It might surprise you to learn that the federal government is ahead of the curve when it comes to blockchain technology—but it’s true, says SIMBA Chain CEO Bryan Ritchie.
“They’ve been the early adopters,” Ritchie said.
To date, Plymouth-based SIMBA Chain (SIMBA stands for Simple Blockchain Applications) has secured more than a dozen contracts to help federal agencies implement blockchain technology—and the company recently landed a Multiple Award Schedule contract that opens up the potential for much more federal work.
The MAS contract means that SIMBA Chain is now a preferred vendor for the federal government. The 20-year contract allows the company to do business with any federal government agency, giving the company more flexibility to work with other contractors and go after more jobs.
“What this contract really allows us to do now is be really proactive,” Ritchie said.
SIMBA Chain was incubated at the University of Notre Dame, and it launched as a company in 2017.
Currently, Ritchie said, SIMBA Chain earns most of its revenue from government contracts. To date, most of those contracts have been with various branches of the military.
Blockchain technology offers a way to securely record and confirm online transactions. Each transaction forms a “block,” these blocks make up a chain, and the system is designed as a cheat-proof and more secure way to conduct transactions. The technology can be used in applications ranging from manufacturing supply chains to financial records to food sourcing, among others.
One reason the military has been an early blockchain adopter, Ritchie said, is that the technology can bring transparency to complex supply chains and systems.
In one of its government contracts, Ritchie said, SIMBA Chain built a blockchain supply-chain solution for Boeing so the aircraft maker could more easily track parts for the F/A-18 fighter jets Boeing is building for the Navy. SIMBA Chain says its technology has reduced paperwork on the project by 40%.
On another contract, SIMBA Chain is working with the Space Force on a project that will track satellites and space debris.
Currently, Ritchie said, about 75% of SIMBA Chain’s revenue comes from government contracts. The rest comes from commercial customers, such as Mexico-based restaurant chain Toks, which uses a blockchain-based system to track coffee beans from farm to consumer. Over the next two years, Ritchie said, he believes commercial growth will begin to accelerate as private companies begin to follow the government’s lead in adopting blockchain technology.
By the end of 2023, he predicts, the company’s revenue will be about evenly split between government and commercial customers. By the end of 2024, it should be more like 25% government and 75% commercial.
And having the military and other federal agencies as early customers, Ritchie said, should help convince private companies that SIMBA Chain can handle their projects.
“If we can do it for the military, we can do it for anybody,” Ritchie said. “It’s given us great credibility.”