Blockchain technology has become a huge theme over the past couple of years, providing opportunities far beyond bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
“Bitcoin’s a little bit like a religion. You’re going to get the lovers and haters, and so many discussions on crypto end up down that path, and I actually think that’s wasted time. But blockchain and the blockchain disruption is really significant,” Jenny Johnson, president and CEO of Franklin Templeton, said on May 17 at the Morningstar Investment Conference.
Blockchain, a digitally distributed, decentralized, public ledger commonly referred to as an algorithm, offers opportunities when used as a way to have trusted transactions, according to Johnson. The technology makes it unnecessary to have intermediaries to validate a transaction, leading to lowered transaction costs and greater efficiency.
This technology also enables companies to engage with customers in ways that were previously not possible – offering ways for customers to gain equity beyond stock ownership.
Johnson said Louis Vuitton has begun putting an actual chip in their bag, and so, using a blockchain algorithm, a customer can register the bag and validate that it is an original Louis Vuitton bag.
“You’ve now crossed the NFT world into the physical world,” Johnson said. “These can become loyalty programs.”
Citing another example, Johnson said the Four Seasons Resort in Aspen has been fully tokenized. “If you go, the token allows you to get your revenues of whatever percentage you own,” Johnson said. “And when you go there, you get a room upgrade if it’s available, and you get special amenities.”
“Think of yourself as an equity owner who actually gets a loyalty program with it,” Johnson said. “I think that’s where this gets really, really interesting – and we’re just at the early stages of the creativity on it.”
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