What Thought Leaders and Analysts Say about Blockchain #KMWorld

KMWlogo_Stacked_Session  Description:

As with anything new, seeing the woods for the trees around blockchain technology is challenging. It may not even yet be at the peak of the hype cycle, and clearly there are already exravagant clains for its potential competing with damning dismissiveness of it as as inefficient and nothing new. This panel of analysts and experts help us see our way through the noise to get at the signal. Just how much difference can blockchain technology make? Where is it likely to make the greatest impact? And how can we ensure that positive impact is maximized?

Speakers:

[These are my notes from the new Blockchain in Government conference, which is part of the KMWorld 2018 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Andrew Young: Blockchain for Social Change.
    • Slides:  0930_Young.pdf
    • He works at the Governance Lab at New York University
      • Their website: http://www.thegovlab.org/
      • See their blockchain websiteblockchan.g
    • They define “blockchange” as the use of block chain to enable social change.
    • They have just launched a new website and resources for blockchange, which includes current projects underway:  https://blockchan.ge/curatedexamples.html
    • Decisions made at the design phase of a blockchain can
      • Permissionless blockchain  — anyone can read it or write to it
      • Permissioned blockchain — only selected people can read it or write to it
      • Public blockchain — available to anyone
      • Private blockchain — available by invitation only.
    • Three types of use cases:
      • Track and trace intangible objects
      • Identify
        • They have released a field report on the use of blockchain for identity
        • Identity is essential for life and for all blockchain transactions
          • 1.1 billion people currently lack a verifiable identity
        • The lifecycle of identify
          • provisioning a new identify
          • authentication of that identify
          • administration
          • authorization
          • auditing/monitoring
      • Smart Contracts = a set of “if this, then that” rules encoded in a blockchain
    • They have created a Periodic Table of Blockchain
      • cross-cutting challenges
        • user interfaces are not uniformallygood
        • technical inefficiencies
        • incentivizing use
        • risks
        • legal and policy uncertainty — e.g., digital signatures are not considered valid in all jurisdictions
        • measuring impact
    • When should I develop a blockchain?
      • Is there a clear problem definition?
      • Are there information asymmetries that would incentivize use of blockchain transparency?
      • Are there existing reliable data and technology
      • Are there feasible and credible alternatives
      • Does the ecosystem support blockchain — do you have the right partners and intemediaries with the right level of coorpation
      • Capacity — do government and business leaders have the technological know-how to manage this change
    • How to manage a blockchain:
      • Governance legitimacy
      • Ethically sound
      • Focus on solutions to actual problems
      • What’s the ecological footprint?
      • Can this be synchronized with existing intitiatives?
      • Is there sufficient interoperability and open standards?
      • How can you secure first block accuracy?
  • Jonathan Lehman: Blockchain in Government.
    • Chief Strategy Officer of the Government Blockchain Association around the world
      • 40 working groups
        • Example:
          • Cybersecurity and authority to operate (Stratus Cyber)
          • Blockchain as a service (Simba Chain)
          • lottery programs
          • energy management
          • organ and blood donation
          • digital identity management
      • 90+ chapters around the world
      • 6000 people attend meetups every month
    • Blockchain offers distributed trust, reputation, and confidence
      • it can reverse the concentration of organizational power
        • peer to peer
        • frictionless
        • more secure
        • more trusted
        • smart contracts
        • decentraclized autonomos organization (DAO)
        • decentralized applications (dApps)
      • result = traditional institutions can resist or embrace the change:
        • governments
        • financial and insurance sector
        • global private sector companies
    • What is required for a paradigm shift to blockchain?
      • generally accepted standards
      • decentralization, trust, reputation
      • incentive-based solutiosn (not zero sum)
      • personal self-sovereign identify (borderless world)
      • banking the un-banked (2 billion people are waiting for this ability to join the global economy)
  • Hugh Logue: Smart Contracts.
    • Director & Lead Analyst, Outsell
    • His interest is in using technology to open up access to justice (access to legal services). (He was a barrister (litigator) in an earlier phase of his career.)
    • He has written a book on this. It will be published by the American Bar Association (to be published in 2019.)
    • His focus is on smart contracts. He believes that the demand for smart contracts will explode.
    • Why the increased demand for smart contracts?
      • The Internet of Things will allow transactions without human intervention.
        • Example: if a driverless car discovers that its parking place can provide energy at a competitive price, it could purchase the necessary energy then and there via a smart contract.
      • The shortening of supply chains
        • thanks to Amazon and others, consumers have become used to purchasing directly (or almost directly) from the manufacturer. They no longer need a middle man.
        • increasing use of smart contracts will reduce the need for middle men
      • The increase of trusted blockchain partners
        • large companies are comfortable working with established vendors (e.g., IBM, SAP, etc.) and may not be comfortable working with new blockchain platforms such as Ethereum.
      • Expedite legal processes (and reduce their costs)
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