We recently hosted a panel discussion at Architech about Blockchain. Here are a few of our panelists' key insights, from the basics to futurist thought.
Do you remember the Jetsons? The 1960s cartoon TV show was about a family living in the future. Some theorists would say that the cartoon family predicted some of today’s most popular inventions – things we never would have thought possible 50, 25, or even 10 years ago.
We recently hosted a panel discussion at Architech about Blockchain. Our expert panel included Brian Mosoff, Angel Mehta, Roanie Levy, and our own Mark Riesler. Here are a few of their key insights, from the basics to futurist thought:
What is Blockchain?
Mark: Blockchain is an open decentralized, peer to peer, cryptocurrency technology that removes the middleman, making it a trustless digital ledger.
What is the difference between Blockchain, the currencies available, and what can be built on the platform?
Roanie: Blockchain is the technology that the first app – which was Bitcoin - was built. So, you have the Blockchain and then on the Blockchain you have Bitcoin. You can also have more than one Blockchain, because it is a technology, and there are many different ways that it will grow. The idea is that when you’re looking at anything of value, not just money, perhaps property rights, your identity, or rights for a piece of music, anything of value that exists digitally can be programed and can be assigned an ownership that gives you the ability to search it, identify it, find it without intermediaries.
Angel: This process itself is transforming the industry, where third party trust organizations, like banks, are no longer needed. Every transaction will be recorded on a public and distributed ledger accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
Can you give us a few examples of how Blockchain is currently being used?
- Brian: There’s a project called Golem, built on Ethereum, that you can distribute computing power instead of renting it from a provider like Amazon. Ethereum is the next biggest public ledger (architecture) after Bitcoin, which allows for Smart Contracts.
- Mark: RWE, a company is Germany, has lined an entire street with sensors and wireless car chargers. The idea is that if you’re driving an electric car, like Tesla, and it’s running out of battery while at a stoplight, you can wirelessly charge your car for 60 seconds and pay 13 cents for it using the Ethereum network. How else would you be able to do that without microtransactions? In this example, you’re combining the Internet of Things, Blockchain, energy and power sources, and green energy.
- Roanie: What if we could get rid of Uber? There’s a project currently being piloted by a company called La’Zooz that gets rid of the middle man and connects the passenger and the driver directly. So, Uber, the $19B company, disrupted the taxi industry is on the verge of being disrupted itself.
How/where do I invest? Is it too late?
Brian: It’s definitely not too late. The days of 1000% return are likely over, but you’re still going to do well, as long you’re also okay to lose it all. Go where the developers go. That’s where you know the greatest amount of value will be created. Read as much as you can about it.
What’s the future of Blockchain?
Roanie: People over estimate the technological change that will happen in the short term while grossly underestimating the change that will happen in a decade.
Right now, there’s been a lot of hype as if Blockchain was a technology that was ready to be used by end-users. It’s more likely to become an infrastructure, which will enable new frameworks for products and services. There are no limits to where Blockchain can go, and unless you’re in the midst of developing the technology it’s hard to fathom what will become available in the future.