Why SMEs need to embrace decentralized technology faster

December 9, 2019
Louisa Bartoszek

Blockchain data-privacy specialist OpenRelay discusses why they believe small and medium-sized businesses need to invest in decentralized technologies to help them reduce costs and protect their customers.

Week in, week out, we see a never-ending stream of data leaks and privacy nightmares dominate global media headlines. The internet as we know it is breaking. Personal data is being freely accessed and abused by bad actors, putting the safety of those 7.5 billion people in the world who use the internet at risk.

The vast majority of companies want to protect their digital customer data and recognize they have a duty to do so. But the stark reality is many don’t know how, nor have the money available to invest in building vital new privacy infrastructure.

It is expensive to keep pace with rapid technological developments. Research suggests that costs can range between $7.7 million and $30.9 million to meet or maintain data compliance, depending on industry regulations. Accordingly, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), data compliance costs can be crippling, and many retailers and businesses are forced to find legal loopholes in order to achieve basic regulatory compliance, rather than doing the right thing by their customers.

“The vast majority of companies want to do the right thing by their customers,” said Austin Roberts, CEO of digital data privacy specialist OpenRelay. “They recognize that data privacy and data security is not just a regulatory requirement, it is a societal right. Businesses with strong corporate governance want to make sure their customers are protected. But the pace of technological change and the need for continuous investment in privacy infrastructure is overwhelming; both in complexity and expense.The financial impact is even more acutely felt by smaller businesses where every dollar can impact whether they survive or not.”

Roberts believes a possible solution is for SMEs to take the leap and move their digital applications and platforms onto decentralized networks powered by blockchain technology. He says in doing so, future data compliance costs will be substantially reduced, and customer’s protected from today’s spiralling data abuses.

It is also one of the reasons why Roberts co-founded OpenRelay in 2018 with Beth Van Horn and Greg Lang. Now part of global innovation group 20|30, OpenRelay creates privacy-first infrastructure and developer tools using decentralized technologies such as blockchain.  They identified an urgent need to build affordable, easy to incorporate and robust solutions which tackle the data privacy crisis facing all industries. Tools which are accessible for SMEs as well as large global businesses.

They launched Rivet in September which is the first privacy-focused, open source gateway to Ethereum which protects customers who use business applications built on the Ethereum platform. OpenRelay believes Rivet has the strongest decentralized privacy policy available today. Rivet protects customers from exploitative data mining practices and seamlessly connect business applications to the blockchain in a way that is affordable, compliant and an easy user experience for the customer.

Roberts added: “We founded OpenRelay primarily because we want to help repair the internet and protect people all over the world who go online every day to shop, search or communicate online. We want everyone to feel safe. We believe moving businesses onto decentralised technologies, such as the blockchain, is the way to do this and in Rivet, we have created a secure and affordable doorway for businesses of all sizes to launch their new decentralized applications and platforms.”

OpenRelay is a longstanding member of the Ethereum developer community and has already pushed the ecosystem forward with multiple contributions and projects. Their first solution was a relay service for the widely adopted 0x protocol.

To learn more about OpenRelay visit openrelay.xyz