines, one of the leading financial institutions in the country, has launched a two-way bitcoin automated teller machine (ATM), according to a story in local media outlet Philstar.

This is the country’s second crypto ATM that provides users with the ability to sell and purchase digital assets like bitcoin for pesos, the country’s official currency. The country’s first bitcoin machine was installed in Manila by BitCoiniacs in 2015.

The UnionBank has reportedly collaborated with the Filipino Central Bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

UnionBank, the country’s seventh largest bank told Philstar, “In the bank’s continued quest to cater to the evolving needs and tastes of customers, including clients who use virtual currency, the ATM will provide these clients an alternative channel to convert their pesos to virtual currency and vice versa.”

So far, the bank hasn’t mentioned its intention to deploy more ATMs in the future, but it will be monitoring the usage and performance of the ATM, which could impact what it does next.

Bitcoin in the Philippines

In a country where about 77 percent of the population doesn’t have a bank account, crypto bridges the gap and creates inclusion for financial services.

Coins.ph, a leading crypto exchange in the country, celebrated the onboarding of 5 million Filipinos on its platform in May 2018.

Another reason why crypto is so prevalent in the Philippines is remittances, which make up 10 percent of its GDP. The country is the third largest remittance receiving country in the world. For Filipinos overseas, cryptocurrencies offer a cheaper way of sending money to relatives at home.

For a country that is proactive with crypto regulations and was among the first nations to recognize it as an asset class, the deployment of regulated crypto ATMs could foster mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies, build investor confidence and help develop the local cryptocurrency sector.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoiner 2029: Another Ten Years On

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The following is an imaginative, fictitious account of what the world could look like in 2029 and how Bitcoin might evolve to revolutionize economic, monetary and free-market systems. Unfortunately, time machines haven’t been invented in this speculative future so we couldn’t verify the accuracy of the narrator’s experienceplease take the following story with a healthy grain of idealistic salt.

As I walked out on the tarmac, the West Coast winter climate, brisk and sharp, broke over me. The sun set over the west bay in a splendor of sherbert radiance. Some 20 miles away, I envisioned the sepia luster of the Golden Gate stretching across the bay, that bastion of 20th century industry blending with the gradually darkening backdrop of the day’s paling light.

Immediately I was taken back to my first crypto conference in the Bay Area some 11 years earlier — right on the brink of the crypto craze of 2017. A fledgling industry, we found ourselves positioned in an ecosystem that was challenging the economic norm with feverish and diehard persistence. Bitcoin was a revolution, and we were accelerating a movement that would disrupt the monetary realm as we knew it. It was a thrilling time; we were building the future.

Now, the same flutters of excitement I experienced in 2017 morphed into the euphoria of triumph. The future we imagined — we had built it.

An act of happenstance, the consequence of this triumph greeted me as I stepped from the tarmac into the warm, aseptic fluorescence of the SFO airport. Greeting me at the door like a stalwart guardian of old, its paint peeling and brittle from lack of care, a defunct currency exchange booth sat like the gutted relic of a different time.

The sight conjured memories of my childhood, when my father would vent about the fees charged for currency conversion at these booths.

“12 percent?” he’d say in disbelief. “It’s straight theft! Should have done it beforehand at the bank — of course, their rates are about as bad though,” he always conceded.

I laid my hand on the jaundiced linoleum countertop.

“You put up a good fight, old boy,” I muttered, giving the booth a sympathy pat.

A janitor within earshot looked up from the tile floor he was tending and flashed me a dubious look, complete with cocked eyebrow.

“Sorry, just reminiscing,” I replied awkwardly.

Gathering my composure, I headed to the baggage claim, collected my luggage and proceeded to the rideshare section of the terminal. I opened my Decentralift app and requested a car.

Standing in wait for my ride, I surveyed the news for the day on my BitLive app.

The New York Times: January 3, 2029: “In the New Year, POTUS, Congress Wrestle With New Economy”

The Wall Street Journal: January 3, 2029: “Investment Banks Faces Bankruptcy as Wall Street Debt Crisis Worsens”

Bitcoin Magazine: January 3, 2029: “China and Russia’s Mining War With the West Is About to Get More Entrenched”

Millennial Daily: January 3, 2029: “EU Parliament Convenes Emergency Session in Shadow of Global Economic Downturn”

The Times: “Pressure On: Parliament on Brink of Passing Crypto Tender Bill in Wake of EU’s Adoption”

I paid 1,000 sats for the NYT’s headliner, and I even shelled out for The Times article too, mainly for sentimental reasons.

