The Blockchain and Bitcoin conference, at Berns Salonger, Stockholm gathered on the 11th September to discuss the current state of the industry. The hype may have lulled since last year, but the interest from those enthusiastic about the essence of this technology is still strong.
These early adopters, with their passion, drive and belief that Blockchain technology will help to make the world a better place, will help to push Blockchain beyond Gartner’s “trough of disillusionment” and towards the “plateau of productivity”. Yes, there are challenges along the way, but the opportunities at stake are inspiring enough to surpass those hurdles.
My key take-away however, is that with collaboration across the ecosystem, between start-ups, established players, regulators and law-makers, there is no doubt these challenges can be overcome.
The key challenges facing widespread adoption of Blockchain technology
Challenges, and how to face them, was a common theme throughout the first half of the conference, each speaker giving their own take on what is standing in Blockchain’s way.
- Firstly, there’s a broad lack of understanding for the use cases, as Mathias Sundin, member of Swedish parliament, talked about. Sundin made the comparison here to the Internet, which suffered from the same widespread inability to fathom what it could possibly be used for.
- Secondly, there is the need for smart regulation, which Tanja Bevic, the founder of Blockchain Alliance Europe, emphasised. Arguably this is a symptom of the first point; how can there be regulation for something when so few people truly understand how it will be used? A concrete example of this is The Swedish Land Registry’s application of Blockchain for property transactions, presented by Jörgen Modin of Chromaway and later Merete Salmeling of Landshypotek Bank. This is tested and working in production. However, regulatory immaturity prevents this working use case from reaching the market for real. In short, we are a piece of legislation away from shortening the process for property transactions from an average of 6 days, to a matter of seconds.
Overcoming these challenges offers a multitude of opportunities
Shortening processes however, for which the business case writes itself, demonstrates just a snippet of the opportunities at stake. A panel of energy industry experts, discussed the opportunities for peer-to-peer energy trading whereby one can trade energy for tokens when energy is in excess, and trade tokens for energy when there is less. In this way, we can ensure that we can utilise all the renewable energy which is available, assisting us in our transition towards a sustainable future. Mattias Hjelmstedt, serial entrepreneur and investor, presented how Blockchain can help turn an industry built on two-hundred-year-old foundations, namely the music industry, into one that is fit for the modern age. By facilitating the collection of unclaimed revenues, equivalent to the size of the entire music industry, musicians can be paid more fairly for their work.
What is more, the technology is becoming more accessible and the thresholds being lowered. Frank Schuil presented the latest offering from Safello (A Bitcoin exchange based in Stockholm), which allows anyone to start a Bitcoin exchange with just a few lines of code. It is now possible to be fully KYC’d (know your customer), AML checked (anti-money laundering) and have Bitcoins on their way to your wallet in a matter of seconds. Something which traditionally can be a slow, heavily administrative process.
As described above however, the key message that I will take away from the 2018 Blockchain and Bitcoin conference is collaboration. This applies to all forms of emerging technology, since Blockchain does not live in a vacuum. IoT, AI, Robotics and 5G are also vital technological cornerstones of our time, and it is in combining these that we will realise the true benefits. For that we need to collaborate. Time will prove the usefulness to sceptics, however only by working side by side with regulators and lawmakers, as well as with other companies with different areas of expertise, will we get that chance.
Blockchain will play a key role in transforming the world of business so that it is fit for the 21st Century, helping to create Business Wellness. This is what motivates us at Centigo. If this motivates you too, then get in touch and let’s collaborate!