It has been non-stop in the media since 2018, growing to a crescendo in 2020:
- Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin… Libra (Facebook)
- Central Bank Digital Currency
Blockchain is a revolution-in-the-making. It is and will continue to create shock-waves throughout many industries.
The DISRUPTOR par excellence
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
Blockchain hasn’t quite gained Mass Adoption status, but it is here to stay. PERIOD.
And it is now clear that it is going to be a significant, if not massive, disruptor in many industries.
Crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple XRP, Chainlink, BAT, Tron, Dogecoin, Libra (and about 5000 others) are built on Blockchain technology. Some share the same protocol and solution. Many, have been created from scratch.
Solutions that solve problems
However, Crypto Currencies are just the tip of the iceberg, the visible hype that the MSM (Mainstream Media) latches onto. The media clickbait.
FinTech companies are springing up everywhere and are developing solutions in all fields and sectors at an incredible rate. Many Millennials are being attracted into the space, more than happy to participate in creating the next Unicorn, turning their back on your more traditional company.
The nature of a blockchain ensures that stored records are immutable. They can be neither changed nor falsified, thanks to several layers of encryption. They are generally (preferably) stored in a decentralised way, thus preventing any one entity/person from taking control of the blockchain.
Blockchain offers so many applications, already in place:
- Facilitating life for the Unbanked of this world
- Government: Voting and Civil Registers (birth-, death-, marriage-certificates)
- Real Estate transactions and Land Rights
- Supply Chain for tracking products
- Music Industry for streaming and royalties
- Cross-Border Payments (in record speed and at record low costs)
- Money-Lending, Loans
- Insurance Claims
- Patents and Intellectual Property (IP) Rights
- Store of value (Bitcoin)
- To name but a few…
Blockchain in Application…
In 2018, according to the World Bank, it was estimated that up to 1.7 billion adults on this planet had no bank account: part of the Unbanked. Unbanked do NOT have access to financial services. Enter Cryptos. Cryptos can empower people to handle their own finances. Most of these people are unbanked through no choice of their own. There is a correlation between poverty and their situation. However, it is interesting to know that certain people in developed countries are choosing to go unbanked, benefiting from what blockchain technology offers: a Trustless system, that does NOT require a human intermediary.
Estonia is a land of Digital Business. The government have great ambitions to store the legal-framework on the blockchain, with their “once-only principle” in order to avoid storing the same state-related data more than once.
IBM & Maersk have developed TradeLens, a Supply Chain blockchain Joint Venture to facilitate tracking and tracing for the entire shipping eco-system.
Merck, the Pharma giant is developing a blockchain solution to combat counterfeit drugs, also using tracking and tracing
The Music Industry is going through a digital transformation with blockchain solutions to empower creative artists with more equitable streaming rights and royalties. Some examples of companies leading the disruption are: Mediachain, Ujo, Choon, Open Music Initiative.
Z-Cash, Veem, Stellar (XLM) and Ripple XRP have developed Payment Solutions with rapid transfer speeds. Ripple is involved in a network of 175 banks and Commercial Platforms facilitating Cross-Border Payments. The aim is to reduce the speed of transfer from 2-3 days down to a few seconds. That is a game-changer. Even the likes of MoneyGram are partnering with Ripple to stay in the game.
Solutions for Property Rights are also being developed to track Land titles
Don’t Get Left Behind
After spending the last few years misunderstanding, criticising, and above all under-estimating the blockchain movement, Governments, Central Banks, Investment Banks and Companies are LITERALLY scrambling to play catch-up.
They now realise the benefits and the importance of the technology.
In many instances (Banks especially), their business was in danger of being left behind. Doing nothing was to become fragile. It is clearly time to be more robust and tend towards Antifragile.
Nobody wants to be the next
- Kodak or the Blockbusters that missed the Digital Age
- Toys “R”Us that missed the opportunity to develop its own Online solution
- General Motors (GM) that failed to innovate, went bankrupt…… but received a bail-out in 2009 from the US government
- Blackberry that missed the Tactile revolution
- Multi-national that was blown out of the water by blockchain cross-border payments technology…
Central Bank Digital Currency
The term Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) has now found its way discreetly into Mainstream Media. That is often the way things work: spread the rumour, prepare people for change and low and behold one day, it becomes reality. Sooner than you think.
China has already issued its own Digital Currency, the digital Yuan. Over 10 Million Digital Yuan were issued in 2020 by the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank. This is part of a pilot project, before mass adoption throughout the country. Apps have already been downloaded by millions of Chinese in order to receive the money from the central bank. Payments are being made. Their world is changing faster than ours.
Russia has planned to issue its own Digital Currency by the end of 2021.
The US and Europe are not far behind, but reticence has earned them the label of “laggard”.
Russia has already suggested a Digital Currency for the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).
Is the end of the cash era on the horizon?
The latest disruptor in blockchain is DeFi: Decentralised Finance, an umbrella for financial applications including Money-lending, prediction markets (betting on the outcome of a particular event), yield farming, earning interest by leasing out cryptos you own.
The new Crypto Bank SILVERGATE has a partnership with Block-Fi to launch new solutions in De-Fi.
It is true to say that Blockchain is anything but a fad.
I’d love to hear your comments about Blockchain.