The Morpheus.Network founder talks to Paschal from Blockleaders about global supply logistics, addressing the UN, and trading psychology for a successful life in business.
Every day, Dan Weinberger traverses the Skyway Bridge, a 1950s construction that spans Burlington Bay in southern Ontario. Opened in 1958, the Skyway was designed to be high enough to allow ships to pass underneath, and wide enough to handle the increasing numbers of privately owned motor vehicles travelling north to Toronto. Before long, the number of cars on the road increased so much that a second bridge was added to ease congestion. Now, a huge structure that carries in excess of 150,000 vehicles daily, the Skyway is a daily reminder to Dan Weinberger of the complexities, expense, and challenges of moving goods and people from A to B. After all, building global bridges is at the heart of Dan’s work. As founder and CEO of Morpheus.Network, he is using blockchain technology to ease the bureaucratic and logistical difficulties that hamper global trade.
Global Supply Logistics is the ideal use case for blockchain, thinks Dan. “The way you can relate different aspects of the supply chain - take a simple example of money being transferred from one person to another - blockchain can hold the original documents and have them matched to the actual payments. When it comes to documentation right now there is no standardized method to do this on a global level, and blockchain gives us the opportunity to connect all these different facets of the supply chain through a common medium. It will remove all this disjointedness and confusion. It’s close to impossible for certain countries to communicate and deal with other countries just because of paperwork. Paperwork puts some companies out of business. Blockchain can change all that.”
Weinberger’s flair for business was obvious, even as he studied psychology at the University of McMaster. “I had a summer job, going door to door selling water coolers. I did really well at it. The next year they invited me back and made me a boss over ten other people who were doing the same thing I had been doing the year before. Right away I was attracted to running this as a business and making sure I maximized the number of sales that people could make. And that became my entire summer. In business, whatever opportunities are presented have to be grasped. I came to industrial equipment when I was living in China. This really opened my eyes and I made great connections. Next thing I knew I have importing and exporting. Industrial equipment was something I was excited to deal with, but I’m much more excited by what I’m doing now.”
That half-year in China teaching English when he was twenty-three continues to influence Dan’s worldview. “I really enjoyed it. I was excited to meet all these people from all around the world, and then, after China, I travelled a lot. I feel those experiences influence me to this day. I’m infected by it. The way I communicate with people, the way I take in new cultures, are based on my experiences during that half year.”
These attitudes are typically Canadian, and Dan is quick to agree with the outside view of Canada as a country with a high quality of life, a liberal outlook and polite, accepting people, exemplified by current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “It is 100% true. Everyone here is just more polite and nicer to each other. I’m pretty well travelled compared to many other people, and I see a high standard of living in many other places but Canada has the nicest people. Canadians are very accepting, and I find it hard to see myself ever living anywhere else. My wife loves London, but I think we will be staying put here in Ontario.”
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Like most people, Dan’s introduction to blockchain was through Bitcoin. He quickly found himself disappearing down “the rabbit hole” to satisfy his thirst for knowledge on the emerging tech. “It’s like a vampire bite. Once I was bitten, I became addicted to knowing more. I was discovering as the world was discovering as well. I felt like I was living along with this technology as it was becoming popularized, matured and polished across all these different businesses.”
ICO scams have given the industry a bad name in some circles, but Dan has been struck by the community spirit amongst businesses working in blockchain. “The camaraderie is very tight. People want to help each other and with so many scams doing the rounds, the good people club together to weed out the imposters. It’s necessary for the positive voices in blockchain to overpopulate the space and squeeze out the scammers.”
Morpheus.Network, the company founded along with web development and IT security specialist Noam Eppel, ran a very successful token sale. "ICOs have been unfairly singled out for criticism," says Dan, "because of the huge amounts of capital some of the projects raised without having any 'product' other than a whitepaper." That some blockchain startups failed having raised money this way is hardly surprising. “People forget how many businesses, in all types of industries, receive investment only to fail shortly afterward. Some projects jumped on having an ICO just because they saw how much money could be made. We ran a token sale, and it wasn’t easy, and I’m proud of the way in which Morpheus.Network went about its sale. As long as the token has a utility within the service you are trying to get off the ground, ICOs still have a place in business development.”
As far as adoption is concerned, however, blockchain is still in its infancy. “Even infancy is being generous. Adoption, though, is inevitable and will be widespread. Now the emphasis is on implementation. Businesses are seeing the benefits based on implementation, but that has to be scaled up on a global level. It’s going to happen a lot faster than people think, in my opinion. It will just take one large company delivering a real change that affects the speed of delivery, or cost to the consumer, and other businesses will have to follow suit or be left behind. Once it starts happening, it will be quite a rush when it comes to adoption.”
The only rush we have seen to date has been in terms of investment. “Bitcoin didn’t soar to $19,000 because of adoption. In fact, there has been little or no adoption of Bitcoin as a working currency. We haven’t seen the potential of cryptocurrency. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg. But for me, it’s 100% about the technology, and not about the volatile markets. Bitcoin is the Coca-Cola of cryptocurrencies. The name is so ingrained in the public consciousness that even if the technology behind Bitcoin changes over time, the ‘brand’ will remain.”
In October Dan will be back in China, where he will give a speech to the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) on standardization of blockchain technology and implementation challenges. “It’s a tremendous honor and a validation of the work we are doing at Morpheus.Network. One of the great things about blockchain is that it is bringing industry voices together in an attempt to solve problems for the common good. Competitors in many industries are seeing how they can reach common goals with the aid of this technological advance, and the possibilities to humanity as a whole are still unknown. I find that very exciting.”