Integrating different blockchain platforms and creating interoperability between different platforms is the next biggest challenge in the Blockchain ecosystem. unchain.io is a company founded by experts in the Blockchain field that is working on just that. UNLOCK interviewed Marcel Makken, Chief Commercial Officer of unchain to talk about the blockchain gateway solution they have developed and how it will work to move Blockchain ecosystem into the next frontier.
Based in Amsterdam, Unchain’s offices are located a 100 meters away from IBM headquarters. Three of the four founders including Marcel Makken were once IBM employees themselves. So the founders of unchain understand the needs and pain points of enterprise clients. As Makken explains, “We have developed a software integration gateway platform that links existing applications, systems, and even IOT devices with Blockchain networks and this is a critical point for the massive adoption because the more you can bring down the barriers, the better.”
The Blockchain Gateway
So unchain.io is a technology agnostic Blockchain gateway. In the past two and half years the team has managed to create a live viable product offering. As Makken explains, “Using unchain’s Blockchain gateway we can grow the Blockchain ecosystem and enable it to scale on any Blockchain network. Today we have our first working version and are adding features to ensure optimal security and others. We also offer it both as a cloud service or subscription offering.” Whatever the form unchain.io is providing an enterprise-grade solution that will enable organizations to integrate their applications and devices with Blockchain networks in an easy, fast, and secure manner. This is especially useful when clients are on boarding participants or working in consortia.
Unchain is ready to work with the banking sector, logistic companies, and entities like Smart Dubai to help simplify and securely onboard participants. The company is also ready to work with system integrators, cloud vendors, telecom operators, and consultants. Unchain is currently working with several clients. One of the clients is Vattenfall. Makken comments, “We are working with Vattenfall to build a robust settlement platform that integrates their existing system to Blockchain. We are also working with undeveloped.com that registers domain spaces and want to use the Blockchain for that purpose. So we already have a product that is up and running and generating cashflow. We currently charge our clients per the number of adaptors and connectors.”
When it comes to competition Makken sees it as minimal today but envisions that it will grow. However he explains, “What sets us apart from others is not only our expertise in Blockchain and our understanding of enterprise needs but also our agnostic solution. We are ready to integrate to Ethereum, Hyperledger, Qurom, Corda and others.”
Investment from the founding members themselves along with an investor that joined in February of 2018 have allowed unchain to develop its product. Of course Makken clarifies that there will be an upcoming investment round in the next 10-12 months. In the meantime the unchain team is focusing on developing its product and adding resources to its already 11 member team. As Makken explained, “When we go into our round of investment we want to have a product that is viable and that is adopted by both clients as well as an eco-system of System Integrators, Consultants and Cloud Providers. We have a very clear roadmap in 2019 when Blockchain networks go into production we will be more than ready to accommodate demand.” In short unchain has started early in order to establish its name before other players start entering the market.
CEO Arjeh Van Oijen has stated that unchain will be offering more solutions and products in the future. “We will be entering the connectors space and provide connectors for basically everybody. We will also have an adaptor store solution, as well as cryptographic store.” Van Oijen also foresees a future where smart contract development will not be done by developers but by the business experts themselves without the need for programming expertise. He states, “Smart Contracts could be as easily created as we work today on word documents and then these contracts can be embedded into the gateway.”
In short unchain wants to chain the legacy systems of the past with Blockchain of the future.