Is blockchain at the service of businesses? By Redazione LineaEDP 08/06/2022

For Claudio Gibilisco, Chief Lending Officer of Credimi, among the applications of the blockchain, there are many that can be exploited by SMEs

When it comes to blockchain, Claudio Gibilisco, Chief Lending Officer of Credimi, has no doubts: technology at the service of companies is not an empty slogan, but a real accelerator of development and innovation. In many areas: from the protection of industrial production to the simplification of access to credit. According to the manager (whose full content we propose below), several companies have taken note of this, aware that expenses in technology are not a cost, but a highly profitable investment. Just think of the Made in Italy supply chain: according to an OECD report, the counterfeiting of products branded by the boot costs the Country System 25 billion euros a year, as much as a budget law, but also more simply as the value of 3.2% of the total sales of the Italian economy. It is no mystery, in fact, that our economy is among the most affected in the world by copyright violations, ahead of us there are only the United States and France. Blockchain solutions can enable Italian companies to address the challenges posed by counterfeiting and piracy. This is why the business world is starting to look with growing interest at applications based on this technology, precisely in function of supply chain management and intellectual property protection: in 2019 alone, Italian companies invested about 30 million euros in blockchain projects, doubling the expenses of the year before. The supply chains with the most potential for blockchain are those populated by SMEs The data show that sectors of the Italian economy most affected by the problems of counterfeiting are precisely those most characterized by small and medium-sized enterprises: the OECD also illustrates that the world of SMEs in the clothing and footwear sectors lose about 3.75 billion, while the agri-food chain gives up another 3.2 billion. The paradox, but only up to a certain point, is that large companies, those that in the collective imagination invest more in technology, are the ones that have the least problems, while the use of blockchain could revolutionize the lives of all those small and medium-sized supply chain companies that struggle to defend their uniqueness. This is why, in Italy, many projects are aimed precisely at SMEs: because they are the ones that could benefit most from features such as transparency, traceability, safety, immutability, timeliness, simplified quality control, and the possibility of avoiding the use of intermediate subjects, as it allows – for example – consumers and customers to access information on the production and origin of materials, information that becomes more important every day because it is related to sustainability. Think of Temera, a company that uses Blockchain to help Italian companies certify their supply chain and the authenticity of their products. One of the companies that have benefited from this technology is Peuterey: a Tuscan brand that has been able to guarantee its consumers the transparency of production and the guarantee of certifications of all 100% components deriving from recycling and / or regeneration processes. Another example of use is to combine the sale of real products with digital ones by providing an NFT of the purchased product to be used in the Metaverse. This possibility is not only open to big brands but also to SMEs: think of the opportunities that could arise from having a digital store that allows, for example, customers to view products through virtual reality. These are important investments for SMEs but they could also turn into savings when some physical activities (events, travel, etc.) are transported to the virtual world. In the case of financial transactions, for example, the decentralization and transparency of technology could increase the financeability of companies, increasingly reducing the costs and time required to obtain a loan. Faster contracts with data to facilitate credit delivery If on the one hand, in fact, financing a company means above all believing in the entrepreneur and in his ability to repay the loan; from above we need to believe in its data and in the history of the supply chain – and we at Credimi, who have been dealing with digital loans for years, know this well. Evaluating a company on balance sheet data that tells a story that is several months if not years old, in a world that evolves daily in an unpredictable way, is in fact not very sensible. In this perspective, the blockchain allows you to see in practically real time and with immutable information what happens along the value chain having, therefore, the reasonable certainty that data and numbers are real. This data together with the information available from company management and bank accounts accessible with PSD2 would be an incredible ally to increase the ability to support the company. In such a scenario, for example, you can imagine smart contracts that modulate the provision of a credit immediately after reading an "NFC tag" (a system similar to those used to make payments with the mobile phone): perhaps estimating the turnover based on the exit of the product from the warehouse. Blockchain: a resource also for start-ups Such data management would also greatly help the development of the start-up ecosystem: even the best and most disruptive of young companies struggle to write a balance sheet, simply because it is not there. A common condition, but which limits access to credit for many. A careful analysis of the data, on the other hand, allows us to understand how much credit is really needed to support growth and what are the best tools: the use of the blockchain could simply validate numbers of start-ups that do not have a previous history.