Crypto-Gin Highlights the Potential of Blockchain Technology
Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) will change the way we interact digitally with each other and Akkodis has been working with a gin distillery to demonstrate how.
18th of October, 2023
This article was originally published in Thinkers & Makers, a magazine from Akkodis featuring the smartest minds and innovative projects that are driving the future of technology and engineering.
At first glance, a bottle of gin does not seem to have much in common with digital technologies and smart cities. But Akkodis has made use of a collaboration with a distillery in Germany’s Black Forest to show what DLT can do.
DLT, which securely stores and guarantees the transparency of data, has the potential to revolutionize industries, ensuring security through encryption, code and digital signatures and helping organizations build trust among their customers.
In a fast-changing, increasingly digital and interconnected world, DLT will have many applications. The smart cities of the future will need instant and secure data checks and a strong digital infrastructure. DLT technology is often decentralized, removing the need for a third party.
Data permeability throughout the value chain is also a growing challenge. DLT can trace and record the use of materials and components across the life cycle of a product.
The raw material used to make an electric vehicle’s battery, for example, travels on a complex journey throughout its lifetime from mine to wholesaler, component manufacturer to automotive OEM, customer to recycling point. Each of the links in that chain stores and protects its own data.
The data security of DLT allows for permeability of that data along the value chain–because it is trusted by every participant.
Using DLT, we can offer companies a system for secure data transition between the data silos of different market participants,” said Tamas Bardos, DLT Technical Sales Manager.
As environmental scrutiny intensifies, companies will see an increasing need for ensuring the reliability and security of the CO2 data they need to report.
Connecting the Physical and the Digital
Back to the Black Forest. The term “phygital” describes an experience–often in retail–which crosses the divide between the digital and the physical worlds, connecting a physical product to a digital component.
In this case the product, Crypto-Gin, combines a (physical) bottle with a digital twin of the same bottle, designed to appeal to gin afficionados.
The Akkodis DLT team developed a phygital Non-Fungible Token (NFT) decentralized app for a limited edition of Crypto-Gin, allowing customers to invest in a NFT they can redeem for a bottle of gin, while still keeping the digital twin as a collectible or to trade.
The implications of the technology behind the project go far beyond the realms of collectibles, however.
“We decided to take on the Crypto-Gin project because it is a good use case on how to connect the physical and the digital,” said Sebastian Weber, head of Akkodis’ DLT development group. “You can show people a bottle and the NFT attached to it and make them realize that the future is already here.”
A label on the gin bottle features a patented holographic “fingerprint” provided by Authentic Vision, a world leader in mobile authentication solutions. The label guarantees the highest level of security. It can’t be removed, and tampering attempts are automatically detected with any smartphone using Authentic Vision’s own CheckIfReal app.
Secure Digital Platform
On top of that, the Akkodis team built a decentralized application running the DLT IOTA, which supports feeless transactions and micropayments for Internet of Things (IoT) use cases.
Akkodis believes IOTA will play a huge role in the adoption of DLT in an industrial setting.
Crypto-Gin’s name is a nod to the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT) that securely stores data and guarantees that it is accurate, unaltered, synchronized and transparent.
That makes DLT ideal for providing a secure digital platform for voting, transactions, reporting and other situations in which trust, transparency and accuracy are essential. The technology holds the potential to solve many problems companies face in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.
Do we need all that tech to buy a bottle of gin, you might ask? Well, not necessarily, and you can still buy a normal bottle of Black Forest gin in the distillery’s online store. But this project appeals to collectors and opens the door to a new type of customer base seeking rare and unique products.
Akkodis’ goal is to help customers embrace new technology and use it to innovate and produce positive business results, an area that is set to become even more important, with Web3’s focus on decentralization, blockchain and token-based economy.
DLT also offers exciting opportunities for the many young, talented coders and startups that are rethinking the status quo and want to build something new.
“They want to work on the newest technologies, and they do art projects, play trading card games, or work on cool cutting-edge tech projects in the field of identity management for smart cities, IoT devices or autonomous driving,” said Weber.
The reach goes beyond the younger generation. Akkodis intends to integrate the dynamics of the startup sphere and of emerging technologies into the well-established, mature, and global consulting setup of Akkodis, allowing it to introduce DLT to large customers, which often tend to be skeptical towards startups.
“Normally it takes ages to bring emerging technologies like DLT to the big players. We want to change that,” said Weber.
The Akkodis DLT team is passionate about DLT and its potential. However, as with any other emerging technology, maturity is a key issue and for DLT, being secure and impenetrable is the technology’s raison d’être.
One of the strengths of DLT is that everything is open source. That means everyone can attack it, and that is, in fact, a huge benefit. In the past few years, many have tried.
“Thousands of people from different companies and countries have tried to break it,” Weber said. “The result is that these systems are super resilient. The surviving technology is battle-tested. In fact, it is better tested than if you had your own team of one hundred testers.”
“We established our DLT team about three years ago and began building competences. Back then the technology was not as mature as we would like it to be, but it has been evolving very fast,”said Weber. “Now we’re in a phase where we can move beyond proof of concepts to executing complex real-world projects with a clear ROI.”
Global DLT Team
As well as the Crypto-Gin project, the team has built a digital twin of an e-bike to ensure trusted traceability, including proof of origin, ownership, and transfer of ownership using DLT as point of contact.
Chain2Bike can reduce costs, increase the security of e-bike ownership, and help avoid data breaches. That’s just the beginning. The DLT team, is growing, with the goal of developing the capacity to deliver large projects to big and established customers.
“We are building a global team with the capacity to deliver projects everywhere. We want everything decentralized–the technology, the people and the delivery,” said Weber.
Working with DLT is also a highly efficient way to attract tech talent, often a struggle for tech companies. For Akkodis, it has been the opposite.
“We have received incredible feedback,” said Weber. “People who’ve heard about our DLT projects have found our email address and sent us their CV. They tell us they want to join a company as innovative as ours, and work with cool technology and cool projects.”