NEM: Catapult, enterprise adoption and the search for profitable use cases

NEM Overview

NEM, the world’s first ‘smart asset’ blockchain platform, is an enterprise-grade solution focused on building better blockchains for business across industries. Developers can build apps and business solutions on the NEM blockchain in many popular programming languages using a powerful API interface. This makes NEM an attractive blockchain platform for enterprises, governments and academic institutions alike since an organization’s existing business logic code can interact with the NEM blockchain.

NEM is continuously active in growing their global community. It enjoys grassroots support around the world and their cryptocurrency XEM is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in Japan and there is even a restaurant in Tokyo that accepts XEM as payment. NEM also builds relationships with enterprise users and governments and many have already adopted NEM for business and social solutions. Finally, NEM continually invests in promising blockchain startups through the NEM Community Fund.

Flora Fang, NEM Taiwan Regional Head

Global Community

Flora Fang, the Regional Head for NEM Taiwan, places clear emphasis on NEM’s global activity. “We already have a blockchain center in Kuala Lumpur [a co-working space targeted to blockchain innovators]. We started a new hub just a couple of months ago in New Zealand. We’re hosting meet-ups on a weekly basis around the world, and we are active at conferences. Stephen Chia, our Regional Head for Southeast Asia, is very active at these events as well.”

That means NEM gets things going very quickly at a local level. They have dedicated country and region managers who can build and sustain communities on the ground. Even a small region such as Taiwan hosts a vibrant NEM community with plenty of activity. “We have tons of projects coming out of Taiwan and it is a very developer-friendly place. We have more blockchain medias starting up in Taiwan and I’m planning to host a hackathon in Taiwan focusing on healthcare at the end of the year.” says Fang.

Catapult release

One of the big talking points in the NEM community is the upcoming release of Catapult, a blockchain engine which will become the core NEM engine. Catapult will offer numerous improvements for enterprises building on NEM while changing NEM’s core language from Java to C++.

“Catapult will be released in Q1 2019,” says Fang. “It will support cross-chain transactions, which is huge for our blockchain. I don’t think any of the other public chains have launched something similar, and while there are third-party solutions, they may come with security issues,” she said.

In addition to promising cross-chain transactions and improvements to speed and scalability, Catapult for the first time implements two blockchain features that will open up new enterprise uses:

  • Aggregated transactions: single-use disposable smart contracts enable merging multiple transactions, automatic cross-chain transactions, trustless swaps, and more. This allows multiple transfers to be executed as one secure transaction. For example, a customer can receive multiple items with one payment to a business.
  • Multi-level multisignature accounts: allows for a huge variety of business logic by implementing “AND/OR” logic to multisig transactions. This allows for many security configurations to protect businesses and customers from hacks. For example, Catapult can be used to facilitate corporate transactions that require approval from a fraud detection tool as well as a hardware wallet and/or a mobile phone.

These features create many new enterprise use cases, potentially making Catapult a complete blockchain solution for international remittances, voting, identity verification and insurance among others.

Successful enterprise and government use cases

NEM outlines many reasons why enterprises and governments should build on the NEM blockchain and some of those use cases have gained traction in the real world.

NEM’s recent partnership with Gifto, a blockchain ecosystem that rewards content creators, illustrates this adoption trend. Gifto will test if the NEM blockchain provides improved scalability for some of its blockchain-based services, compared to its current Ethereum architecture. “Gifto is owned by Uplive, one of the largest online streaming platforms in the world,” says Fang. “Gifto can be used to purchase gifts for content creators on Uplive. With increased adoption of Gifto and Uplive, we will have more users on NEM because Gifto has a huge ecosystem that includes streaming and gaming.”

NEM is also being trialed by governments. For instance, the Ukrainian electoral commission is conducting a voting trial on NEM blockchain for use in upcoming elections.

The evolution of the NEM Community Fund

NEM also invests in blockchain startups through the NEM Community Fund (NCF). In the past, NEM didn’t take tokens or equity in return, but that will likely change in order to make the NCF’s investment strategy more sustainable.

The NCF looks to invest in companies that have profitable business models instead of just shiny use cases and polished white papers. “I think that many things on blockchains right now are more about use cases than profitable business models,” says Fang. “Profitable business models are something we look into. We also focus on working with traditional businesses because they have working business models and actual users for their tokens.”

The NCF believes that blockchain adoption should benefit society at large instead of just the tech and financial sectors. “People should focus on the technology instead of just tokens or ICOs because they’re just hype,” says Fang. “The thing I really like about NEM is that we are focused on building the ecosystem on top of our blockchain and looking for solutions for society and the economy to create a New Economy Movement.”

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