Five minutes with: Rana Basu, director, energy & consulting, ConsenSys

This month we get the inside line on the state of the industry from Rana Basu, director of energy & consulting at blockchain specialists ConsenSys.

Rana Basu, director of energy & consulting at blockchain specialists ConsenSys.
Rana Basu, director of energy & consulting at blockchain specialists ConsenSys.

What is the core business of ConsenSys?

ConsenSys is one of the fastest-growing Ethereum blockchain companies in the world and is primarily a venture production studio that specialises in building decentralised applications (known as DApps), enterprise solutions and developer tools for the blockchain ecosystem. Powered by smart contracts and secured through encryption, our applications provide the benefits of transparency, auditability, and tamper-resistance that are unique to blockchain-based solutions.

How do you work with the oil and gas sector?

Basically, the ConsenSys Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) group focuses extensively on the oil and gas, minerals and metals and agricultural commodities. Trade, logistics, operations and trade finance are just some of the various different projects ConsenSys ENR is working on at the current time. In addition, ConsenSys ENR also engages in a number of education, research and innovation initiatives and partnerships in order to accelerate blockchain adoption by various enterprises within the industry.

What benefits can blockchain bring to the oil and gas industry?

Some benefits include, in the short term, supply chain efficiencies which can save time, costs and lead to much less friction in claims and disputes. In the medium term, blockchain can create tokens for assets, such as production or reserves, and these can be sold to consumers, from industrial to retail, using finance concepts like dynamic discounting. In the longer term, smart contracts would track utilisation of machinery and equipment, improving safety, maintenance and return on investment across the processing and distribution value chains.

What are the limitations to blockchain operating systems?

Challenges to full adoption of blockchain can be categorised around technical and adoption limitations which include privacy and confidentiality, partial visibility and temporal visibility. In addition, there are legal liabilities such as a mismatch between code and legal intent, as well as a potential reversion to manual process via issues such as device malfunction and identity theft. ConsenSys is working with stakeholders including market participants, banks, service companies, regulators and industry consortia to create standards to address these limitations.

What will have more impact on industry – AI or blockchain?

We are working on the convergence of the industrial-internet-of-things, blockchain and artificial intelligence technologies. These technologies are complementary to each other and have the potential to multiply their impact when appropriately harnessed together. Blockchain enables trust through multi-party validation of events and the legally enforceable attestations from various parties to a transaction. I believe the digital transformation of the oil and gas industry will utilise a combination of technologies, allowing for significant impact on areas like supply chain, reservoir facility management, surveying and inspections, to name a few.

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