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Deep Dive with Sam Radocchia, Co-founder Chronicled

Co-Founder @chronicledinc // Blockchain // Forbes 30 Under 30. Answering Qs 5th April 10am PT.

posted 9 months ago

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Neil Deramchi
I really relate to your academic + programmer + entrepreneurial background combo. How has weaving those three together been great or challenging? Does your present life involve balancing your diverse skillset, or do you go through phases of focusing on leveraging or growing one skill? Ramble here.
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Sam Radocchia
@NeilDeramchi Thank you for your question and glad that you can relate to the academic + programmer + entrepreneur mix!

I grew up in an entrepreneurial household (my father ran and scaled a large family retail business) and had early exposure to computers and technology. Learning to code quite young, I spent a lot of time building websites (like with weird 90s graphics, music playing, visitor count, and puppy animations), gaming, taking apart computers and rebuilding them. That said, I've always had a creative side as a writer, theater director, and social / cultural theorist. Perhaps I just have a right brain / left brain balance! ;)

I went on to attend a Liberal Arts university as an undergrad and interdisciplinary studies were not only encouraged, but a fact of life. I didn't end up studying comp sci (I actually began as a neuroscience major) but eventually switched to focus on Anthropology / Sociology and English / Linguistics. I absolutely loved semiotics and critical theory. Then, ended up doing my undergrad anthro thesis as an ethnography of the virtual world, Second Life, where I focused on the virtual currency exchanges of the Linden Dollar. This was in 2009.

Around that time, I was also in a theater directing class, and realized I loved management, bringing people together, helping them realize their full potentials. So I started a company. Except it wasn't a theater company, it was a tech company.

I founded that company mainly because I saw market opportunity. It was at the time where students were just starting to use their laptops in class and I'd spend time sitting behind them, watching, observing, and noticing that all of the women were aimlessly browsing shopping sites. So the company was born. We created an online personal shopper, modeling the web app after pandora and its music genome project. We ended up defining about 700 unique attributes that could be used to define an article of clothing or accessory and writing an algorithm to provide seamless recommendations (and capture the attention of all of those people aimlessly browsing). About three months in, we had significant growth and I wanted to monetize but not just through affiliate links. It was so important to me to fix the big problem and allow people to check out right on the site. Except, at the time, there weren't really APIs or marketplace functionality. So we built an API to integrate all the inventory management, POS, and ERP systems that small and medium sized apparel businesses were using. That's when I got deeply into supply chain and systems integration.

After the first company, I consulted for a while, building products for people. I loved getting my hands dirty in the code. For the second company, I served as CTO, initially architecting and building the product, then growing the team. Ironically, that company was aggregating affiliate programs to create a price comparison engine! I got into Riak DB and started diving into crypto / blockchain around then.

In late 2014, I met my co-founders, and started Chronicled, with the mission of using a blockchain to register real world objects, devices, etc. I initially served as CPO for the first three years and more recently have moved into marketing as CMO.

Weaving the skillsets has always come naturally to me. I'm sort of an oddball and couldn't see myself as specializing in one thing. Some people call that a polymath. I hate using buzzwords to describe myself. ;)

My present life, as a CMO, allows me to leverage all my skills. Making blockchain relatable and understandable is no easy feat!
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Neil Deramchi
@NeilDeramchi @iamSamsterdam thank you for this, can absolutely say many of the same things so it's interesting to see your growth and path!!
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Dennis Stücken
When and how did you get into crypto?
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Sam Radocchia
@dstuecken I have a history as a bit of a gamer, and was always fascinated from an academic perspective how in-game or virtual currencies could be exchanged for fiat. When I spent time living in Second Life probably around 2008-2009, I would produce digital assets like clothing and be rewarded in Linden Dollars. That concept was just unreal to me. Then I started a few tech companies, the second of which landed me in Park City, UT, with an ex board member from Overstock.com. I dabbled in bitcoin, was fascinated with the dark web, but ultimately became most interested with the use of blockchains as a mechanism to facilitate trusted interoperability. Our mission at Chronicled was always "leveraging blockchain for non financial assets," so my background has been more focused on the blockchain side of things, as opposed to crypto.
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Ben Tossell
What projects are you most excited about in the space?
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Sam Radocchia
@bentossell Tendermint / Cosmos has an interesting model on the protocol side.

