In the last few years, blockchain has become as sensationalized as the internet was in the late 1990s. While the technology is still in its infant stages, individuals and companies are looking into it, eager to either become part of the future and bring about groundbreaking innovation, or to just make a quick buck. This euphoria is what economists call irrational exuberance and was what led to the dot-com bubble of 2000.
However, while many are jumping into the blockchain pool irrationally, it’s also managed to capture the attention of the world’s foremost thought leaders in finance, technology, and law who are now working together to develop it.
These companies and individuals are engaging regulatory bodies as well as governments and introducing disruptive, sustainable, blockchain-powered solutions for the economy. In South Korea for instance, lawmakers are preparing to bring cryptocurrencies and ICOs into the mainstream after a year of regulatory confusion.
According to Business Korea, there are efforts being made to get the South Korea Ministry of Science and Information and the Ministry of Communications Technology to draft ICO guidelines for investor protection. While ICOs are still currently banned, the push from lawmakers is bringing blockchain regulation and adoption to the forefront of government discussion
Perhaps the most vocal lawmaker leading the change is the governor of Jeju Island, Won Hee-ryong, who has written a proposal to the central government requesting that the Island be designated as a haven for blockchain and cryptocurrency. The South Korean thought leaders are not working alone and are involving other global mainstream leaders with interests in the blockchain.
For instance, next month, the country is hosting a three-day global technology summit for crypto investors and innovators. The event will be held in the Sebitseom island complex in Seoul’s Han River and will include high profile speakers such as Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia and Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA.
Jimmy Wales is among the top mainstream leaders to condemn the banning of cryptocurrencies and ICOs even though he has regularly stated that the crypto industry is a bubble. Michael Hayden is a thought leader in Cyber Security and has been an advocate of private sector involvement in helping governments to thwart cyber threats.
Other notable speakers will include David Paterson, former governor of New York, Jung-Hee Ryu Ph.D., partner at Future Play and Foundation X and Bobby Lee, the CEO and co-founder of BTCC.
The event is organized by Beyond Blocks, a community that aims to bring together blockchain thought leaders from Asia and Western countries in a bid to speed blockchain innovation and adoption.
When it comes to the mainstream corporate push, IBM is probably the most vocal blockchain advocate. Apart from organizing several conferences similar to the one of Block Seoul, the company is partnering with small and medium enterprises across the globe to try out new blockchain opportunities.
IBM also provides an infrastructure where companies can build blockchain solutions without incurring the enormous costs of hiring blockchain specialists to build systems from scratch.
Through the IBM Blockchain ecosystem, businesses can build a blockchain network to process business transactions using smart contracts to fit their needs.
IBM expects the mass adoption of the distributed ledger technology to have a $3.1 trillion impact on the global economy. The company is already working with numerous grass roots businesses to bring the technology to the masses.
Blockchain’s success very much depends on the input of lawmakers, when the hype dies down, the technology’s mass adoption will depend on their input as well as that of thought leaders, and influential corporations.
If we are to make any move in bringing blockchain to the masses, we must be ready to go beyond boundaries and engage each other both intellectually and in action. Blockchain events such as Blockseoul present the best networking opportunity.
Among mainstream corporations, IBM has made the most significant strides in bringing blockchain to the masses. We can only hope that as blockchain enthusiasts continue to network, more corporations will see the need to sponsor blockchain powered entrepreneurship. Most blockchain projects today are still at infant stages and need capital to be able to advance to the next level.