To Russia with Blockchain

After attending the World Blockchain Summit in Moscow on May 19-20, I have come to appreciate the progressiveness of the Russian people. It was my first trip and on arriving, I took an Uber from the airport to the Hotel National, located just across from Red Square. Along the way to the hotel, I saw cranes dotting the skyline as an indication of significant building taking place. It was a short 4-day trip and very contained to Moscow Center and the routes to and from the airports but if what I saw is happening across the country, Russians can be proud of the achievements they are making.

A view of Red Square from the Rooftop of the Ritz Carlton, Moscow.


At the Summit, hosted by the International Decentralized Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (IDACB), I spoke on blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) for Smart Cities. Our panel consisted of people from around the world with different experiences and perspectives on blockchain and DLT use.

Opening of the Second Day at WBCSummit Moscow.


Ivan Burtnik, Head for the Promotion of the Russian bid for Expo 2025 was the perfect moderator and kept us moving forward and summarizing or probing our discussions.

Smart City panel with Dana Farbo on stage.


Azamat Tseboev – deputy general director, Application Committee Expo 2025 Ekaterinburg spoke about Russia’s bid to host the World Expo 2025. This was a perfect opportunity to share how devices can be utilized with DLT to harness the power of data for personal, business and governmental use. DLT gives us the ability to control how our data gets used and can protect that data from being hacked and stolen if the right systems are in place to connect the pieces. At Augmate, we are working to create the most comprehensive device management platform for this new era of data creation. The use of blockchain protocols and blockless technology like a DAG (directed acyclic graph) are essential for scaling when data creation grows exponentially due to the sheer mass numbers of devices coming on networks in a Smart World.

Romanas Ramanauskas – CEO, Agata.VC brought up the use of augmented reality within Smart Cities as a technology that will be ubiquitous by the time 2025 arrives. Romanas, one of those princely looking men who is impressive in his look and knowledge, stressed that the inclusion of AR in Russia’s bid would be extremely helpful in all phases of the project from construction planning to activation. Augmate was first created to allow management of AR glasses and I could not agree more with Romanas that in the future, we will rely upon the data that flows in front of us in AR much like we rely on waves of sound to reach us for streaming music. We will expect it to just be there at the blink of an eye to enrich our field of vision.

Romanas Ramanaukas on AR with examples from the gaming world.


From Brazil, Marcelo Costa Misael – Head of Brazil office, Fayrix Software spoke about the changes that have occurred in Curitiba, Brazil because of the decision to become a Smart City. His talk reminded me that one of the biggest issues cities face is in how to measure success. Without a way to show how the connected devices and systems are adding to the success of the collective, there can be a tendency to stop or slow the initiative due to cost or political change. As the Augmate platform extends into all IoT, we can aggregate the data into a visualization of results and using artificial intelligence, run models for planning or mitigate current issues.

And where would we be without concrete. Andrey Lupii – general director, Orlan talked about how the blockchain can be used to track quality batches of building materials so that there is better protection from substandard substitutes. I would go further in that nanotechnology will soon allow us to put particles in the concrete relatively inexpensively that will allow for a device to do more accurate scanning and post-build quality testing. If contractors are motivated to get high QA scores, they will be attentive to the quality going into the job. Accuracy of devices and control from hacking using blockchain will be part of this system. Someday, maybe concrete blocks become nodes on the blockchain. Imagine that.

Andrey Lupii on Blockchain for Concrete.


Last to speak was Fred Stawitz, Principal, Kinder Morgan. His simple message was that if we are thinking Smart City, we are thinking too small. Smart Planet thinking was his pitch. Think big and act one step at a time. Wise words.

It was a good panel and I was happy to represent Augmate on stage. We believe that soon, practically everything will have a smart device component aspect to it. Data coming out of the trillions of devices will be extremely important to manage for the privacy of the individual and the benefit of the world. As our CTO Dave Evans stated years ago, it is not just IoT, it is the Internet of Everything. The World Expo 2025 will be a perfect time for showing how this has come together and where we can go in the future. Thanks again IDACB and Russia for hosting me. You opened my eyes to your world.