Blockchain technology is making the ”next big thing” headlines around the globe. A startup company called Chainfrog is pioneering the field in the Tampere Region.
Keir Finlow-Bates and Kimmo Rouhiainen met each other for the first time in September 2016 and it didn’t take them long to start Chainfrog, a software company based on blockchain technology. Finlow-Bates is the tech guy and innovator.
– I’ve been living in Finland with my family since 2006. In 2015 Qualcomm closed my Finnish office and I was out of work, he recounts.
Finlow-Bates took a break and the opportunity to research into blockchain technogy he had been interested in for several years. It was his neighbour who suggested that he should start a company around his innovations. Said neighbour happened to know Rouhiainen, a startup enthusiast willing to help with business development.
– Don’t think, just act and let’s see what happens, that’s what I like to do in situations like this. So of course I agreed to meet Keir, Rouhiainen says.
Blockchains are decentralized data storage systems propagated, extended and stored in peer-to-peer networks. There is no built-in central weakness that could be attacked and any information is tamper-proof. Unlike current databases, it is impossible to go back and change blockchain data records. The blockchain method makes both fraud and error less likely.
– Financial ledgers are the first big use for blockchain: who sent what to whom. Or registering ownership, like property, cars or compositions, contracts, anything, with reduced cost and friction, Finlow-Bates explains.
– Blockchain is going to change the world by allowing us an internet we can really trust, Rouhiainen summarises.
Finlow-Bates and Rouhiainen say that a new model of trust is needed, and not only for the internet. People used to trust governments and big companies, and this has eroded. Blockchain is a way for a group of people to come to an agreement without any centralized authority to oversee the process.
– This could lead to new ways for communities, companies, or even governments to co-operate on projects of any size, Finlow-Bates says.
There are plenty of people working on blockchain technology in the USA, the UK, France and China, for example. Chainfrog is probably the first blockchain technology startup in Finland, and others will certainly emerge. Being among the first ones brings the need to educate people on the subject.
– We offer lectures and workshops to get the message out and show how blockchain can be useful in different areas, Finlow-Bates says.
– It seems that even ICT companies may not always fully understand all possibilities offered by blockchain. There are so many elements in the technology, Rouhiainen continues.
The genie is out of the bottle, though – Bitcoin is the best known blockchain today, and it is widely researched even by players that were strictly against it in the first place. Finlow-Bates and Rouhiainen describe blockchain as the biggest thing since the database and something really worth investing in – right now. It is important that Finland, with a history of investment in communications technology and computer software, stays ahead of the game.
– Tampere, with an industrial heritage dating back over 200 years, and hosting both a high-grade technical university a sizeable ICT workforce, is an ideal location for such investment. Especially since the announcement of the Tampere Smart City initiative, they say.