TMF: Valuation by Guessing

Thanks, btresist. Very interesting list - but it mostly confirms my skepticism about the Ethereum platform that I was asking about. Many of the companies that are doing things with blockchain are setting up their own proprietary - and centrally-controlled - systems. They’re not using ethereum. The ones that are working in the ethereum space are still mostly just servicing people that want to use ethereum to buy and sell tokens (whether crypto or NFT’s). Very few are using the ethereum platform to do anything else.

Blockchain tech generally might be a more useful way for a company to manage big internal lists of things. Though the inability of Maersk or Amazon to find a practical use for blockchain in managing their databases is a warning sign. Still, a wholly-controlled proprietary system that allows the company enough control to avoid some of the issues with public blockchains (like being able to reverse obvious fat-finger mistakes) might have some use. But I was really curious what the biggest projects on Ethereum were that might make being involved in that specific platform worthwhile, which BAHID seems to think is the case.


I think the main problem for established companies is the difficulty in incorporating blockchain into existing systems. It can be done but many (if not most) seem to be finding that it is not worth the effort. The advantages of blockchain over the status quo is apparently incremental and relatively modest compared to say, digital music over cassettes or ecommerce over brick/mortar.

One sign of a new technology with significant advantages are startups that solely use the tech to challenge established markets. Examples include Netflix into movie rentals, Amazon into retail sales, Spotify into retail music, and Tesla into autos. In each case one could come up early on with a reasonable narrative describing how the tech could dominate their respective markets. Don’t see that with blockchain, suggesting that the advantages aren’t as great as is being hyped.


Many worldwide corporations use SAP ERP systems to manage their entire operations from Accounts Payable, Inventory control, Order Processing, Shipment processing, Accounts Receivable, Customer Service, and on and on…

SAP has their own DB (HANA) to which they have been converting customers. This eliminates (transfers) the cost of running a separate DB stack like Oracle, IBM DB2, etc.

They announced a blockchain initiative back in 2018, but are still not getting the traction that they have been hoping for. Here’s a link to a recent article stating that Unilever is bailout to pilot SAP blockchain technology in one of their plants.

This is only a pilot - companies will be very hesitant to switch to blockchain in existing operations. As has happened previously, SAP may FORCE this issue in future upgrades if they think they will profit from it, but I don’t see this happening in scale any time soon.

I will be on board with Corporations converting to blockchain technology when SAP (and other ERP software vendors) declare that they are using blockchain across many production systems at many customers.

==> former SAP consultant

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Makes sense, and might explain why some of the companies chose to structure these efforts as either separate companies or separate programs. Still, as you point out, there haven’t been too many new entrants that are using this to disrupt incumbents in providing any off-chain services - or really, anything other than moving/trading tokens around.

Clearly blockchain is good for that. They’ve created a trillion dollar forex market (if we’re being charitable) or casino (if we’re not), where people can speculate on a thousand different currencies or digital gold/baseball cards/beanie babies/artworks.

But there doesn’t seem to be much success in getting much use case outside of that. Back in 2017-2018 there were a whole slew of new blockchain initiatives and projects. A host of new and existing companies drafted hordes of techs to try to apply blockchain to everything under the sun. Now five years later, it doesn’t appear that many of those efforts have really landed, especially on the ethereum platform. Maybe that’s just because DeFi and unregulated shadow banking sucked all the oxygen out of the room on ethereum. But it doesn’t show a lot of utility for the platform.

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If blockchain was as powerful as it is often hyped to be one would expect there to be blockchain companies challenging SAP in the same way that Amazon went after Barnes&Noble. Why aren’t there blockchain startups competing directly with SWIFT, or a bunch of blockchain real estate companies competing with traditional mortgage lenders?

The lack of such competition is pretty revealing IMO.