Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a blockchain-focused event in the eBay NYC space in the heart of Manhattan, Blockchain Adoption in Business and Enterprise. The room was packed with many notable people in the blockchain community who came to hear from speakers from companies such as Hyperledger (Karen Ottoni), ConsenSys (Phil Kelly), EOS (Kevin Rose), and BlockchainDriven, a leading blockchain consultancy firm that has experience consulting and developing with a wide variety of platforms for their clients (Peter Borovykh).
I learned a ton from each of these panelists, and I felt that you, my audience, could also learn a lot from these experienced and successful members of the NYC blockchain community. Here are some of the most important points and topics brought up by this excellent panel:
“Blockchain is a Database on Crack”
This saying was a huge hit with the crowd, as Peter Borovykh’s analogy got several laughs from the audience and even became a go-to phrase for the rest of the panel. Despite this humorous way of describing blockchain, it does ring true, as blockchain’s most powerful use cases currently are surrounding its ability to be a secure and distributed ledger for all sorts of businesses.
Which Companies/Industries Need Blockchain?
While the entire panel agreed that blockchain has wide-reaching capabilities, there were a few common points brought up by panelists, especially related to near-future adoption of blockchain in certain companies or industries.
Hyperledger’s Karen Ottoni is very optimistic:
“Combined with IoT, Ai, Smart contracts, you’ve got automation, accessibility, better visibility, transparency. So you’ve got new capabilities enabled beyond efficiency.”
- Karen Ottoni, Hyperledger
Borovykh echoed this sentiment, but added an interesting wrinkle to this optimistic narrative:
“Emerging companies are the ones with higher need and interest in blockchain. Few US companies are using revolutionary thinking to take data and transactions into the future. The US is severely lagging behind.”
- Peter Borovykh, BlockchainDriven
As a blockchain consultant, Borovykh has dealt with companies across the world looking to incorporate the power of blockchain into their businesses, and someone with his experience to make a statement like that certainly got the crowd’s attention. According to him, not only could a significant number of companies use blockchain to great effect, but specifically companies already on top, especially those in the United States, should put more effort into blockchain, or risk falling behind.
Where is Blockchain Now?
While it may be easy to point at certain projects and come to a quick conclusion about the current state of blockchain, each panelist had their own unique and insightful view. Peter Borovykh, specifically, hit on the point that the technology is there, but the affordability is not.
“I think we would all be surprised by just how many companies want to use blockchain. The issue now is that it’s not realistic in terms of price for them, which is why we desperately need custom solutions. That’s something we really focus on at BlockchainDriven in the hopes that we can make a big contribution in bringing blockchain front and center. Blockchain also makes equal distribution of wealth and information possible. It’s a big chance for emerging countries to catch up and surpass the developed world that hold 90% of the world’s capital.”
- Peter Borovykh, BlockchainDriven
What Are the Limitations?
While only briefly touched upon, EOS New York’s Kevin Rose hit upon an important point while discussing blockchain’s future.
“Smart contracts. How smart are they? Can they handle disputes? Who do I go to in an automated process? There are still real logistical issues in dispute resolution.”
- Kevin Rose, EOS New York
ConsenSys’ Phil Kelly added on, saying, “Additionally, there seems to be a major lack of qualified developers, much less UX/UI focused people to make everything usable.”
This lack of talent is something that has been holding blockchain back, according to the entire panel. However, what they could agree upon is that this issue stems from physical people looking to develop on blockchain, and not the technology’s ability to house them.
One other point that was brought up as an important current limitation of distributed ledger technology is scalability. Karen Ottoni and Peter Borovykh had an interesting back and forth discussion about this issue, and the common ground between them was that this issue can be solved on a case by case basis by using more custom solutions.
A Round of Applause
This was a hugely successful event put on by BlockchainNYC.org, with each speaker adding a wealth of knowledge to the conversation during the panel, as well as fielding questions from attendees during the dedicated networking period.
I usually don’t feel the need to write about events that I attend, but this event had a great mix of insights and representatives from massive players in the space. If you are exploring blockchain or are looking at ways of integrating blockchain into your business, I highly recommend joining Blockchain groups near you, and if you have a project in mind, contacting a blockchain consultancy firm like BlockchainDriven is a must.
Excitement surrounding blockchain adoption in business and enterprise has been booming as of late, so now is the perfect time to explore if your project can harness blockchain and distributed ledger technology.