1. Introduction: (Generalized) Mining as a Corporate
In July 2020, our team at T-Systems MMS, subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom (Europe’s largest telco, parent of T-Mobile) has started providing an IT service to a public blockchain network. Despite IT service provisioning being pretty much our daily business, this time it is slightly different. There is no direct customer per se, as well as our revenue takes the form of a crypto-asset. In a specific case of Chainlink, $LINK token this is paid to us for providing real-world data like asset prices, making it available for various decentralized applications built on top of Ethereum, mostly in the area of Decentralized Finance (DeFi).
The concept of a blockchain native service provisioning is sometimes referred to as “Generalized Mining” or blockchain infrastructure provisioning. In broader terms it means taking on a certain role in a given blockchain network and performing a certain task in exchange for a reward in form of a native digital asset of that network. Examples include being a validator, miner, transcoder, witness, node operator, curator, providing liquidity and so on. Each of these differ from network to network.
T-Systems is thus the first major corporate in the world to engage in such type of blockchain infrastructure provisioning while (more importantly) also monetizing it via the respective crypto-asset of the network, all in a regulated and fully compliant way. With this, we have turned ourselves into a mini “hedge fund” of sorts.
The goal of this post is two-fold. Firstly, it is an attempt to take an in-depth look at the concept of blockchain infrastructure from both the investor, as well as corporate standpoint. And secondly, perhaps of more interest to the seasoned validators and yield farmers, argue why I believe in convergence between IT and finance when it comes to staking and generalized mining and why I can’t stop talking about it.
Intro to Blockchain Infrastructure
The term infrastructure is perhaps even more abstract and high-level than the term blockchain itself. For one to give an elevator pitch for this and convince a large entity to look into generalized mining opportunities is not an easy task, as, not surprisingly, I have found out multiple times. It helps to break down the concept by looking at it from different perspectives, of which there are three main ones — infrastructure/tech, financial/economical and a business/strategic. I will cover these one-by-one below.
Disclaimer: all opinions expressed in this post are my personal opinions which might not be fully representative of the opinions of my employer.