Former members of Deloitte's blockchain team are joining a new startup that seeks to bring a tokenized blockchain protocol to one of the world's most inefficient markets.
Announced Monday, a startup called Citizens Reserve is coming out of stealth, revealing it has hired former Deloitte global blockchain leader Eric Piscini, as well as at least two other former members of the firm's blockchain division, to its initial 32-person team.
Not short on ambition, Citizens Reserve is seeking to launch a permissioned blockchain protocol called zerv that the startup hopes will become an "operating system for supply chain."
"We're building a supply chain middleware that sits on top of the blockchain and gives you all the fundamental pieces of the supply chain," Piscini explained.
In this way, Piscini said that the company's "zerv network" will seek to build on top of existing blockchains like quorum and ethereum to create a technology that can match orders and track provenance on a supply chain that operates on a consortium model.
Key to this, however, will be what the company calls its ability to "embrace blockchain" by using the technology to offer monetary incentives. As described by Piscini, the zerv platform will feature a cryptocurrency that will be redeemable for real-world assets.
Piscini told CoinDesk:
"The real version is that this is decentralized platform, which is very true to the blockchain. We don't want to become a centralized system."
He went on to say that while the market will decide the value of the coin, the company plans to accumulate real-world assets and back the token in such a way that it does not fall below $0.01. The idea is the tokens could be redeemed for these assets by members.
Armed with this vision, the company is now seeking to raise millions in a private sale of its token. Though he did not disclose the total of the fundraise, Piscini said the goal is to also have a public sale of the assets in which additional funds could be raised.
Still, he was quick to note that the funds raised will not be used to fund the company itself, but rather to build and grow the zerv network.
Founded in late 2016, Citizens Reserve is led by CEO and co-founder James Bower, former CEO of US-based tablet accessory manufacturer Gamevice (formerly Wikipad). Addison McKenzie and Shannon Coble are also co-founders.
But if Piscini was less clear about the details of the company financing, he was more open about its go-to-market strategy.
According to company materials, the defense sector will be "the first industry" targeted due to the fact that markets for the trade of ammunition, weapons, medical devices and more don't use any form of software today.
"In the defense industry, the way people buy and sell is by picking up the phone," he said.
Still, the overall goal is that, over time, the zerv network will be used across industries including healthcare, real estate, VR and electronics. The company, he said, will provide a guarantee of the token's value, while manufacturers will broadcast these various kinds of inventory to the network.
"If want to sell my product, I'll forecast the information I have coming up and I'll publish that on the platform. We match the order, provide the marketplace functions and the agreement will be logged on the blockchain. We don't put the individual asset on the blockchain."
However, if the details are still coming together, Piscini is confident that the supply chain will emerge as one of the more essential blockchain use cases, though one that is perhaps being held back by models that seek to use permissioned versions of the technology.
"When I was working at Deloitte, across all the different use cases of blockchain, the number one use case in terms of revenue and impact was supply chain," he said.
"What we want is to become the number one supply chain choice for everyrone who wants to do supply chain in the world."
Image via Pete Rizzo for CoinDesk