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RIP Coin: Funeral business looks to blockchain as Baby Boomers’ deaths fuel growth

An initial exchange offering to die for?

The coming die-off of Baby Boomers means big business for funeral homes, and so one organization is looking to put the industry on the blockchain.

The Global Funeral Care Foundation will close an initial exchange offering of its GFC token on June 1. The goal is to build a blockchain-based industry platform that will let consumers create fully customizable funerals online, compare prices and write reviews, and find funeral homes. In addition, there will be a marketplace for goods and services—including everything from caskets to funeral insurance. Services for the industry will include an advertising venue, news and regulatory updates, a continuing education learning center, and a talent attraction program.

Pricing transparency is a big problem in the $109 billion funeral industry, powered by the fact that bereaved relatives are often unwilling to shop around for the best price, according to research released on May 29 by Technavio.

That accounts for an increase in the average funeral cost of more than 200% since 1986, according to the GFC. Technavio predicts a 5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the funeral services industry through 2023.

Increasing that pricing transparency is a key goal of the GFC Foundation, and all industry participants will have to pledge to abide by a transparency policy.

“With the growing number of tech-savvy Millennials [buying funeral services for loved ones], vendors in the market are increasingly launching digital and online funeral services,” according to a senior research analyst at Technavio. “These services allow the users to book funeral services directly through their websites or mobile apps.”

Another growing demand in the field is for technology allowing remote funeral or memorial service attendance, Technavio added.

The GFC plans to launch websites in 12 European and Asian languages, as well as Arabic and Indonesian, by the end of this year. The platform scheduled to go live in the second quarter of 2020.

Global Funeral Care’s decentralized platform will be powered by a GFC token. The GFC is a proof of stake (PoS) cryptocurrency connected by masternodes, with a block time of 60 seconds. Anyone with 60,000 GFCs locked can create a masternode. And, anyone holding any amount of GFC in a GFC wallet will receive rewards through the PoS.

The GFC Foundation’s initial exchange offering (IEO) ends on June 1, with the final sale price of $0.40. At that point, 200 million GFC will have been created, with an addition 170 million being generated through 2026. After that 518,000 blocks will be generated annually. All GFC used as transaction fees will be burned—or, rather, cremated.

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.