European Blockchain Convention interviews Roberto Fernández from everis

Roberto Fernández, Global Head of Digital Ecosystems at everis

Blockchain in everis

For everis, Blockchain is not only an emerging technology but also a facilitator for the generation of digital ecosystems where different companies combine their digital assets with the aim of meeting the new expectations of citizens and consumers, generating both new business models and efficiency in current business processes.

Blockchain is a piece of the ecosystems puzzle. An ecosystem is composed of multiple dimensions:

  • a business model,
  • a partnership strategy for the identification and inclusion of participants
  • a digital technology architecture
  • a governance model at many levels
  • a regulatory, legal and standardization framework properly coordinated with the technology strategy
  • an economic model oriented to the sustainability and scalability of the ecosystem

In this second wave of digital transformation, aspects such as the circular economy, the collaborative economy, the society of abundance, the coopetition, new ways of collaboration and the decentralization, among others, are accelerating the emergence of these ecosystems.

At everis we have pioneered the emergence, participation and contribution of Blockchain ecosystems and now we’re at the next level.

We’ve moved from exploration and proof of concept to the generation of these ecosystems based on blockchain in very heterogeneous areas such as mobility as a service, collective actions against climate change, interoperability initiatives in value chains, information exchange in the field of customs, circular economy in the energy field, etc.

I would also highlight initiatives aimed at the deployment of this technology in the productive environment, mainly in the financial sector where we already have several references in this sector.

In addition, initiatives related to international organizations and public administration such as the United Nations, the European Commission and the Inter-American Development Bank where the use of this technology provides a social impact being key the approach related to digital identity.

In these organizations, we are participating and launching different use cases (education, health, …) on the Blockchain infrastructures that are being built and where we are also participating.

Finally, we have several initiatives in the Transport and Logistics sector, where we are providing solutions to simplify the current processes, facilitating the exchange of information ensuring transparency and identifying the critical points of the chain in order to seek solutions for greater efficiency.

What is the current status of the projects?

All of these projects are initiatives whose exploration and learning phase by the organizations, through proof of concept, has been overcome by proving that the promises of the technology have been fulfilled. They are currently transformation projects aimed at deployment in production environments.

How many people are working on blockchain projects at Everis? Do you intend to increase the team?

It’s complicated to indicate an exact number of people because we do not handle the concept “ Blockchain project”. We handle transformation projects of our clients where blockchain in combination with other emerging technologies and current technologies allow us to solve a business problem based on a digital architecture.

Our team is multidisciplinary, bringing together people with knowledge in business models based on new emerging businesses with people from the verticals, architects specialized in digital models and professionals who combine very specific knowledge in blockchain and DLT technologies that we bring together in the Blockchain Centers of Excellence, one for Europe and another in Latin America.

Currently, we have 90 people working on Blockchain projects.

Additionally, we belong to NTT Data’s Blockchain Center of Excellence where we bring together more than 300 specialized professionals and presence in 24 countries.

Blockchain technology is less “hyped”. What types of companies are betting on it and which are not?

Blockchain is raising huge interest in the corporate and institutional world, as it has proved that it can solve real problems, leading to unprecedented efficiency and transparency in many processes.

The level of knowledge regarding this technology has grown and the vast majority of companies have carried out exploration initiatives, both from a business and technical point of view.

The dissemination of consortiums such as Alastria, LACChain, BFA, TradeWalz, … and the strategic commitment of the European Commission in this area has been very important.

Companies and institutions need help with integration, technology development, and understanding the legal frameworks and risks.

Our vision is to go beyond the hype, using blockchain where it can bring differential benefits, and making it attainable for institutions and corporations.

In our case, most of the initiatives are concentrated in the public sector, health sector, financial institutions, transport and logistics, as well as in the generation of digital ecosystems that bring together public and private collaboration.

What is the most important limitation currently in technology (interoperability, scalability, sustainability …)?

In my opinion, both at the level of interoperability and scalability, significant progress is being made within the framework of initiatives such as Hyperledger and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. The speed and evolution of Blockchain in the technological framework follows the evolution of any emerging technology.

The current challenge that I would highlight, without calling it a limitation, would be in the in public permissioned networks at a production level, with a sufficient decentralized level, with the appropriate level of resilience to deploy services with security and neutrality.

How to define the appropriate governance model for the infrastructure?
What is the policy on incentives and tariffs at the transaction level?
Who is the network operator in this type of consortia models?
What legal vehicle should be defined?

Are you in contact with Blockchain startups? Any project that you especially liked?

We’ve tried to be consistent with our vision of digital ecosystems and we’ve formed an ecosystem of capabilities by combining internal talent with the best external talent. We have collaborations and joint initiatives with entrepreneurs and startups in this field. I would highlight, among others, Skuchain, ioBuilders, and Adhara.

Adhara is creating a multi-currency global liquidity management and international payments platform for the banking space.

