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Head of Nisum's Blockchain Lab Explains Why Blockchain is a "Force of Change" in AiThority Interview

Nov 20, 2018 9:00:00 AM

See the text from Aithority's interview with the Head of the Nisum Blockchain Lab, Sebastian Martinez, or view the full article here.


Interview with Sebastian Martinez, Head of Nisum Blockchain Lab


Tell us about your journey into gaming and blockchain technologies.

I have spent time studying AI, Machine Learning, and Blockchain, and Blockchain, in particular, appealed to me for the positive impact it can bring to society and how people relate to technologies. The creation of Ethereum and its ecosystem was a turning point for me, and after studying this implementation in more detail, I decided to follow this technology closely. We decided to focus on Nisum’s Blockchain Laboratory in Chile in order to take advantage of the tremendous and growing talent ecosystem in this space that exists in the surrounding universities. With my great interest and previous knowledge, I was the right person to take on this challenge for Nisum.

What is Nisum and how do you compete in a blockchain-heavy ecosystem?

Nisum is a global technology consulting company based in Southern California and currently has development offices in the US, Chile, India, and Pakistan. The main business lines are digital transformation, software development, and consulting in emerging technologies. Our focus with Blockchain is to provide our customers with the benefits of this new technology through introducing private or hybrid blockchains.

How do you plan to educate your employees and society about blockchain benefits? Which sections of industries are best suited to benefit from the technology?

The first thing people must understand is that Blockchain is not just a new technology, it’s a force of change. Blockchain eliminates the need for intermediaries, such as banks or financial institutions. These intermediaries exist now because we need that added level of trust and security. However, many people are keen on the idea that Blockchain can add that layer of trust and security, and eliminate the collection of private data on individuals that these large intermediaries are often engaged in. When people understand this, the desire to get involved and learn is enormous. For many, the most complicated aspect of Blockchain is the change in the paradigm it presents. It’s different, and therefore difficult, to start thinking about things in a “decentralized” manner because we have established such trust in the information presented to us by centralized institutions. However, as with any radically new idea or school of thought, it’s most easily digestible in small pieces. Blockchain is certainly a sea change, but it will not change things on a grand scale overnight.

What are the foundational tenets of your Blockchain for B2B and B2C commerce?

At Nisum, we do not separate between B2B and B2C, we apply the Blockchain concept where security, trust, and transparency are needed. For B2B, Blockchain can be especially useful when sharing data between actors that can be rivals in certain aspects, as it provides a trusted, secure space for both to collaborate. With respect to connecting with the customer, the possibilities are endless. However, for this to work you have to connect the maximum amount of possible nodes and start to work on the challenge of connecting different Blockchain ledgers.

What makes blockchain the most exciting technology today? Which other technologies are you keenly following?

I think Blockchain is one of many exciting emerging technologies today, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come. I am passionate about Blockchain because I think it will change the fundamental aspects of society. I am also very intrigued and closely follow developments in nanotechnology. As this technology matures, it will change absolutely everything we know.

What are your predictions on the role of Blockchain in AI, or AI in Blockchain? How do these two gel together?

I believe that neither Blockchain nor AI necessarily comes first, but they do complement each other in the sense that Blockchain validates the data and AI processes that information to make decisions. In summary, I think Blockchain is a source of trust for AI.

How do Automation and Big Data come together with Blockchain? How do you leverage these technologies at Nisum?

Similar to the relationship between Blockchain and AI, Automation and Big Data are also perfect complements to Blockchain technology. Blockchain ensures the integrity of the data, but it has no relation to data analysis, whereas Big Data and Data Mining can do your work better because the source of information is more secure. The challenge lies in being able to increase storage capacity and speed transfer in Blockchain to have massive and secure data sources. I am convinced that with the new versions of Blockchain and other types of consensus algorithms, such as Proof of Stake, this type of integration will grow exponentially.

Tell us about the “Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” of Blockchain and Crypto.

I always try to avoid talking about cryptocurrencies because people ask me when to buy bitcoin! In all seriousness, cryptocurrencies proved that Blockchain works. The speed of the transfers and elimination of intermediate costs seems incredible, and the first time I paid a friend who lives 8,000 km with bitcoin was quite an experience. I would like to see a point when everything is paid for with cryptocurrencies for the sake of efficiency, but I think we are far from that.

The Crystal Gaze

What AI and blockchain start-ups and labs are you keenly following?

I am very interested in how Blockchain’s main problems are being addressed, for example, how different blockchains of the same technology will be interconnected, as well as those of different technologies. Processing speed that does not come at the cost of security is another very interesting challenge. I’m following projects that attempt to do this, for example, https://cosmos.network/. All are related to Blockchain 3.0. I also closely follow the likes of Cardano, EOS, etc.

As a blockchain leader, what industries you think would be fastest to adopting these technologies with smooth efficiency? What are the new emerging markets for AI technology markets?

Based on the conversations I have had with leaders in different industries, it seems that they are all very excited about the positive opportunities that Blockchain brings. Personally, I would love to see projects related to the environmental impact and how companies certify that they comply with regulations. In Chile & South America, I know that verticals such as Retail, Banking, and Mining are looking for Blockchain usages and POC’s.

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

I have a few in my mind, but I always try to prioritize those that benefit the end-user. I’m not able to provide many details, but in short, I have been working on an application that delivers critical information regarding the contingencies of flights, but when many users consulted the information (in a contingency), the application went down. I remember this case specifically because it was resolved in 24 hours as the problem was with a simple caching strategy. A few days later, there was a series of contingencies due to weather conditions and the application responded perfectly because of a few small adjustments.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Vitalik Buterin

Would you like to participate as a Speaker at AI/ML and blockchain-related events?

I’m always open to talk about Blockchain, I enjoy conversations about all technologies and, of course, other non-technology-related topics.

Sebastian Martinez

Written by Sebastian Martinez

Sebastian, Nisum’s Blockchain Lab Founder, has been developing technology solutions for over 20 years with companies across Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Leveraging his breadth of experience and insights, Sebastian helped create Nisum's Blockchain Lab, where he researches and builds solutions that bring exceptional value and differentiation for clients.


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