Standing in waiting for my ride, I opened the NYT article and started reading.

Newly re-elected President Ables and the Democratic-controlled Congress continue to look down the barrel of a currency crisis as long-standing Wall Street Institutions like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan continue to fold under the pressures of bankruptcy.

These closures are the climax of a financial paradigm shift that began when Congress passed the “Cryptocurrency Tender Recognition Act” of 2027, legislation that categorizes cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as legal tender under U.S. law. The law was prompted by the surging demand for bitcoin and other private currencies by U.S. employees and a wave of adoption as major brands, such as Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Nike and others began accepting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a sole method of payment.

Congress is meeting with the President and the Federal Reserve, as well as CEOs from the nation’s largest private banks, on Thursday to discuss the crisis and break ground on a relief plan.

“The COIN Act was a safety-net plan of sorts. It outfitted the United States with the most powerful mining operation on the planet, and we’ve been actively liquidating portions of our precious metal reserves in favor of bitcoin and other cryptos,” House Banking Committee Chair Vicente González told the New York Times.

“Still, the Thursday meeting is critically important. We also recognize the need to aid these financial institutions for the betterment of our economy and constituents as we confront a paradigm shift in monetary policy.”

Representatives from Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and the Federal Reserve declined the New York Times’ request for comment.

“Long time coming,” I muttered to myself.

European change was underway too, with the EU Parliament just recently voting to recognize bitcoin as legal tender. The legalization was, in part, encouraged by the actions of member states like Germany, France, Norway and Spain passing individual legislation to give cryptocurrencies status as legal tender as the euro’s popularity continues to peter out.

The rest of the EU will have some catch-up to play, though, I mused. Scandinavian countries (taking a bit of a cue from Canada) began establishing gargantuan mining farms in the early ’20s, making good use of the abundance of renewable energy these countries have produced with hydroelectric dams. No doubt that’ll cut into what González called “the most powerful mining operation on the planet.”

Not to mention that the resources Russia and China have been pouring into mining industries and the escalation of what’s shaping up to become a multinational, multi-decade mining war. Now that crypto is becoming the monetary standard for international trade, this ain’t your granddaddy’s trade war. What’s to come will make the Trump-era embargoes look like a training exercise.

I was about halfway through the article when my Decentralift pulled up. “Mike. B.’s Black 2027 Tesla Model S has arrived,” my phone chimed.

Using my Watchlet smart watch, I scanned a QR code on the outside of the backseat door handle, the RSK smart contract immediately unlocked the door, and I hopped in.

“Welcome to Mike B.’s self-driving car, Colin Harper!” the car grated, my name itself distinguished by that strange, too-mechanical accent when the AI jumps from its library of set phrases to something variable like a new passenger’s name.

“Thank you for choosing Decentralift today. Thanks to your dedication to responsible ridesharing, you’ve saved 2.14 grams of CO2 emissions.”

As the self-driving car drove on, a decade of perspective became my rearview. The first go-around, my Lyft fare was roughly $35 from the airport to my lodging at The Red Victorian. This time, my Decentralift was 14,000 sats.

I reviewed Mike B.’s reputation ratings on the Decentralift app. Mostly good — a 4.2 rating. A common qualm: riders complained that Mike’s car had an uncanny odor to it, a miasmic mixture akin to chlorine and pine-scented air fresheners. Many found it overbearing. My guess was that Mike was somewhat of an OCD neatfreak, probably cleans his car obsessively to rid it of the invisible remnants of the unknown strangers that use his vehicle each day.

A copy of Time magazine sat for leisure reading in the back pouch of the driver’s seat, and the very humanizing gesture struck me as playfully ironic coming from an autonomous vehicle. “From Renegades to Revolutionaries: How Bitcoin’s Earliest Evangelists Built Crypto Empires in the Shadows of Suspicion,” the cover read.

