tapscott blockchain revolution

Alex Tapscott Insight into Future of Blockchain

We met with Alex Tapscott the CEO and Founder of NorthWest Passage Ventures and Co-author of the book the Blockchain Revolution in Dubai. 

The Killer Application

According to Alex there is no killer application in Blockchain just as there was no killer application for the internet. As he explained, “There are a lot of things that the internet has done, things such as social media, cloud computing, email, and the same thing will be true for the Blockchain. The only difference is that the internet transformed information industries such as media and was limited to information only Blockchain is a value protocol meaning we have a transactional platform for the internet that allows individuals and business to move value.”

There are a lot of potential disruptive business models and some of those have already gained traction. One of those areas according to Tapscott is the venture capitalist space, “Companies are using Blockchain to fund ventures, in six minutes for example they were able to bring in $20 million, other areas where Blockchain is making strides is in the digital rights managements, and supply chain, Kmart is an example.”

The Blockchain Ecosystem

When it comes to the question of which ecosystem will survive, Alex claims, “today there are around four ecosystems, Ethereum, HyperLedger, Bitcoin, and everyone else. He adds, “With bitcoin there are technical challenges that doesn’t allow it to do other things but this can be resolved in the future. As such I consider it as potentially one of the strong ecosystems. Also private permission based blockchains are being created such as Ripple. There is no winner takes all, I believe there will be protocols that will allow different blockchains to talk to each other just like in the internet era. Hyperledger and Ethereum are extremely promising but my thought on this is any work today on any platform is research and development for the future Blockchain platforms and serves the broader aim.”

Existence of Multiple Blockchains

As Alex views it, the lifecycle of any transaction will go through a number of blockchains and not necessarily be limited to one. As he explains, “ if you think of a lifecycle of a transaction it is very likely it will cross different blockchains you can purchase something through a retail smart contract, that clear it through the bank on a ripple Blockchain that settles in bitcoin.” He adds, “ the future is not something to be predicted but something to be achieved.”

The Uptake of Blockchain

Alex believes that companies, governments are implementing Blockchain in different areas and this is the only way they will learn about it. However he argues that they should as well see how it will change their identities and should not just use it as wallpaper to cover antiquated operations. He explains, “ Blockchain will entail top bottom reinvention and maybe not all banks for example will take the plunge but some leaders will get rid of the old paradigm and embrace the new just like for example IBM, which has survived four industrial revolutions.”

MENA Blockchain Efforts

As for the Blockchain initiatives in the MENA region Alex sees a lot of enthusiasm from government officials about this technology and this in his opinion is admirable. As he states, “I think for example that Dubai government has big ideas about resolving certain problems with Blockchain but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to be successful, ultimately there is only so much they can do to create a sustainable innovative economy. What they can really do is set the conditions for entrepreneurship to thrive and I think there is still a lot of work to be done in this area in the MENA region.” He adds, “There are a lot of factors that play into the success of an entrepreneurship environment such as business set up regulations, Research and development total size of VC market and legalities such as bankruptcy laws. In short you need to make it easy to take risks; all these things need to be aligned before you can be successful.”

In the USA for example they are successful despite governmental and regulatory situation. As Alex explains, “ The US government is not enlightened there are still regulatory issues but then again USA has the strongest market economy in the world because it has the best conditions for entrepreneurship others that follow suit are Canada, UK, Singapore, Austria Japan and Germany.” A surprisingly interesting country that is picking up on Blockchain is China.  Alex states, “it has the biggest number of startups are in China. Some are good some are not. What is interesting is that in the internet era the biggest number of startups came from USA, today this is different because everyone has access to Smartphone, technology and internet so now we see innovations in India and almost everywhere.”

The Future

Alex explains, “I see things moving faster than even what I expected it to be. It will be both exciting and quick. We will however see an over estimation in the short term and an under estimation of the value of the Blockchain in the long-term.  In the end we are only in the first one or two pitches of the first inning of the baseball game and most of us are just starting to figure out how and where Blockchain will work best.”