The true promise of blockchain is being lost amidst speculation and vague exuberance
Blockchain solutions exploded into the mainstream in 2017 creating new opportunities for every industry across every geographical region. The idea of implementing widely accessible, secure, and decentralised solutions have sparked a new wave of entrepreneurship, especially among Southeast Asian countries. From governments voicing their support in recent ASEAN meetings to the proliferation of blockchain conferences and innovation labs across the region, businesses and professionals alike are ramping up their adoption of blockchain’s decentralisation.
But despite the flurry of emerging companies and token sales, it’s difficult to determine how much of the blockchain boom is viable and how much is hype.
Many investment leaders, blockchain insiders, and blockchain outsiders have expressed concern that the true promise of blockchain is being lost amidst speculation and vague exuberance. TechCrunch has gone so far as to bemoan that the recent explosion of blockchain-based ICOs is strangling true innovation in the blockchain world, as funding doesn’t discriminate between platforms with legitimate promise and platforms just trying to cash in.
Promising startups consequently find the blockchain transaction world too crowded, and thus, expensive to build in. A strange bottleneck has occurred wherein a blockchain company with a world-changing idea might struggle to stand out, but an iced tea company that adds “blockchain” to its name can get a 500 percent increase in its stock market valuation.
This brings an important question. How can blockchain investors and developers counter this unfortunate tendency towards indiscriminate hype without dampening legitimate excitement over blockchain’s true potential? As in many areas where exuberance has obscured exciting technological possibilities, the answer may be education.
Education Can Lead to Mainstream Adoption
Education certainly has a rising profile in the world of blockchain investment, as mainstream investors who have long-embraced principles of due diligence demand to know what they’re investing in. Mainstream sources such as Goldman Sachs have put out primers for new investors in blockchain, who hope to support the next profitable, ground-breaking blockchain platform, rather than the next iced tea company riding blockchain’s coattails.
While educating potential investors about blockchain is crucial, education for developers is even more pressing. Many evangelists will argue that the most exciting possibilities come not from its ability to act as a currency but from its ability to decentralise applications and services themselves. Cryptocurrency acts as money to be used in a system where the immutable ledger of blockchain runs various decentralised applications and transactions. Companies that can show this value and explain it to a widespread population will help fuel mainstream adoption.
One blockchain startup, Baanx, is doing exactly this by creating a cryptobank brand network sharing blockchain mobile apps and enabling cryptocurrencies to be used more easily in the real world. They are releasing 100+ cryptobanks in partnership with progressive businesses who want to engage their customer communities in cryptocurrencies and building an entire mobile app ecosystem fueled by their BAANX BXX token.
Baanx CEO Garth Howat, explains, “our mission is creating a shared ownership financial system with a cryptobank network rivaling traditional bank dominance that can easily share important blockchain mobile apps to their customer communities worldwide. Products include the first super-secure wallet with insured crypto balances against hacking or non-fault loss, a crypto-payment mobile app which transfers crypto to fiat at the point of sale so you can use it in 45 million places worldwide, a secure exchange and many apps from 3rd party Fintechs on an Open API to create a cryptocurrency financial app marketplace to engage and enable mass adoption.”
Part of education is providing the right tools and access to learn and adopt new products. This should not only be focused on the end user, but also developers.
As rumors circulate regarding ICO and TAOs (tokenised asset offering) in legacy industries, like investment real estate, educating both developers and professionals from that field is imperative to seamlessly integrate blockchain technology. Muirfield Investment Partners is one company at the center of recent token rumors. While not confirming or denying future plans, Muirfield advisor and Managing Director of Agentic Group, Rik Willard, believes that it’s incumbent on companies entering the industry to support developer talent.
Willard states, “For one thing, every company considering an ICO, TAO or TGE should look to expand both the advancement of their fields and the developer ecosystem as well, by using their raise to materially support the development of blockchain technologists and the infrastructure itself. For a simple example, an ICO raise should include financial carve-outs that fund innovation in their specific sector; and they should also include bounties to help perfect their own offering, engaging talent on a global basis. These financial incentives serve to spur developers, strategists, and economists to develop their own skills and add to the overall pool of talent.”
To encourage application development on the blockchain, companies need to back blockchain environments where building on the network is not prohibitively slow and expensive. This requires tackling blockchain’s current scalability crisis — a huge but necessary challenge for blockchain to move forward. They also need to help developers grow in the changing blockchain environment by providing educational opportunities as the blockchain network evolves in order to ensure that this thriving industry isn’t held back by a shortage of qualified job candidates.
Blockchain has plenty of hype right now, but once the hype dies down it will face a talent shortage unless companies start making serious investments in scalability and education.
How can education spark the next phase of blockchain progression?
Raising blockchain awareness is a crucial first step in securing its widespread adoption, but beyond just awareness of blockchain’s ability to fuel cryptocurrency, people must begin to understand the larger implications of implementing blockchain technology across every industry.
Josh Zemel, Communication Director of DAOstack believes that continuous blockchain education is necessary to instill the powerful potential of decentralisation in people’s minds. Zemel says, “Blockchain is essential because decentralisation is actually essential, and blockchain is essential to decentralisation. This might seem esoteric, but we’re actually at a point where we’re about to see most of the institutions we’re used to interacting with online, from Facebook to Spotify and, even, Quickbooks will begin to be replaced by decentralised versions of those organisations, where the users are the owners, and everyone’s incentives are aligned.”
Although decentralisation is positive, change is never easy to accept. The more our blockchain leaders can educate people within and outside the industry about practical decentralisation use cases through online learning courses, podcasts, videos, and articles, the more readily people will be able to accept this new wave.
“Many scholars believe that crowd cooperation, truly decentralised organisations, are our best shot at solving the great world challenges; because it aligns incentives among everyone. Decentralisation is just a fancy word for user-ownership. It’s any kind of an organisation where there’s no distinction between the customers and the owners. It’s one collective making decisions together. And a blockchain, or something like it, is needed for that,” Zemel continues.
As the technology that provides a framework in which decentralised applications can be built, the entire DAOstack team recognises that for decentralised solutions to be brought to life efficiently, the entrepreneurs and developers behind those ideas need to understand how this technological layer fuels decentralised governance and creates a transparent and accessible experience for all.
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