ETHNews had an opportunity to speak with one of the newest members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), Antony Welfare. His work in retail over the past decade-and-a-half often took him to the cutting edge of consumer database technology, ecommerce, and digital storefronts. Now he is an industry leader with the knowledge of how to implement blockchain technology into ecommerce.
Welfare told ETHNews about the intersection of his career with blockchain technology:
“I have a background in retail and ecommerce, where I have been growing and developing retailers worldwide. A large part of my experience has been with digital transformation into the online and mobile space, which has given me an in-depth understanding of the complex operations and processes within retail. This deep understanding opened my eyes to blockchain technology 18 months ago.”
As one of the latest additions to the EEA, Welfare is now using his extensive retail knowhow to fuse blockchain technology and retail management.
Keeping pace with rapid blockchain integration across the technological spectrum will require more and more demand to be placed upon industry actors like Welfare. They will be asked to draw upon their expertise for building connective tissues between end-user retailers and the people building the digital landscape of supply chains that drive modern commerce. Welfare elaborated about his initial efforts with the EEA:
“The immediate focus is to assess the market opportunities for Ethereum within the [existing] retailers’ networks. The scale of opportunity for blockchain with global retailers and brands is significant. Retailers operations are highly complex with many inter-connecting data sets and differing parties involved. Blockchain will bring significant efficiencies to these processes and open up new ways to drive excellent customer experience … I have now completed extensive research into the technology and I focus on understanding how the Ethereum network can help retailers solve problems like trust, transparency, provenance, efficiency and smart contracts [EDCCs].”
With the hype surrounding the Consensus 2017 conference in New York recently, there is an incredible amount of conjecture from businesses throwing ideas for blockchain solutions at a wide array of issues. Seeing what sticks will take time. The technologies are ready for adoption, but waking people up to the potential of what these new technologies can do is sometimes more difficult than developing the blockchain systems themselves. People like Welfare become invaluable in this type of a paradigm. He told ETHNews:
“The retail supply chain is global and extremely complex, with millions of data points and systems sharing and processing data. A blockchain solution for a retailer’s full supply chain would ensure accurate data at all stages of the product’s journey shared in real time. This means better information and efficiency… if we can connect the IOT [Internet-of-Things] in a factory making a product, that data can be shared automatically on the blockchain and give the exact time, location, and machine that made that part of the product. This would give the customers a complete audit trail of the end product’s journey…thus giving transparency and trust to them. Other areas I would see for retailers and consumers to be excited: Loyalty schemes with plenty of flexibility and complete transparency, affiliate marketing campaigns with complete trust, payments made in seconds worldwide, consumer deliveries tracked and the data shared real-time with the consumer, and of course costs savings which can be invested in better prices and quality.”
As quickly as blockchain technologies are being developed, they are about to start being adopted and implemented. They already come in numerous varieties but finding the best fit often requires extensive study to hash out the pros and cons of one particular technology in relation to others. When the bottom line is a business’ prosperity in the era of blockchains, Welfare is already becoming a sought after resource for people interested in the Ethereum chain. He told ETHNews:
“During my research and many discussions, Ethereum always came up as the most advanced and flexible network. The smart contract basis of Ethereum means that there are many use cases within retail. The serious and comprehensive support from leading businesses and academics to support Ethereum is a great barometer for future success in the retail industry.”