Indeed, Starbucks Chair Howard Shultz recently took to the airwaves to let everyone know that his coffee company is getting into the blockchain business.
"I think blockchain technology is probably the rails in which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of," he said during an interview on FOX Business Network.
Blockchain is the digital and decentralized ledger behind Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies. Crypto traders depend on blockchain's transparency and unchanging nature to record all their transactions. Now industries beyond digital coins and even fintech are exploring how to use the technology. Blockchain is potentially the perfect technology for everything from running global supply chains to keeping track of medical records.
But Schulz didn't mention any of that.
Instead, he talked about the possibility of expanding digital customer relationships using blockchain, or even the possibility of launching a proprietary crypto coin. "I believe that we are heading into a new age, in which blockchain technology is going to provide a significant level of a digital currency that is going to have a consumer application," he said during an earnings call.
Hold on, buddy.
That sounds an awful lot like gimmickry to me - tweaking some technology and then using the "blockchain" name to rebrand an already existing customer rewards program.
That's not going to "move the needle" on a big company like Starbucks - and it doesn't make the Seattle company a blockchain investment.
As Clara Peller would have put it back in the 1980s, there's no "beef" here.
However, there's another company out there that didn't just talk about the blockchain in the past week or so, but made some noticeable moves with it.
It's making blockchain technology a key part of its business - and it's doing so in a huge and growing market.
Plus, now is the perfect time to buy - here's why...
Not Yet a Blockchain Leader
Both microcaps and a growing list of Fortune 500 firms and big global banks are investing in blockchain.
Those global giants are doing so because blockchain is a highly secure, cryptographic system that functions as a global distributed ledger. This system not only undergirds Bitcoin and other currencies, but it bypasses banks and governments, operates transparently, and is virtually hack-proof.
Many of us soon will be settling contracts with blockchain. By doing so, we'll avoid bank fees, possible litigation, and a lot of other issues that economists like to refer as "friction." Plus, you can go online and watch these transactions occurring in near real time.
Gartner says the blockchain created $4 billion in business value last year. The firm believes that figure will hit $21 billion by 2020 before rising to $176 billion in 2025 and a staggering $3.1 trillion by 2030.
Bear in mind, this is the market value for blockchain-based enterprise applications. It doesn't count the escalating market cap of cryptocurrencies themselves, of which there are now roughly 1,300 with a combined value of nearly $800 billion.
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To me, that's just an amazing set of statistics. This is a field that barely existed just nine years ago. But it proves a point I've been making since I got involved in crypto trading in early 2013 - the future belongs to blockchain.
Now, I didn't mean to diminish Starbucks itself when I compared it to Kodak's blockchain foolishness up top.
The global coffee chain has been big on technology ever since it put WiFi in its stores back in 2001, when most people were still on dial-up.
In fact, it's a company I like a lot - and recommended to you as a play on mobile technology back in 2015.
Now if Starbucks goes beyond a customer reward system and starts using blockchain to reduce inefficiencies in its supply chain - as a recent linkup with the Qtum crypto coin suggests could happen - then we'll have a different story here.
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is a 36-year Silicon Valley veteran and one of the top tech and biotech financial analysts working today. That's because, as a consultant, senior adviser, and board member for Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Michael enjoys privileged access to pioneering CEOs, scientists, and high-profile players. And he brings this entire world of Silicon Valley "insiders" right to you...
- He was one of five people involved in early meetings for the $160 billion "cloud" computing phenomenon.
- He was there as Lee Iacocca and Roger Smith, the CEOs of Chrysler and GM, led the robotics revolution that saved the U.S. automotive industry.
- As cyber-security was becoming a focus of national security, Michael was with Dave DeWalt, the CEO of McAfee, right before Intel acquired his company for $7.8 billion.
This all means the entire world is constantly seeking Michael's insight.
In addition to being a regular guest and panelist on CNBC and Fox Business, he is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter. His first book Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings warned people about the coming financial collapse - years before the word "bailout" became a household word.
Silicon Valley defense publications vie for his analysis. He's worked for Defense Media Network and Signal Magazine, as well as The New York Times, American Enterprise, and The Wall Street Journal.
And even with decades of experience, Michael believes there has never been a moment in time quite like this.
Right now, medical breakthroughs that once took years to develop are moving at a record speed. And that means we are going to see highly lucrative biotech investment opportunities come in fast and furious.
To help you navigate the historic opportunity in biotech, Michael launched the Bio-Tech Profit Alliance.
His other publications include: Strategic Tech Investor, The Nova-X Report, Bio-Technology Profit Alliance and Nexus-9 Network.