There’s a meeting of tech minds in Southern California, and companies are noticing.
LA Blockchain Lab on Tuesday announced Panasonic as its founding corporate partner. The California-based non-profit is a collaboration between startups, enterprises, educators, government, and investors who are looking to transform local communities through distributed ledger technology (DLT). Japanese conglomerate Panasonic has $8 billion in 2018 revenues, and is developing its DLT capabilities.
The non-profit will gain more opportunities to secure corporate partnerships and raise funds. According to Nov. 20 statement, the collaboration will “promote blockchain development in Southern California, and Panasonic will refer LA Blockchain Lab additional corporate partners for its mission ….” The Japanese tech giant will gain access to SoCal-area partners, blockchain researchers, job candidates, feasibility studies, proof-of-concepts, and other synergies.
Web 3.0 Here We Come
Silicon Valley execs this year have notably left lucrative jobs at Google, Apple and Facebook to help blockchain ventures get off the ground. Some 340 miles south on Interstate 5, you’ll find a growing ecosystem of DLT enthusiasts. Benjamin Tsai, co-founder and chief financial officer of LA Blockchain Lab, told Crypto Briefing:
[Blockchain] in Southern California is very vibrant…. A number of crypto [and blockchain] platforms, including Brock Pierce’s DNA, Howard Mark’s StartEngine, Science, Wavemaker Genesis (which I am a part of) are all based here. We are also working with corporates and government. For example, the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers is interested in a hackathon for under-privileged kids. Moreover, the City of Los Angles is interested in a “Shark Tank”-style capital raising event.
This year, Panasonic has made headlines related to innovation. These include supplying car batteries to Tesla electric vehicles, implementing robotics and automation, and rolling out advanced electronics. But integrated supply chains has become among the conglomerate’s top priorities, portending possible future competition with IBM Blockchain, Samsung SDS, and other enterprise blockchain providers.
Blockchain is known to substantially improve supply chain processes, and most companies are looking to gain efficiencies in this area. A 2018 study by Panasonic found that four in five “companies see very strong benefits from automation software that simplifies processes.”
From a regional perspective, Southern California is becoming a hotbed of DLT-powered ideas. Getting West Coast students and professionals interested is also key to narrowing the talent gap in the high-growth industry.
According to Tsai, “[Los Angeles] is the source of the highest amount of engineers who come out of universities every year.” America leads the world in number of blockchain developers at nearly 27,800 as of Sept. 2018, followed by India at 12,500.
Blockchain education is becoming a thing…
While University of California (UC) at Berkeley and Stanford University have been talent feeders up north, SoCal colleges are embracing related curriculum and research. UCLA, CalTech, UC Irvine and USC have partnered with LA Blockchain Lab to improve DLT tech, educate students and professionals, provide networking opportunities, and boost engagement.
The result? Innovative ideas are spawning new practices in age-old industries.
California real estate properties are always in demand, and startups are looking to tokenize such assets to lower investment thresholds, reduce friction in transactions, and to improve liquidity. For example, Aperture/Property Coin “is trying to create a securitized version of a fund that invests in single-family residences [and other] value-add projects from around the country,” says Tsai. “This allows investors to purchase a fractional ownership of the fund representing diversified holdings of single-family residential projects, while [possibly improving] liquidity on the secondary trade.”
According to Nov. 20 statement, Panasonic and LA Blockchain Lab will co-host a Feb. 2019 event with business and local government officials called “Smart City and Blockchain.” The forum will discuss real-world applications of blockchain for smart cities and development plans.
The author holds digital assets but none mentioned in this article.