Shopin is of particular interest to me, because I essentially built a universal shopping cart / shopper profile with recommendations with my first company. Except we had to build out APIs and point to point integrations. I wish I had blockchain back then! That said, what Shopin is working on is very near and dear to my heart / obsessions.

Cellarius is a collective storytelling / myth-making endeavor. With my history and interest in gaming, anthropology, and cultural theory, I am very intrigued about the notions of collective consciousness.
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Neil Deramchi
What made you so interested in/passionate about global supply chains to begin with?
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Sam Radocchia
@NeilDeramchi I think I touched on this answer a little bit in the first post, but let me add some color to the response.

I grew up playing around in the offices and warehouses of my family's retail chain. The business ultimately moved into production and distribution as well, so I was exposed (that's an understatement) at a young age to all the nifty new things in the 80s/90s like RFID, logistic systems in the warehouses and distribution centers that would sort packages based on readers and a bar code scan, 18 wheeler trucks. These things seemed like magic to me. My brothers and I would run around in warehouses playing hide-and-seek, stealing the walkie talkies, driving fork lifts.

Then, my first company focused on retail / social commerce and I set out to create a universal shopping cart. Spending close to 3 years working with small and medium sized businesses to move them to digital POS and inventory systems, integrating with those systems, in order to have real-time access to inventory data really stuck with me. Sure, that is just one element of the supply chain, but I started to see the big picture then.

With Chronicled, it was always a vision, but in 2014, while blockchain tech was so nascent, we really started with one idea in mind: how could we register a physical object to a blockchain. Naturally the use cases that presented themselves then were to create certificates of authenticity for art, collectibles, luxury goods, sneakers, but the mission was always to enable and empower people to transact, transfer custody, automate payments, etc. Those protocols were just too complex to build at the time. Now, we've built protocols to perform most supply chain actions such as register object, transfer custody, transfer custody with proof of receipt, generate purchase order, and so on.

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Neil Deramchi
What have you been geeking out on recently?
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Sam Radocchia
@NeilDeramchi More recently, I've become absolutely fascinated about the future of supply chains and how we might not even have them at all, but rather, will have something that looks more like a demand chain.

I am totally into additive manufacturing (have invested in a few companies), the idea of networked printers, all creating local hubs of infrastructure that work together to create products on an as-needed basis based on location, demand, material availability. My biggest focus is in creating responsible and sustainable supply chains and production/consumption ecosystems, so I think where Chronicled is headed is certainly a start.

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Soona Amhaz
On a high level, how does Chronicled work?
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Sam Radocchia
@soonaorlater Chronicled is a provider of smart supply chain solutions. We have developed a decentralized protocol and network for supply chain to enforce cross-organization business rules without revealing private data. What does that mean?

Network - We work with ecosystems to roll out permissioned blockchain networks.

Protocols - Supply Chain Protocols such as "register asset," "verify asset," "transfer custody" and anything you'd need to automate supply chain functionalitiy

IoT Devices and Microsensors - We integrate with and provide hardware in the case that certain parameters or conditions need to be met in a smart contract. For example, a pharma company requires that drugs are shipped between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. They want to prove that the temperature remains in bounds while it was shipped so they can either (1) prove to regulators or (2) automate release of payments through a smart contract where one condition that needs to be met is temperature.

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A few high level applications:

tracking pharmaceutical drugs in the US supply chain, registering and transferring serial number data between parties without revealing that data using zkSNARKS on an open network.

tracking responsibly sourced gold from mine to vault using a combination of identifiers and cryptographic sensors (PKI NFC). Once the gold is in the vault, it is then tokenized to create an asset backed cryptocurrency (the gcoin), which can allow gold investors liquidity

tracking auto parts to prevent counterfeiting or identifying them during a recall

tracking food from the source to prove that it was sustainably sourced or certified organic (we are doing this with other industries like personal care / cosmetics, lumber, fish, etc.)

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