A decade ago, some outsiders might have called our work groundbreaking, and some still might have called us revolutionaries. Most of those willing to give the industry a pat on the back and a gold star were those already working in it. Even those who thought that there was good work to be done were somewhat skeptical.

But to many, we were rebels — or worse: anarchists, outcasts, basement dwellers, drug dealers, fraudsters, dark-web peddlers, money launderers, degenerate gamblers, tax evaders. Our currency was baseless, our intentions were unscrupulous, our technology was overhyped and our vision was dangerously contrarian.

Back then, the New York Times was publishing articles like “Everyone Is Getting Hilarious Rich and You’re Not”; now on the front page are stories about how bitcoin and crypto have begun to topple a nearly century-old fiat economy. Then, Nobel Prize economist Robert Shiller was calling it “an interesting experiment, but … not a permanent feature of our lives”; in 2028, Satoshi Nakamoto was the first pseudonymous/anonymous person(s) to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Out the right-hand window, a stretch of Bitcoin and crypto-related billboards advertised the very companies that those revolutionaries had built.

“No internet? No problem! Run a full Andromeda Node right from your mobile device to send and receive payments anytime, anywhere using Blockstream’s Bitcoin Satellite. To learn more, visit blockstream.com/satellite.”

Another board branded with the tagline, “Your data. Your content. Your value. Reclaim your online independence with Bitlive.” On it, a knight clad in binary code chainmail wielding a Bitcoin shield, defending against a dragon, blasting the shield with breath that appeared to consist partly of Terms of Use legal language.

I chuckled a bit to myself, calling to mind the inexhaustible list of ICOs and token projects that tried to solve the content monetization problem. Didn’t need a utility token for that. The irony that the billboard, in part, is a stand-in for the industry that BitLive replaced also struck me as good fun.

The rest of the drive was filled with physical reminders of the space’s progression. They rolled on, exit to exit, in the forms of billboards and company names emblazoned on the tops of skyscrapers. At one point, Zug, Switzerland, had earned the moniker Crypto Valley for the density of crypto companies attracted to the region for its accommodating legislation. Silicon Valley had caught up, along with plenty of other crypto hubs: Toronto, Canada; Vaduz, Lichtenstein; Seoul, South Korea; and others.

Our “far-flung” visions were materializing.

Renegades to revolutionaries.

I reached the Intercontinental a little before 6:00 p.m.

“Thank you for choosing Decentralift today, Colin,” the AI droned. “Would you like assistance with your luggage?”

“No, thanks,” I replied and grabbed my carry-on bag.

Walking into the hotel, I checked my reservation details on my watch and made straight for my room on the 21st floor. Beside the elevator was a conference banner, one of many on display throughout the hotel.

Welcome to Bitcoin 2029: The Premier Bitcoin Conference” it read. Below was an impressive list of speakers, some highly respected, old standards, others exciting new voices.

Andreas Antonopoulos was coming out of a hard-earned sabbatical. This was the first conference he’d be keynoting since 2026. Samantha Styles, who had made her name during the Hard Fork Wars of 2025, would be speaking on “Crises in Consensus and the Importance of Decentralized Governance.” Elizabeth Stark, Colter Simpson, Gail Tenpenny, Adam Back, Preethi Kasireedy and Jun Li were all giving tech demonstrations. Even Roger Ver was speaking, having come back to the Bitcoin community following the Bitcoin Cash Chain Split of 2018 and a five-year journey of introspection.

Reaching the 21st floor, I found my room and unlocked its door with my Watchlet. The room featured an expansive view of the city. Surveying the sprawling cityscape, I noticed a massive crowd of protesters concentrated in the Yerba Buena Gardens. The throng was spilling over from the adjacent Moscone Convention Center, pouring onto Howard Street and clogging its throughway to the detriment of any potential traffic — and to the detriment of attendees of the World Banking Expo, which was taking place in the convention center.

“Maybe Caleb is among them,” I wondered.

Cousin Caleb stayed on my mind as I left the hotel for a grocery run. A crypto donation center directly outside the entrance to the Intercontinental made his situation all the more poignant. I made my way to the burnt-orange box, no bigger than the neglected ATMs (bitcoin or traditional) whose ubiquitous uselessness still littered cities around the globe.

