The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology - William Mougayar, Vitalik Buterin (2016)
BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY WAS NOT CALLED FOR. It just happened. If you reacted initially, maybe you have a head start. If you didn't, perhaps you can shift a gear, and become proactive. Whether you are leading or following, eventually you will have to sharpen your blockchain strategy.
Implementing the blockchain is still a new competency. The uncertainties, however, cannot be used as an excuse to hold up what must be done. All of us engaged are pioneers on a journey, and we have a responsibility to keep sharing what we are learning, so we can keep lighting the way for those that are behind us. It may take us longer to arrive at our destinations, but it will certainly help the followers, and they will pay us back by making the market bigger and easier to navigate. The future success of blockchains will depend critically on hundreds of millions of people using them.
Blockchains are more than business-technology enablers. They are instruments of social and political change. If we miss their higher calling, we would be falling short of realizing their fullest potential.
One valuable blockchain outcome we exposed is the emergent crypto economy, the sum of the economic realizations resulting from applying the blockchain's potential. This crypto economy is a trust economy that is decentralized at birth, both politically and architecturally; and it lends equal access and lower barriers of entry to all. As we prepare to get on board the crypto economy, undoubtedly it looks fuzzy, foggy, buggy, risky, uncertain, and unproven. Then suddenly, it will blossom and grow with more benefits than disadvantages.
Although we have explored the blockchain topic at length in this book, we have certainly not exhausted everything to be explored. There is plenty more that will unfold, much of it from your own discoveries. I am sure that the best cases and ideas are not yet in the blockchain wild. Still, there remains many unanswered questions. What will be the impact of blockchains on the world economy? Who will be the Amazons, Googles, and Facebooks of the blockchain? What will be the tipping point? Will regulators stay patient, or will they prematurely declare their intentions? If the consensus ledger is the hammer, can we also find the nail?
The blockchain's message is simple, but strong. Let innovation lead. The blockchain is not about a better Web, a better bank, or a better service. The survival of the blockchain will depend on what you will do with it, and it is not only about its technical features. Its adoption will be gradual, starting with developers and startup entrepreneurs, then techno-business people, followed by organizations that see change, and society demanding change, and ending with organizations that once resisted change.
Amidst this activity lies a dichotomy of hope. Startups are inherently optimistic, and enterprises are sometimes skeptical. As a result of blockchain-enabled business models, some existing intermediaries will be at risk. We know it. And some new ones will emerge, perhaps more as virtual, transparent, and distributed entities that can be trusted programmatically.
My wish is The Business Blockchain has in some way inspired and guided you. If you enjoyed it, I invite you to explore further how to rethink trust, wealth, and information in my next book, Centerless. The new era of decentralization will soon be upon us.
Blockchains do not impose restrictions on us. To the opposite, they grant us new levels of freedom, and let us program our world on top of them, any way we would like.
Blockchains will be the best new tool of the decade.