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Bitcoin isn’t Blockchain

Fri 8 Feb 2019 | Wayne Lloyd

Any company that chooses to ignore the digital experiences that blockchain can unlock for their business and their consumers resign themselves to providing the same digital experiences that any one of their competitors can offer

When one considers the genius of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin White Paper (2009) it is important to realise that whilst this paper was, in essence, the birth of blockchain, the paper itself was actually the launch of the first application to be built on blockchain technology – namely Bitcoin.

Indeed, the white paper itself does not once mention the word blockchain at any point, and whilst we cannot have one without the other, you should understand that Bitcoin is not blockchain and vice versa.

To dispel any doubt, and to put that into context, anyone that might consider Facebook to be ‘the internet’ should understand that Facebook is a single application built on top of the internet alongside millions of other applications such as Google, Amazon, Uber etc. In the same way none of these applications work without the internet, Bitcoin does not work without the blockchain.

First principles

You may be questioning why I make what seems to be such an obvious point but as we edge closer towards blockchain adoption ‘en-masse’ it seems this point is not so obvious. I meet many business owners of both large corporates and SMEs who still baseline the opportunities being offered from blockchain technology on the current and perceived limitations of Bitcoin, namely, poor speed, poor scalability and poor user experience.

Furthermore; old news that has stigmatised the maturity curve of Bitcoin to date, such as Silk Road and the unfounded and misinformed ‘click-bait’ media stories related to money laundering and other financial crimes have negatively influenced peoples’ perception of the underlying technology powering it.

Unfortunately, if you are a business that has dismissed the opportunities presented by blockchain technology for reasons such as these, you are at risk of becoming as irrelevant as the companies that dismissed the opportunities presented with the introduction of the internet back in the 1990s.

“Businesses have been put off from exploring the opportunities this technology offers”

If you can recall a time before the internet you can perhaps understand the profound impact its introduction has had on all aspects of our lives socially, economically and politically. We can argue that its introduction has been the single, most transformative innovation in all of human history; therefore, it might be hard for people and businesses to comprehend my view that the impact of the internet will pale into insignificance when compared to the long term impact of blockchain technology.

Don’t be like the rest

At Blockchain Technology World I don’t intend to be presenting a futurist perspective of blockchain utopia. Rather, the focus of my presentation will be to draw attention to the reasons why I believe businesses have been put off from exploring the opportunities this technology offers.

One area of focus will be the media. If the company you work for has chosen to believe what is being written in the newspapers you must first understand and come to terms with the technology in order to achieve a balanced perspective as to why they might be reporting this technology in the way they do.

Academics will tell you that blockchain is a peer-to-peer network that provides an immutable ledger of truth and when you understand what that means, you realise it does not run parallel to the business models of the media.

If you watch or read the news, read social media or digest political propaganda that is dropped into your letterboxes, television screens and radio waves during the run-up to local and general elections, you should understand their spin on stories are disguised attempts to gain our attention.

The more attention they get the more advertisers will pay them for their audience, which provides more money, more power and more control. A single version of the truth disrupts the business models of the media and those authorities that rely on them to spin stories on their behalf. However, if you work for a business outside of that industry, there is an abundance of opportunities for you to explore.

“Businesses must not resign themselves to providing the same digital experiences that any one of their competitors can offer”

Another area of focus will be on the perceived lack of speed and scalability. Once again, there is a long-standing belief, from stories in the media, that Bitcoin and Ethereum are not scalable. The result of this is business owners believing blockchains are not ready for business, given their inability to process large volumes of transactions and data. I’ll provide some thoughts that will challenge that point of view and provide insights into how fast blockchain technology has evolved.

Finally, I will also focus on how blockchain is challenging the digital agendas of companies across all industries. Many companies are part way through expensive digital transformation projects that have had no place or consideration of blockchain technology. It is perhaps easier for companies to keep a narrow focus and continue with the task in hand.

However, any company that chooses to ignore the digital experiences that blockchain can unlock for their business and their consumers resign themselves to providing the same digitalexperiences that any one of their competitors can offer.

Join Me At Blockchain Technology World.

Wayne is presenting at Blockchain Technology World, taking place at ExCeL London March 12-13th. BTW and its colocated events attract over 20,000 IT industry professionals.

Experts featured:

Wayne Lloyd

Partner
EOS

Tags:

Bitcoin Blockchain futurism internet
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