Partnerships are the key to driving the mass adoption of disruptive technologies like blockchain. Given the industry’s nascent stage, it is unlikely that any blockchain project will survive without developing some form of corporate partnership. However, while flashy partnership announcements have proven effective at rallying investor sentiment, they too often lack the substance needed to deliver real value.
A valuable partnership should always be evaluated upon these three metrics: it’s real, it has business value, and its being executed.
A partnership is worthless if one party’s participation has been fabricated. Unfortunately, in crypto space many partnerships have such basic issues. It is always necessary to check whether the official channels from both parties have released any statement or quote regarding their partnership. The simple practice of fact-checking can go a long way in curbing wishful thinking and preventing illegitimate partnerships, such as Centra’s false collaboration with Mastercard and Visa, from deceiving investors.
Announcements that merely re-package openly available resources are not partnerships. Some corporations have tried to pass off integration with an open API as full-blown partnerships. While such integration is certainly useful, the other party has not committed any resources that would be indicative of a partnership. Again, see if the stories match from both parties, such as BMW’s clarification regarding CarVertical’s announcement.
Partnerships are fundamentally about two companies committing real resources to achieve a common goal. The parties involved should always complement each other in clearly valuable ways.
A great embodiment of this philosophy is VeChain’s partnership with Directed Imported Goods (DIG). DIG is a major F&B distribution company based in Shanghai that utilizes VeChain’s blockchain to improve the transparency and traceability of wine transactions in China, a market where counterfeit alcohol is rampant. VeChain has leveraged its blockchain to forge a slate of partnerships by becoming a platform. Company’s CEO Sunny Lu stated:
“VeChain combines blockchain technology with IoT and AI thus offering the possibility to our partners to develop supply chain solutions both at product/asset and enterprise level.”
Similarly, the Basic Attention Token (BAT) seeks to help struggling news publishers garner larger profits by eliminating advertiser middlemen such as Google and Facebook. Through its partnership with Dow Jones Media Group, BAT and its Brave browser are able to deliver content from renowned brands such as Market Watch and Barron’s Media to validate their use cases.
In the entertainment sector, major South American gaming platform FHL Games has partnered with the Gifto blockchain project to help its 18 million users purchase and trade virtual assets more effectively across platforms. Through this partnership, FHL and its users join the blockchain-based social entertainment ecosystem of Gifto, which is already 35 million users strong, through the live-streaming portal Uplive, and Giftomon, the world’s first Telegram game. Gifto CEO Andy Tian explains:
“Gifto’s team has been building entertainment products for the millions for a while. We understand how to create the synergy between users and applications needed and focus on partnerships that drive mass adoption.”
It’s Being Executed
Finally, the value of partnerships hinges upon execution. What real outcomes has the partnership brought about? For example, Gifto’s impressive number of over 1 million wallet holders, and its partnerships with FHL are great value metrics. Also, a testament to the quality of VeChain’s partnership with PwC is the recent announcement that PwC Singapore has acquired an equity share in VeChain. Gifto’s impressive number of over 1 million wallet holders, and its partnerships with FHL are also great value metrics.