These donation centers dated back to the early ’20s, the project of an anonymous-yet-steadfast group of crypto philanthropists, but it wasn’t until the recent debt/monetary crises that they began propagating in record numbers overnight.

They were built to redistribute crypto wealth to nocoiners and those without proper access to bitcoin, people like Caleb. Caleb did put money into the ecosystem — he just put it in the wrong places. Like many others, he accepted his wages and converted paper into stablecoins. But he didn’t buy anything like Dai or an algorithmic-backed coin — he put his money into fiat-collateralized coins.

Cue the rapid devaluation of the dollar and the international monetary crisis. Hyperbitcoinization has been great for those of us who saw it coming, but it’s been painful for others and there’s plenty of work to be done to iron out the economic disparities.

I expect we’ll see many more protests like the one obstructing the World Banking Expo in the next decade, I thought, scanning my Watchlet to donate 0.0025 BTC to the cause.

As I stepped into the Locavore supermarket near my hotel, it made me grateful that not every service was exclusively online yet. Some IRL experiences can’t be beat, I thought.

Gathering my groceries, I checked the tracking information for each item on the blockchain. Now, it was easy to tell if a store was misrepresenting a product’s origin and whether or not its attributes, organic or otherwise, were correct. Locavore rarely faltered in its mission to provide “transparent and locally sourced food,” but I checked anyway — it was always entertaining to map the network of farms the food came from.

Perusing the aisles, certain items shared a bitcoin and USD price tag; others had their USD price tags removed entirely. I was a bit shocked to see USD denominations at all, but rationalized that slowly tapering off the dollar was probably a responsible move on the store’s part.

I proceeded to the checkout.

“Welcome, valued customer.” The self-checkout’s chipper tone belied in its automated voice. After I finished scanning my items, it asked if I would like to round up my purchase to donate to Crypto Giver, the same organization behind the donation boxes. Acquiescing, I paid and headed back to my hotel.

I made my way to the bar to grab a beer and prep for a panel I was moderating: “Banking the Unbanked and Unbanking the Banked: What Two Decades Have Meant for Adoption.” In the late ’10s, Bitcoin’s utility was on display in countries like Venezuela, Iran and Turkey. But the sudden onslaught of the Second Great Depression would give the first world a taste for what a decentralized monetary system meant for an economy entrenched in rampant inflation and debt-riddled chaos.

Maybe you think I’m being hyperbolic, but it wasn’t until a global economic crisis on par with (or more extreme than) the Great Recession that bitcoin could be truly battle tested. Satoshi created it in response to ubiquitous market disaster, but it would take another disaster (in part, incited by the same problems as the first) for the currency to function holistically as Satoshi intended: a global, permissionless currency that, freed from the centralized control of a monolithic entity, could flourish for the people as a hedge against inflation and monetary instability.

I ordered a stout as these thoughts crossed my mind and made their way into my notebook. The bar used the Andromeda satellite network to let me pay from my tab without having to connect to the internet, something that still blows my mind as I think back to the early days of Lightning.

Finishing my stout, I thought about some of the changes the last 10 to 15 years had seen: from layer 1 to layer 2 solutions, from lightweight wallet clients to lightweight nodes on smartphones, from Lightning to Andromeda, from basic payments to everyday smart contracts. What was originally a case for digital cash and a deflationary economy had put down its roots in the free market and grown into an ubiquitous, decentralized economy.

During my first trip to San Francisco, bitcoin was known only through hype and still regarded as a fringe technology. Now, it was changing how we interacted with everything: donations, groceries, hotel reservations and rideshares. It had become bigger than those skeptics could fathom and even bigger than what its early proponents could dream.

Leaving the bar, I made my way to a 7:30 speakers’ dinner at Cheekwood, the first restaurant in the U.S. to begin accepting crypto only as a payment method.

Just like the space’s early adopters, Cheekwood was mocked by food critics and related media. It wouldn’t last the month, they sneered. “Probably the most idiotic decision in San Francisco dining history,” one critic wrote.

But it thrived, and it has become a watering hole for crypto enthusiasts ever since.

It was all too fitting, then, that we chose to break bread at Cheekwood the eve before the conference. Far from a last supper, the meal personified all that the industry had been through in its two decades of existence: ingenuity, mockery, persistence and victory.

