A self-made millionaire by 16, Jonathan Manzi is no ordinary entrepreneur. Now 31, the past 15 years have seen him start an energy drink business but shutter it once he realized that there wasnt enough of the required kava-plant ingredient in the world to feed his ambitions of competing against Gatorade.
Becoming the youngest bar owner in San Francisco at 22, Manzi went on to create a robotic FedEx-like printing office with his company INK and later launch Beyond Protocol, a blockchain that styles itself as the internet for the Internet of Things (IoT).
Whether its a biometric suit that records the vital signs of Cage The Elephants lead singer or an electric vehicle charging system spreading across Slovenia, Manzi the magnificent continues to create opportunities for machines and devices to talk and interact via blockchain as they emerge from the old internet.
Manzi grew up in a small town in Massachusetts near Salem, where the witch trials happened many years ago. His first foray into business came about while in high school in 2007 when he started an internet marketing company called Vintage Network based on ad serving technology. He says the challenge and joy of problem-solving got me working 20 hour days to continue to build it. Solving problems was not the only reward, as Manzi found himself a millionaire at a mere 16 years of age.
Of such wealth at a young age, Manzi explains that he largely compartmentalized his success, buying only a used BMW in order to go snowboarding in New Hampshire.
There was a kind of a sense of Im doing something different versus others, but I hope you know I still feel very connected to the others, he explains of his experience of trying to live a normal teenage life as an internet millionaire. Eventually, he found his people entrepreneurs and hacker-types.
We had a $5 million in revenue by the time I finished high school
As he finished secondary education with a multi-million dollar business, Manzi felt that he had pigeonholed himself in this kind of niche internet marketing world. Wanting to move beyond its limits, he applied to Stanford believing that it was where all the innovation was happening. Predictably enough, he was accepted.
As Manzi started his management science and engineering and philosophy degree in 2009 in the depths of the Great Recession, he sold his stake in Vintage Network as it faced turbulence due to businesses cutting their marketing spend. He soon also decided to drop out of university because though he enjoyed the academic environment, he felt he could probably read those books and do it on a different schedule while continuing on his entrepreneurial journey.
Beyond Protocol x @CageTheElephant
Matthew Ray Shultz, frontman of CTE, which won Best Rock Alum at the 2020 Grammys, dons a 3D printed suit produced in collaboration with @beyondprotocol1 that measures his biometric information, and allows developers to build apps on top of it pic.twitter.com/9OOssJSakq
— Beyond Protocol (@beyondprotocol1) October 3, 2021
Its a good way to illustrate how blockchain can be used with data coming off of devices, Manzi says. He goes on to explain the cybersecurity value of using blockchain to validate the signatures of individual devices to protect against hacking.
Further, he adds that blockchain integration allows for the entire dataset to be cross-validated in such a way that knows which devices have accessed which data and, by extension, which has had access to specific pieces of information. This allows for a higher capacity in privacy protection, at least in theory, because such an arrangement can ensure that unauthorized components can not and have not gained access to specific data. This, however, can represent a double-edged sword because it is conceivable that the full tracking data could end up in the wrong hands after it is uploaded onto a computer.
The true purpose of the suit comes from the data which, when collected and combined, can result in the building of customized applications to benefit the wearer. Developers can come in and say to Matt, here are some different applications that I can build based on your vitals, Manzi explains.
Lets say hes getting a little agitated. The biometric suit could trigger a vibrating pulse to the wrist area to suggest that he, for example, calms his breathing down, Manzi explains regarding the suits function.
Functions like these carry potential benefits in areas including mental health, with Manzi adding that performers face immense stress while on tour and the ability to track stress levels can be beneficial doubly so for someone like Schultz who has a history of battling depression and is now active in promoting good mental health.
How cool would it be if such a suit could be used in conjunction with a metaverse avatar, such as one created using thePolish Elon Musks portal to the Metaverseor even one performing in a 3D Animal Concert?
Another recent proof of concept can be found in Manzis co-founder Benics native Slovenia, where Beyond Protocol has partnered with the European Union Commission to set up an eBike charging station outside Parliament in Ljubljana.
(1/3) Beyond Protocol’s technology has been selected to power European Union green initiative. Alongside partners, Beyond Protocol has deployed an eBike solar powered station in Slovenia, with a systems architecture built from blockchain technology. The station is located in… pic.twitter.com/RLvG32IB8O
— Beyond Protocol (@beyondprotocol1) November 19, 2021
What makes these bikes special is that they are more than mere electrical devices that blindly charge when plugged in but, instead, are individuals that can independently communicate with the charger.
The bike to identify itself with hardware and when it goes up to a charger, say Hey, this is ___ type of bike therefore I need ___ type of charging it should happen at ___ charging rate and here are my billing details.
This bike charging concept is currently being scaled out to electric vehicle charging stations in Slovenia. We started looking at the electric vehicle infrastructure in Europe and we determined that we can develop these charging stations where the cars can pull up to them and seamlessly pay for electricity, Manzi explains. Each car is given a unique identity with which the driver can connect their Stripe account as one connects to a wireless speaker.
When the car connects to an electric charging port, it identifies the charging stations wallet address via Bluetooth and pays automatically for the electricity it receives. Validation is the key word the integrated Beyond Protocol blockchain allows the machines to seamlessly recognize each other and transact without fear of imposters.
This means that stealing your credit card would not be enough for an identity thief to buy gas at the pumps theyd need to steal your car, too.
Though Manzi initially considered having payments settle in Beyond Protocols native tokenBP, he came to the conclusion that initial adoption would be more seamless when allowing for fiat payments through Stripe, where, for example, a credit card can be used as a source of funding instead of crypto.
Despite the initial lack of utilization, Manzi sees future use cases for the BP token as like a natural resource for this new economy of devices waking up and starting to communicate with each other in all these new ways that cant necessarily even be imagined right now. He says that is likely to include a role interacting between cars and charging stations in practice.
It allows us to do what we do great, and thats provide the car with the identity and the charging station the identity and allow them to transfer value.