MWC19 Los Angeles: The value of blockchain in the telecommunications sector

Blockchain isn't reserved for bitcoin. Here's how the telecommunications sector can benefit.

MWC19 Los Angeles: The value of blockchain in the telecommunications sector

TechRepublic's Macy Bayern spoke with Glenn Lurie, president and CEO of Synchronoss, at Mobile World Congress 2019 Los Angeles, about the uses of blockchain technology. The following is an edited transcript of the conversation. 

Glenn Lurie: Blockchain has value in every sector. I mean I think we're obviously talking about telecommunications here at Mobile World Congress, but blockchain is really a wonderful tool that we can use to make things more efficient.

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If you think about the types of things, transactions, things we count in our world, roaming, monetization, moving cash, all of those things can be helped with blockchain technologies. And I actually think the key is efficiency. The key is reducing costs. The key is better customer experiences. It does all those things for us, and again, it's really important: Blockchain is really a tool, and it's how you want to utilize that tool to make things better and more efficient.

I think telcos have a whole bunch of opportunities, and one of the biggest for me is that it's just bringing it into the ecosystem and utilizing it.

We did a trial in Japan with TCBASoft, which is a consortium of carriers, and SoftBank to prove inside of a messaging app, RCS app, that we can use blockchain to count different things, count dollars, moving count transactions, and it went very, very well. It takes effort to bring those kinds of technologies in and for telecommunications companies to reap those benefits.

The second point that I think is really important is that telcos can just play a bigger role in blockchain, period. You know, today blockchain's about me sending something to you, and you and I doing a transaction. There's got to be a trusted source in the middle. That trusted source today, there's many that believe it's not that trusted, right? That trusted source is based on computing power and hash power and those types of things when in reality that the telcos could be that trusted source.

I actually think that telcos can play a really central role in blockchain, and that strategy and that thought then goes back to your first question, and then bringing those other pieces in to make things more efficient.

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