From our highly scientific poll conducted in a bar after ILTA Insight 2018, the speaker who left the biggest impression at the conference was Gowling WLG’s head of architecture and innovation Jody Jansen, who talked about a firmwide incentives scheme rolled out this summer, which is designed to introduce employees to the basics of blockchain while rewarding them with tokens for free drinks.
Gowling WLG Reward Token scheme was introduced in July and speaking to the London ILTA audience Jansen said: “I was complaining to my wife that I can’t find a use case for blockchain and she said ‘blockchain is utterly boring and it’s no wonder no one talks to you.’” However, out of that conversation sprung the idea of enabling staff to exchange tokens on a blockchain platform, which can be cashed in at the staff restaurant in London and Birmingham. UK staff download an app onto their mobile and set up a digital wallet to hold the tokens in.
Jansen, who led the introduction of the scheme alongside corporate partner David Brennan, used the Waves platform to get started. In order to get their first tokens employees have to watch a two-minute blockchain movie.
“My one concern was how we persuaded the catering company that tokens can be exchanged for coffee, but they were up for it and every token is worth £1.60, which is one cup of coffee,” Jansen said.
Speaking to Jansen after the session, it is clear that the idea has legs and going forward staff will be able to earn, exchange and save tokens, including to buy merchandise that is only available to them.
The imagination can run wild at this point: we propose a sports bag with IT director Tony McKenna’s face on it. (Surely someone can do better than our terrible mock up below.)
Joking aside, regardless of where you are on the blockchain bell curve it’s a commendable way to introduce new technology, and no wonder that Jansen reports that adoption is high – 300 people have registered so far and there are 4,000 tokens in circulation.