Columnist

It’s time to think proactively about blockchain technology

"There is still so much opportunity for growth and development - you are not too late!"

I was invited to be a keynote at IDEA Week – the innovation festival organised by Notre Dame University. My goal was to highlight the current state of blockchain technology and empower the audience to take action.

Later that same week I found myself expanding on that same keynote and delivering the same message at the Global Blockchain Builders – a networking event for veterans of the crypto industry.

From a young student who is looking to learn about industry to an aged veteran of our industry, I saw support in the expansion of my thesis. It became clearer than before that our industry needs positive encouragement to see the current state of the crypto industry, realise its progress and move on to finally implementing so we can see through to the adoption of this technology.

My goal today is to share it with you. So, here it goes.

Cycles

Before any given industry becomes established, it must go through some well-understood cycles of development. These cycles are not a secret and very well described by many. Just in case, refreshing your memory: proof of concept, implementation, and adoption. The biggest question that arises is where exactly blockchain industry places on those cycles right now.

Past: “Proof of Concept”.

Present: “Implementation”.

Future: “Mass Adoption”.

Today I am here to take you on a journey. I trust you will discover several new and possibly unexpected perspectives, and by the end of our journey will have an upgraded mindset about the state of blockchain technology.

I will begin with the past.

As you know ten years ago, Satoshi Nakomoto published Bitcoin’s white paper. In my opinion, this launched cryptographic currency into the new “proof of concept” era. Incorporating immutable ledger, well-designed incentives and of course perfect timing led to an expansion of crypto community and continually increased Bitcoin traction. Despite the disappearance of the Bitcoin founder/s we continued seeing growth and, little by little, questions about its legality and sustainable existence vanished.

In fact, in today’s world, almost everyone knows about Bitcoin, and most governments identified it as “Not not legal”.

Birth of blockchain

The recent growth cycle of 2017: what we refer to as a “Bull Run” opened up essential doors of “proof of concept” to other cryptocurrencies as well. We also witnessed the birth of blockchain as a way to label this “new” technology. We even arrived at a point where cryptocurrency and blockchain technology became different subjects of discussions in the eyes of many.

The good news is that the industry is progressing and it is progressing well. We now live in a world where we have an abundance of established cryptocurrencies, where we see private, and public blockchains offer solutions to many industries. And even seeing applications of best practices from centralised crypto exchanges.

All this development places us right into the ‘implementation era’. During the last ten years, we learned a lot and tested plenty. Now we have a strong foundation and enough information actually to start building.

Before we move on to my next point, I would like to pause and ask you if you can relate to this or similar statements: “Oh man, I wish I got in earlier, now I am too late”.

I often hear comments of this sort, and it makes me sad because it’s so misguided. You might find it interesting that I have been hearing these same comments now for more than five years. In fact, it took my co-founder (Dr Justin D Litchfield) and I almost a year to take action and start building for that same reason – we thought we were too late. I feel silly just thinking about it.

Drop the doubts

With this in mind, I am going to show you an interesting perspective which clearly will demonstrate how wrong this type of thinking is for the current state of blockchain development and allow you to drop those doubts.

Let’s travel to the mid-1970s… the computer revolution had already happened. By then, NASA was using computers in the Apollo guidance systems, they were being built into the F-14 Tomcats for flight control.

Every big (or even medium-sized business) had at least one computer and maybe a team working on figuring out how to actually leverage this new technology, to make their business more efficient. In fact, one computer model – the Nova, by Data General – sold a whole 50,000 units and that was just one company, selling one model.

The computer space seemed overpopulated and already mature enough to have some retire. Space was “hot” but the computer industry had been “trendy” for decades at that point.  Everyone knew what they were, all the businesses had one, and so you could be forgiven for thinking, as a college graduate or professional seeking to innovate, that this “boom” had nothing to offer to you. Maybe there is something new, more exciting to make your mark and make a difference?

By today’s standards basically NOBODY had computers. And NOBODY knew how to use them. Really, back then, the computers were providing a TINY fraction of the value that they do today to economies and efficiency.

Growth

My point is that with the blockchain space, we are currently, similarly early in the development of actual value. There is still so much opportunity for growth and development.

You are not too late!

It’s almost comical to think about how wrong that type of thinking would have been. I trust that this brief trip to the past helped you draw the perspective of where the current positioning of the crypto industry is.

To help you draw an even better view, I would like to share two examples for what blockchain implementation looks like today.

Let us take a  real, well-established satellite company, which places assets into space. This company with the help of great consultants developed its own private blockchain. Using this tech allowed them to track one space asset (one type of satellite) all the way from the source of minerals to production and through its launch into space.

Unprofitable

That’s simply amazing; however, there are still a couple issues. It is still unprofitable, and of course, there is an issue with scalability.

I learned about this company from a co-panelist at one of the crypto conferences last year. I get incredibly inspired when I hear that investment in research and development is happening internally in many enterprises.

Next, I would like to draw your attention to another company. I am much more familiar with this one, as I am a Founding advisor of ABE – A Better Exchange.

This company is led by an experienced team of financial products and system experts as well as seasoned blockchain experts (perfect recipe for success).

Liquidity

Using tokenisation and distributed ledger technology (DLT), ABE will provide a world of access and liquidity to issuers and investors, with the safety and performance of a traditional securities exchange. This company is driven to build  World’s First Fully Compliant 24 Hour Global Exchange Enhanced by Distributed Ledger Technology.

What exactly, you might ask, is the enhancement mechanism?

Simple elimination of trust.

When we look at industries that benefit the most, blockchains and financial service efficiency are a natural fit.

The traditional financial industry as a whole is designed in a way that intermediaries are necessary for the minimisation of fraud. These systems are outdated and slow down liquidity quite dramatically, these old systems are incredibly expansive.

Imagine what the financial industry looks like when we can incorporate technology that allows us to know and not to trust.

Different issue

There is, however, a much different issue for this industry.

It is regulation. ABE has a clear understanding of it, and that is precisely why they applied proactive strategy and have been early supporters of Malta DLT regulation. As you know, Malta is the first country to pass comprehensive legislation for the blockchain industry.

Today, I would like to encourage you to start thinking in proactively about how blockchain tech can better your industry.

As we are only stepping into Implementation Era, it is clear that we have plenty of time and now is the perfect moment to start asking questions. Begin pushing the limits of outdated traditional systems. I encourage you to test the boundaries.

As the blockchain industry begins its decade long progress into this new era, many new doors of opportunities will be open. Now is just a beginning, so use the knowledge we acquired during Proof of Concept era and without fear build next giant which will change the world, change outdated systems.

It is with the help of your brilliant minds, passion for innovation and creative spirit that we will arrive at the bright future, the Era of Adoption.

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