I was pleased to contribute the Marketplaces and the Internet of Value chapter to the Enabling the Internet of Value book from UCL CBT and Springer
This chapter focuses on the importance of e-commerce marketplaces and how the properties of trust, transparency and immutable data, which are brought forth by blockchain, can lead to a fully functioning decentralised marketplace.
Blockchain powering a new marketplace model
With Blockchain technology, powering marketplaces, we will develop a transformational method for all citizens, businesses and governments to do business together in a Trusted, Peer to Peer marketplace.
A Trusted, Peer to Peer marketplace, enables the use of Blockchain technology – mainly the characteristics of Trust, Transparency and immutability – to allow a seller and a buyer to connect using a marketplace without any “middleman”
This is where we see a dichotomy where on the one hand, a marketplace built on blockchain technology makes complete sense – after all, blockchain is about decentralisation and removing the middlemen. But the other side of the equation, is that marketplaces today are globally complex companies, spanning country boundaries, offering millions of products, which require significant management and administration, to enable an efficient and controlled exchange of goods (aka Value)
A significant trait of the current global marketplace’s are that the marketplace offers high customer service, to match the expectations of the customers, set by the current retail marketplace leaders.
This said, there are many areas to look at when building a Trusted, Peer to Peer marketplace; customer service, delivery, marketing, product quality, returns, packaging to name a few. This is where the challenges will lie – how do we build decentralised marketplace’s, that will be able to compete with the current operators?
Blockchain-based marketplaces will grow (and there are already ones operating which I mention a couple of examples later in my chapter) but will they become global giants, with extensive product ranges? This will undoubtedly be difficult to achieve, given the current marketplace giants’ power and reach.
This book shows how blockchain technology can transform the Internet, connecting global businesses in disruptive ways. It offers a comprehensive and multi-faceted examination of the potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT) from a new perspective: as an enabler of the Internet of Value (IoV).
The authors discuss applications of blockchain technology to the financial services domain, e.g. in real estate, insurance and the emerging Decentralised Finance (DeFi) movement. They also cover applications to the media and e-commerce domains. DLT’s impacts on the circular economy, marketplace, Internet of Things (IoT) and oracle business models are also investigated. In closing, the book provides outlooks on the evolution of DLT, as well as the systemic governance and privacy risks of the IoV.
The book is intended for a broad readership, including students, researchers and industry practitioners.