The cursor on my laptop hovers over a button. ‘Send Transaction,’ it promises. Or perhaps it’s a threat.
I’ve sent transactions many times before, transmitting Ether – the native token of the Ethereum blockchain – between internal and external accounts, but this transaction is different. Hundreds of hours of effort has finally brought me to this penultimate moment: a simple tap will launch a smart contract on the public Ethereum blockchain, where it may continue to function long after I’m gone.
The contract establishes and distributes a token, VCB, to support my company’s efforts to transform a small but important part of the consumer packaged goods industry. No longer mere spectator or casual hodler in the Ethereum ecosystem, I will now be actively dependent on and promoting it’s growth.
I know what you’re thinking. Another ICO? Now? When there’s already a ridiculous number running wild on the blockchain, the SEC seems to be waking from its apparent slumber, funds are disappearing from multi-sig wallets, etc, etc?
Yes, and here’s why: ThirtyThree.8, the company I’ve recently joined as CTO, has both established relationships with many of the top brands and retailers in the consumer packaged goods industry, as well as a specific requirement for a token to support and grow an existing coupon and rebate business.
In a word, VCB has utility, right out of the gate, in a global market of more than $US20 billion annually .
Three years ago, when I convinced a couple of mates to throw in with me to build a few Linux-based cryptocurrency miners, I had no idea how much the cryptocurrency/blockchain world would grow to dominate my daily life. Because, let’s face it: this is some crazy sh*t here. Not the technology. I love the technology. I am, first and foremost, a geek. But back in 2014 when Cryptsy was still a thing, mining pools were hopping between scrypt-based coins every ten minutes and the coin launch calendars weren’t tracking daily launches of fresh tokens but entirely new blockchains, everybody was trying to figure out how to evaluate all of these damn alt-coins. Of course most of them were crap right out of the gate, but some were backed up by solid ideas, and the essential quality most of those were reaching for was utility. Dogecoin, for example, was for tipping. Auroracoin was put forward as a replacement for the Icelandic krona, with a distribution model that allowed any citizen of that country to collect his coins at the local post office.
Over time I came to a better understanding of money in general — an understanding I think most of us in the crypto space arrive at eventually, if only to answer to basic questions of our friends and families — as well as how the blockchain technology lying beneath these offerings might be adapted to other uses. I missed out on the Ethereum pre-sale/ICO — I was a little jaded about alt-coins generally, and at the time I felt Ripple was potentially a better approach at the next generation of blockchain tech, but by the time Homestead launched our linux rigs were ready to mine ETH.
As I said earlier, I’m a geek, first and foremost. Most of my career has been spent in the visual effects industry. The last CTO role I had was in New Zealand, prior to and during the creation of the VFX pipelines at Weta Digital for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Since then I’ve been fortunate to travel the world consulting on the development of bespoke content production pipelines for film, television, and games. Leading a team of dapp developers in the creation of the next generation of mobile coupon and rebate programs is a bit of a departure for me, but to my mind the technical risk in our venture is low. That’s not to say there aren’t many, many challenges remaining for Ethereum, but the team is solid and the bugs — and thieves — are getting smashed. To my mind, the real risk in ThirtyThree.8’s venture is business risk: can we convince brands and retailers to launch VCB-based programs? In our discussions with them the answer has not only been a resounding yes; nearly every one of them wants to be the first out of the gate.
That’s why we need VCB. That’s why we know it will work.
My cursor still hovers. I tap the pad. The smart contract launching the VCB token is transmitted to the blockchain. Now we wait, hoping others believe what we do: that we’re the team to transform the way brands encourage and reward customers for their purchases.
And thanks for taking the time to read this.