Adhara is one the best blockchain-oriented fintech companies. They´re a group of 20–25 completely world-class people in Blockchain arena. They’re working with key players and they have top-notch initiatives and projects in Singapore and South Africa.

ioBuilders: A venture builder for blockchain-enabled businesses. Focused on payments and capital markets.

ioBuilders has created ioCash. ioCash is the world´s first B2B platform that makes it possible to operate with traditional money directly on blockchain. With ioCash, businesses can build applications in which final users -people or corporations- can have accounts with a traditional banking IBAN number and a linked ethereum DLT address, being able to operate seamlessly between the traditional banking system and blockchain using fiat money for blockchain transactions in a regulated way.

Recently, IDB Lab’s LACChain Ecosystem and fundación everis launch BlockchAngel challenge to support projects that use blockchain to tackle harassment and abuse of women, children and the elderly in LAC. Accepting proposals at least in the prototype phase and in advanced stages of development.

Image via CoinDesk’s website

Blockchain in the EU

Why is the EBSI project important? How will it improve the lives of people and businesses in the EU?

On 1 April 2018, 21 European Union member states (including Spain) and Norway signed a Declaration of cooperation to establish the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP).

The main objective of the EBP is the creation of a common European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI).

The deployment of EBSI v1 with the first use cases has started in 2020, with the deployment of 6 nodes in the Commission and in the countries that have voluntarily offered to install a network node.

Spain is one of the countries that will contribute to the pilot with two nodes, one in the General Secretariat for Digital Administration (SGAD) and the other in RedIris.

Throughout this year EVA, a fictitious user, will test three use cases: EVA, a Belgian citizen, will be able to obtain its digital identity through the use case of sovereign identity, will manage its academic titles through the diplomas component, and will manage the documentation of the ERDF grant it has applied for to create a startup, through the notarization component.

Do you think there is a shortage of blockchain talent?

The absence of Blockchain talent is a reality, as well as in the general area of the IT world. I consider fundamental the evangelization in the students in the STEAM and entrepreneurship sector, mainly in women.

It’s fundamental to promote leadership skills based on digital values, teamwork and collaboration through the configuration of multidisciplinary teams.

As Marc Cuban says:

“When we look back in five years, we are going to realize that there were 10 to 20 amazing companies that were started that changed the world and led us to a brighter future. Ask yourself: “Why Not Me” or “Why Not Us”. Now is your time. The world is waiting.”

”When things are all messed up beyond recognition, that’s when the heroes step forward and create things, invent things and develop things that change the world. And that’s what’s needed right now.”

Image via Foreign Policy Research Institute’s website

Blockchain in a Pandemic

With the current pandemic situation, what solutions can blockchain technology provide?

From my point of view, digital identity solutions based on blockchain can contribute significantly to the management of confinement and the pandemic situation, as well as systems for sharing information between different health groups.

The possibility of generating a digital vaccine passport or COVID19 passport, where consortiums such as Alastria and LACChain are already working, focused on immunization and collective knowledge with Verifiable Credentials and Blockchain for social recovery after the pandemic

This digital passport increases privacy and data control by the user and improve the interoperability and usage of this data across borders.

Furthermore, it could provide information to health authorities to make better operational decisions through higher levels of traceability of the health status of citizens, including vaccines and vaccination procedures.

MiPasa is a global-scale control and communication system that enables a swift and more precise early detection of COVID-19 carriers and infection hotspots through seamless and fully private information sharing between individuals, state authorities and health institutions such as hospitals and HMOs, utilizing advanced technological tools and a dedicated user app.

The possibility of generating a digital vaccine passport or COVID19 passport, where consortiums such as Alastria and LACChain are already working, focused on immunization and collective knowledge with Verifiable Credentials and Blockchain for social recovery after the pandemic

This digital passport increases privacy and data control by the user and improve the interoperability and usage of this data across borders.
Furthermore, it could provide information to health authorities to make better operational decisions through higher levels of traceability of the health status of citizens, including vaccines and vaccination procedures.

Find below the digital hub powered by IDB lab with the state of the art related to COVID19 and the emerging technologies:

www.digitalhubcovid19eng.org

How will the implementation of blockchain technology be influenced in the different sectors given the current circumstances? Will it speed up or slow down?

We’ll live a moment not of reconstruction, but of definition of a new model of society that requires the establishment of mechanisms to manage the path of growing inequality, polarization and social fragmentation.

It’s necessary to establish a national strategy to define a new productive model based on emerging technologies, among others Blockchain, which allows to compete in the new digital economy through high value services.

This national strategy will be based on concepts such as programmable economics, exponential industry model, advanced public services, connected health, sustainability society, emerging innovation, open employment, national entrepreneurship, digital citizenship system, …

This requires an administration where companies, civil society, organizations and citizens can obtain relevant information, receive public services and participate in decision-making.

Transparency, trust, ethics and empathy are fundamental in the new model of government and public administration.

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European Blockchain Convention connects the blockchain ecosystem in Europe

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European Blockchain Convention

European Blockchain Convention

European Blockchain Convention connects the blockchain ecosystem in Europe

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