Applications and Use Cases

The Network Is the Exchange: Shidan Gouran's Future Vision

September 05, 2018

When it comes to disruptive technologies, Shidan Gouran tends to show up a few years ahead of others.

With a background in pure mathematics, applied math, and theoretical physics, it seems Gouran looks through a well-harmonized kaleidoscope of lenses including numbers, logic and relativity, and sees how technologies and industries will mature, and at present is investing his considerable energy into foreseeing the impact blockchain can have on industries and lives.

“The world is getting smaller,” Gouran said, describing a similar phenomenon to the impact the Internet had two decades ago, connecting more ideas, machines and people, while bringing together micro-communities, and making it possible for entrepreneurs to compete with massive enterprises, many whom have since gone out of business as disrupters used digital technologies to make life more convenient, more entertaining, and often less expensive.

“The network is the exchange,” Gouran explained, as part of a discussion on the rapid evolution of blockchain across nearly every industry, including financial services. “Blockchain is the supply chain of the future and is already having a massive impact on even the world’s largest traditional exchanges and the participants, including traders, broker-dealers, buy side, sell side, analytics, market data, foreign exchange, and more. Nobody who wishes to remain in the past will remain safe – transfer agents, clearing houses, custodial services. The door cannot be closed now, and only those who adapt will survive.”

Gouran also gets fired up about the potential for generating working capital in far more efficient ways, capital which can be invested at a lower cost of capital, with risk spread out in a more decentralized fashion.

“We never seen a market so global, so international, which millions of people can participate in; investors from all of the world, including people who make an average salary, can invest and are investing which is driving a lot of the growth in crypto currencies.”

Gouran, who has been building businesses and making money in technology transitions, also recognizes that many of the world’s growth industries started with adult entertainment, which has driven everything from voice, to text, to chat, to online services catering to people who enjoy pornography, and this time around, one of Gouran’s companies, Canadian-based Global Blockchain Technologies (BLOC)  is making it possible for people to get paid for enjoying Playboy content.

Yes – the viewers get paid – not the other way around.

BLOC is working with Playboy Enterprises to develop a digital wallet that pays users in cryptocurrency for watching content on

The wallet uses the “Vice Industry Token” (VIT) on the portal and will be integrated into Playboy’s platform by the end of this year.

Playboy is one of many media companies embracing the chain, often in different ways, but in large part to make advertising easier and more transparent.

As users watch, comment on, like and vote on the site’s content they will be rewarded with VIT. They will also be able to buy VIT from an exchange, while the new BLOC wallet will allow users to store and then spend their VIT on premium content, subscriptions and whatever else Playboy Enterprises is creating for the future (virtual reality, augmented reality, anyone?)

Reena Patel, Playboy’s chief operations, licensing and media officer, said in the press release with BLOC that “the true hot commodity is human attention. With BLOC helping to drive this integration, will be one of the first to ride this wave in an era where human attention is more valuable than ever.”

It’s natural that Gouran is fluent in the media blockchain lingua franca given that he is an advisor to STEEM, a blockchain-based rewards platform for publishers designed to monetize content and grow community.

The VIT token is based on the open-source code for the Steem blockchain. According to a VIT white paper, the system “generates and distributes Steem tokens as users consume internet content, simultaneously recording proof of such interactions on an immutable ledger.”

Since STEEM began paying out rewards in June 2016, more than $40 million have been redeemed, including by bloggers and influencers who are becoming the life-blood of digital marketing, advertising and brand growth.  In addition to powering STEEMIT for bloggers, the company has also enabled an interesting new blockchain social media company, APPICS, to issue their own coin based on STEEM’s platform, called a XAP.

APPICS is “a next generation, reward-based social media application that introduces a new ecosystem which merges lifestyle with generated income inside a single mobile application,” or, in other words, an alternative to hugely popular social networks like Instagram, except that it pays users who can easily convert XAP tokens to cash for posting content, liking content, and sharing content, with a proprietary voting system that empowers influencers to reward followers.

These are only a few examples of the kind of creativity and new commercialization models Gouran not only sees surfacing, but is driving given his polymath life, as a developer, an executive, an investor, and

Whether it’s money or sex, food, clothing or shelter, Gouran sees an opportunity for blockchain technology, not just cryptocurrency, to simply make things run more efficiently – and fairly, but he’s not counting out the value of evergreen principles including regulation to ensure the protection of consumers and investors.

He runs the largest private equity incubator in blockchain, and the company listed on North American and Canadian exchanges.

With projects in IoT, gaming, the largest crypto mining operation in North America by a factor of two, Gouran started to see the value of blockchain and digital currency back in 2011.

“We had a good idea of what the technologies could be used for, whether trade finance, logistics management, automation of the IoT, and so much more,” Gouran said.

The biggest trends for the immediate future? “Between AI and blockchain will be continuously changing and evolving,” Gouran said. “Different chains and ledgers will need to be managed, and this will drive a lot of development and value as the industry matures. We’re seeing a lot of interest and investment in the areas of supply chain trade finance and gaming, including a consortium of twelve gaming companies coming together to create one token usable across all their games.”

The future is also federated, which brings Gouran back to this uber concept of the network itself being the exchange. “We have only just begun to understand the programmable network,” Gouran, an investor and innovator in IP networking back in the day said. “We’ve entered a true metaverse, which makes the world smaller and bigger at the same time. With software-built and managed private networking, combined with disruptions via blockchain, new combinations are possible, and the next generation will build what may seem inconceivable today.”

Why are we so certain Gouran will be conceiving of those combinations? Given his track record, and the clarity with which he presents the logic of the magic in a way that perhaps only mathematicians and physicists can understand before they create, our intuition tells us he is just getting started – again.

Edited by Ken Briodagh



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