Cloud Computing & Cryptocurrency
We are starting to see a rebound in BTC and ETH. We touched 1180 ETH as of this writing, and I am in a happy spot now after the news that Robinhood will allow trading of stocks and cryptocurrencies (ETH and BTC) in the same account. Please make sure you are exposed to ETH if you’re investing in these markets. Now more than ever is it important for coins to have working business relationships.
However, everyone must be weary of hearing big names, and not looking at what these names are actually buying. I have recently become fascinated with the cloud computing relationships that certain cryptocurrency companies have. What I find incredibly frustrating is how amazing these things are, and that I have absolutely no stake in it. I am going to use Microsoft and Stratis as my example, and if this is of interest to everyone I will do IBM and Stellar next.
Why is this Important?
Storage and analysis of information is one of the biggest costs to any company. The amount of data that a business compiles – financials, supply chain data, internal information sharing etc. – has become larger and larger each year. The cloud is a solution that allows access to remote data storage and applications via the internet, rather than having it stored locally (hard drives/local servers) that require large upfront investment and costly on-going maintenance. The clouds became flexible toward certain patterns (Black Friday, tax season, etc.), and will shift in size and cost based on the amount the company needs, rather than having excess capacity of local servers year round.
Companies did not have to take on the cost burden of local servers, and the scalability was more than enough to fit almost everyone’s needs. These clouds have evolved into the public sector as well. Individuals can now store their information (iCloud would be a familiar one) in a way that protects them from any hardware malfunction. Applications that we use have our activity information stored “in the clouds” as well.
How does your cryptocurrency get involved? They are the ones creating the file cabinets. One of the main problems associated with cloud computing is securing sensitive information. Many old school IT folks are still concerned that storing information on the cloud increases the risk of theft of sensitive information. Blockchain is a sophisticated way of providing extra armor within the cloud – in other words, encrypted information in blocks rather than just information itself.
The big players are Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft, each with their own different spin. Two of the companies, Microsoft and IBM, have become CaaS (cloud as a service) solutions, with a BaaS (blockchain as a service) added within.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud solution that was released in 2010. It provides a hybrid (public/private) cloud to corporations and individuals. Microsoft is able to store, automate and infer all of the information gathered by businesses in a much quicker way. Their applications are becoming stronger each day and are beginning to have real world use cases.
I am not from the tech background, but the consensus is that this Azure platform is one of the easiest to understand if you’re used to developing on Linux, which describes most developers. Azure is an easy transition. Their recently implemented BaaS is where Stratis enters the conversation.
Stratis prides itself on being the “status quo” blockchain maker. The software was designed to work with corporate America’s operating systems (OSX/Windows) through nStratis, which is a private “side chain” service for businesses and individuals. This means that when companies want to secure their information on the cloud, the early consensus is that blockchain is the best way to do so. The Stratis company was designed for Microsoft systems, and the people who are used to them. It was an excellent play on Stratis’ part to notice that cloud computing, and specifically Microsoft, would be the segment that would adopt their products and service first.
I would say Stratis is going to have a lot of work through these relationships. Side chains for private storage are what normal corporations are looking for, not cryptocurrency solutions. We raised money for Stratis through STRAT so that they could do this. However, I don’t see how their side chain business will reward coin holders.
Stratis probably has the best competitive advantages of all cryptocurrencies in that it plays well with Silicon Valley coding languages and has a knack for building a great private chain. But, where is the coin holder value? I would love to own some Stratis stock, in which I have ownership of the underlying company and receive profit. But that isn’t what this is.
This is the frustrating part about cryptocurrency. The lines have been greyed surrounding what is going to benefit the coin, and what isn’t. Rapid payment and processing has about 100 new coins coming on the market each month, usually with nothing more than the same coin properties as everyone else.
Microsoft has the largest technical reach of any company through its corporate monopoly. Windows and Microsoft Office are simply too imbedded in businesses’ lives for there to be a change in demand over the next 3-5 years. I believe that with the languages that Stratis can be adopted in, Microsoft will be calling them consistently as more people and businesses migrate their information to the cloud in the most private customizable manner possible.
I would exercise caution on STRAT. I have made a rule for myself that once a coin begins working with companies that will have no relationship to the coin, I will exit. It’s so tough for me to say, as I think this will be a revolutionary IPO in the future. Don’t be one dimensional in cryptocurrency. That is how so many people are being pinched. There are many ways to look at a company in blockchain, and one of them is getting the first look at a revolutionary company before it goes public. Stratis could certainly be an example of that.
This is not a recommendation to buy or sell cryptocurrencies. I do not own STRAT anymore. Best of luck to you. Please do follow me on Twitter @raijincrypto for thoughts throughout the week.
P.S. I read my last article. Raiden had taken it a little too far with the cloud computing Youtube videos the night before, and clearly wasn’t awake enough to write. Cryptocurrencies take a toll on us all, and I apologize. However! Now, I have some great cloud computing stuff that I am hoping is of interest, and will allow us to take a look at the first commercial uses of blockchain.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.