MEET OUR CODE_N CONTEST FINALISTS 2018: Cryptowerk from California

07/26/2018  |  Blockchain, CODE_n Alumni, CODE_n18 Startup CONTEST

Living in a world of alternative facts, fake news and cyber threats as regular occurrences, businesses are challenged more than ever to be able to ensure transactions are completed to the satisfaction of all parties involved. US-based startup Cryptowerk wants to change the world by envisioning a future where trust is built into every product, process and transaction. Their goal is to make it easy for industry leaders to develop blockchain-enabled solutions that verify the integrity and authenticity of digital transactions and assets at massive scale. We caught up with Bernhard Hecker, Cryptowerk’s VP of Business Development, to learn more about the practical business applications of blockchain and how the company is driving a digital revolution.

Iulia: What is Cryptowerk all about?

Bernhard:  Cryptowerk helps you create a tamper-proof chain of custody of all your digital information, be it documents, data, or “digital moments”, building trust into every product, process, and transaction by anchoring hashes of your data in blockchains. We add verifiable notations to your data – we “notarize” it – digitally sealing documents and data at the time of entry. You can then give access permission to the right parties and verify that sealed data hasn’t been tampered with and matches the underlying physical or digital assets. Cryptowerk integrates easily into your existing environment, connecting to cloud services like Amazon, Microsoft Azure or Google, along with legacy enterprise applications, databases, and document repositories. It also supports new applications for digitally “notarizing” documents, images, and software.

Iulia: How did you come up with the idea?

Bernhard: In 2016 Dirk Kanngiesser, a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and former P&G brand management executive, joined forces with Holger Assenmacher, an affiliated professor at the University of California, Berkeley, after they both realized that emerging blockchain technology had the potential to revolutionize how companies build trusted systems – based on sealed and verified documents, data, and processes. After quickly recruiting a team of cryptography experts and proven enterprise software experts, Kanngiesser and Assenmacher scaled up their company to develop blockchain-enabled solutions that verify the integrity and authenticity of data and physical objects on a huge scale. In 2017, Cryptowerk was named an SAP Startup Focus Partner and received SAP Certified status.

Iulia: What are you trying to solve?

Bernhard: The internet has a trust issue. No transaction can be instantly trusted any longer, and generating digital trust is typically complicated and expensive. At the same time, there are now more and more compliance requirements, forcing companies to build digital trust into their business operations and dovetail this with data management. Anchoring data in blockchains can create this digital trust automatically and offer a highly secure data landscape.

Cryptowerk has overcome the main shortcomings of blockchains: scalability and cost. We have succeeded in notarizing more than 600,000 transactions or records per second at very low cost in blockchains like Bitcoin and Etherium, which are notoriously slow and expensive. We also have made blockchain technology usable for a new variety of interesting use cases.

Iulia: Blockchain has the potential to transform the life sciences industry, bringing trust and efficiency to everything from drug discovery to patients controlling their own data. How are you helping the pharmaceutical industry to better track drugs? We read about your partnership with pharmaceutical giants, Merck & Company, Inc. and AmerisourceBergen – which will surely be interesting to our readers. Can you tell us about your work together?

Bernhard: Merck is a leading producer of pharmaceuticals, medicines, and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases, and Amerisource Bergen is a Merck partner and one of the largest drug wholesale companies in the world. The two companies share a goal of efficiently tracking and validating returns, detecting counterfeits, and irrefutably documenting compliance with federal, state, and local regulations in massive volumes. Working with Cryptowerk, they’ve developed a system for documenting the authenticity of items and processes throughout every step of the supply chain and have successfully demonstrated its ability to track and trace billions of items.

Among the results they’ve seen so far are:

  • Full compliance with sellable returns verifications (DSCSA)
  • Instant verification of the authenticity of returned items
  • No need to replicate manufacturer data required for wholesalers
  • Tamper-proof records for all parties, including regulators
  • Scalability to scanning by consumers at the point of handover

Iulia: Thank you very much for the interview, Bernhard! We’re looking forward to meeting you at the new.New Festival 2018 this fall, in Stuttgart!