Blockchain Solutions Forum 2017: Key Takeaways

As I sit here in the not-so-sleepy town of Alba in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy enjoying a surprisingly good glass of Barbaresco (only 3 Euros a glass!), I am reflecting on my observations and impressions from the Blockchain Solutions Forum held a week ago in Barcelona, Spain. It’s truffle season in Italy, so let’s talk about Blockchain.

Blockchain is considered widely as a “disruptive” technology, but is it? Is it really the technology or is it the innovative market concepts that we assume Blockchain enables that promise to upturn “traditional” industries? Why is Blockchain needed to enable any of the thousands of business concepts proposed and in flight? Can they be done without Blockchain? What is the value of Blockchain-enabled industry change? These are the questions that I pondered and explored with the many companies, entrepreneurs and pioneers that I engaged with at the Blockchain Solutions Forum in Barcelona last week. Here is the summary of my takeaways.

2017 Blockchain Takeaways

Like Blockchain itself, the Blockchain Solutions Forum is in its early stage of development.  The visionary thinking and drive behind the businesses and applications presented at the conference and emerging from the Blockchain conversation are refreshing.  No doubt something revolutionary will come of all this ideation and discovery, but my general impression is that there is a thick “Purple Haze” shrouding Blockchain.  Progressive, visionary and defiant ideas will need to be tempered by holistic consideration of the pros and cons of Blockchain technology and industry realities, and distilled with the sensibilities of experienced technologist and business experts who have seen and lived through gold rush technology trends such as Blockchain before.

Business leaders need to tread carefully. The Blockchain gold rush is on and there is plenty of fool’s gold out there, not just coming out of California this time.  We are talking about a global, speculative frenzy.  However, just like the Internet, technologies such as Blockchain can have significant implications for your business and industry and should be taken seriously.  The ideal that the Blockchain community is placing their bet on is industry reinvention through disintermediation.  As a business leader you should consider what your role would be in emerging visions of your industry reinvented.  You will also want to consider the innovations in your business that can yield competing value for your customers and your industry to stave off any prominent Blockchain-enabled threat.  Who knows, you might come up with an idea that revolutionizes your industry without Blockchain.

If you are interested in discussing your Blockchain strategy, my company, neXt Curve, provides advisory services for Blockchain startups and enterprises wanting to understand and validate the implications and opportunities that Blockchain technology presents to their future.  Contact me at leonard.lee@next-curve.com if you are interested in an advisory workshop with a panel of Blockchain experts and provocateurs who can provide your team with holistic insight into this exciting but confusing technology and its applicability for your business.

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