With Blockchain, NFT or Metavers you can sell, but not only

Fabien Aufrechter, director of Havas Sovereign Technologies, spoke at a plenary conference hosted at the Ready for IT trade show, taking place in Monaco this week. There’s no question to him that he takes the ‘buzz’ dimension of terms like: blockchainNFT or even Metaverse – which is dedicated the latest edition of our Applications & Data eZine

A big misunderstanding

According to Fabien Aufrechter, the expansion of the adoption of blockchain-type decentralized technologies is indisputable. But the lack of understanding remains great – two elements that contribute to explaining the difficulties of recruiting in the field.

That is why Fabien Aufrechter takes the example of a spiral notebook to illustrate the concept of blockchain: the page is a block written on in indelible ink, linked by the spiral, the chain. But this isn’t quite stored on a single point of failure, the famous single point of failure, but replicated to all the users’ computers in the chain. The risk of unavailability or alteration is thus significantly reduced. And the content of each block is transparently accessible.

But “nothing is free”. Moving from one page of the notebook to another, or from one block to another of the chain, requires energy: “the model has devised a reward system for this work, mining, to compensate for lost value, e.g. energy used, token”. And it is this “that makes it possible to create so-called cryptocurrencies” […] there is no blockchain without cryptocurrency”.

This value can take other forms, explains Fabien Aufrechter, other types of tokens, starting with “using tokens, using a service”, which can be converted into financial value, “a positive value, i.e. a financial act digitized, or negative, a digitized debt.” In addition, fungible and non-fungible tokens, the latter referring to NFTs.

And got ideas

Fabien Aufrechter fails to quote Etherum creator Vitalik Buterin: “90% of ICOs [émissions initiales de jetons, NDLR] are scams”. For the director of Havas Sovereign Technologies, it almost comes naturally, because launching a new blockchain is “very easy”. So anyone can claim it. This justifies strict regulation.

Fabien Aufrechter also wants to deal the blow to “prejudice”, starting with “the blockchain, it finances terrorism”. Transparency and traceability are sufficient nets for him to discourage criminal activities. On paper, this may seem reasonable, and indeed Bitcoin’s traceability is clear used by law enforcement officers expose criminal activities. But reality is nuanced

Second idea received, “cryptoassets are a speculative bubble”. Again, Fabien Aufrechter has an answer, noting that speculative bubbles can form for any asset, without the corresponding market being intrinsically speculative.

Finally, is a chain of blocks necessarily polluting, due to its massively dispersed nature? “We necessarily think of bitcoin” and there, “it’s true”. But it is far from the only blockchain and other models are more sober.

Applications and benefits

But Fabien Aufrechter sees much more than just buzz in these decentralized technologies. Specifically for him: “the word Blockchain sells. If you associate this word with a product, it sells better.” And take the now well-known example of Carrefour, which has adopted blockchain to… make the traceability of some of its products more transparent : and exactly, “the blockchain product sells better, because it’s more reassuring”. Even if the “buzzword” effect also plays.

Another use put forward by the director of Havas Sovereign Technologies is to protect sensitive data from possible destruction, such as diplomas or cadastral records.

The next step is NFTs, non-fungible tokens, which link an object, physical or virtual, to a digital identity: “some artists use them to sell unique digital works”, but that’s not all. “NFTs enable Palau to produce unique, tamper-resistant digital passports.” NFTs also make it possible to create digital duplicates – “which is no more or less than a proof of ownership” of, for example, works of art. “And we can also link a lot of content to these certificates”.

But for Fabien Aufrechter, companies must now look beyond all this and focus on crypto asset portfolios: “they are the ones capturing the value”, regardless of the cryptocurrency. And to estimate that, “the war of digital wallets will be the next war in terms of sovereignty. Here you have to look”. And all the more so because these wallets will be the key to the metaverse: here all digital objects and assets get their full value.

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