The State of Blockchain 2016

#NotesFromSXSW2016

Background: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_chain_(database)

HyperLedger – Blockchain project supported by the Linux Foundation. The objective is to create a kernel for the tech (like the Linux kernel). Companies will be able to build their offerings on top of a shared kernel. This gets launched at the end of the year and it will be the most significant software launch of the year.

Ethereum – Blockchain for contracts (and everything else). Andrew Keys calls it Facebook vs MySpace where Bitcoin is MySpace to Ethereum’s Facebook. In six months, the startup has hit a billion dollar valuation.

Blockchain is a new network of contracts and agreements. The smart contract is the killer app. The litigators of tomorrow will understand both Blockchain as well as the law to be able to handle disputes in the era of smart contracts.

The legal profession is about to be disrupted massively over the next 5-10 years as dispute resolution is baked into code.

 In the next 10-15 years, all payment systems are going to be replaced by Blockchain based systems. This will require, and drive, massive changes in financial policy at the local, national and global level. 

Blockchain is opening up a Pandora’s box of questions around the nature of a transaction, any transaction – from person to person to securities transactions.

This technology solves the trust problem: trust between people traditionally has been provided by a middleman (a bank or a notary for example). The Blockchain now provides that trust technologically – removing the middleman. 

This clearly has massive regulatory consequences.

As companies retool themselves for this world and a new regulatory environment, it represents a massive business opportunity for IT services companies that can bring themselves up to speed quickly enough to be able to provide transition services for everything from banks to airlines and schools.

Serious challenges exist for governments as they try to impose financial controls on a completely decentralized financial technology layer.

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