The decentralized future had won out.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Nick Spanos: Saudi Arabia Is “Kicking the Tires — and That’s Huge”

Nick Spanos: Saudi Arabia Is "Kicking the Tires — and That's Huge"

In line with its Vision 2030 commitment to become the world leader in blockchain adoption, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Aramco oil company is partnering with Nick Spanos and his company Zap.org to put Saudi oil industry management and accounting on the blockchain.

Second only to the U.S. in world oil production, Saudi Arabia sees an opportunity to pull ahead and become the number one oil producer in the world.

Saudi Arabia’s petroleum sector accounts for 42 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, 87 percent of their budget revenues and 90 percent of export earnings.

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Nick Spanos, CEO and co-founder of Zap.org, and founder of Blockchain Technologies Corp and the Bitcoin Centre NYC, talked about the Saudis’ enthusiasm for blockchain technology:

“Saudi Arabia is kicking the tires, and that’s huge. As part of their ambitious Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia as a whole is doing everything it can to modernize and diversify their economy. It means they’re open to doing things differently — and to doing big things with blockchain,” said Spanos.

Everyone we meet is thrilled about the potential of blockchain. It’s not just for oil, and you’ll see a lot come from here very soon.

Eliminating Fraud and Human Error in the Oil Industry with EnergyLedger

Spanos is working with the Aramco company to build a secure supply management chain and smart contracts on the blockchain using a DApp called EnergyLedger. As Spanos explains:

“Since the beginning of oil production, there’s never been a way to truly secure and track the process to prevent fraud, nor any way to automate the chain-of-custody and settlements to virtually eliminate the window for human error. All of this is now possible.

“Zap.org’s next-generation smart contracts are revolutionizing blockchain applications everywhere, and we also realized that the energy sector needed a dedicated, custom solutions provider, so Zap.org is powering EnergyLedger, the killer decentralized application for oil and gas.”

How It Works

The existing oil infrastructure — flow meters, pipelines, barrels, tanks, terminals and trucks — are tied into the Internet of Things and onto the blockchain, via Zap.org’s oracles.  

Each time a barrel is produced, it will be matched with a utility token generated from that particular flow meter, which constantly reports to the smart contract.

At each point in the process, from upstream to downstream, that barrel will be tracked and everyone involved in the process — the contractors, the tax collectors, the truckers — will only be paid at the moment that they’ve verifiably performed what needs to be done for that barrel.

It’s all automated, and overhead costs will be slashed as thousands of accountants, finance professionals and back office traders will no longer be needed.

The U.S. Oil Industry Falls Behind in Blockchain Adoption

According to Investopedia, the world’s top five oil producers in 2016 were the U.S. (14.86 m. b/d), Saudi Arabia (12.39 b/d), Russia (11.24 m. b/d), China (4.87 m. b/d) and Canada (4.59 m. b/d).

While the U.S. oil industry hasn’t embraced blockchain technology, Spanos says that there are many other oil-producing nations looking to use it. He says:

“There’s [blockchain] activity on most continents, notably in Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, UAE, China, Singapore, Nigeria, Russia and more. They’ve reported that they’ve already implemented blockchain or are testing it for wider applications.”

“The U.S. appears to be lagging; we have yet to hear of anyone in the U.S. industry testing blockchain, other than a small drilling firm in Texas that we just began working with.”

Spanos agreed that it was odd that all of the high-profile oil industry blockchain trials are happening outside of the U.S. but suspects that it won’t be the case for much longer.

“One reason is the regulatory climate, in which blockchain industry startups choose instead to create hubs abroad, where there isn’t this cloud of doubt hanging over them from what the regulators will do to the industry,” says Spanos.

“Even as the regulatory environment under the new president has become more favorable, blockchain will still go a long way to helping with regulatory compliance. The cost savings along the line will bring costs — and prices — down for the U.S. consumer and manufacturing.”

Spanos concluded that the U.S. oil industry will likely be converting to a blockchain soon.

“America is heading toward energy independence, and if it wants to remain competitive and continue this trend, then it will seek to match or surpass what the competition is doing — and they won’t be doing it the same way for much longer,” Spanos noted.

Anyone who does not implement what blockchain has to offer, in some way or another, will fall behind. The benefits are just too immense.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.