Blockchain Predictions to Transform Future Economies

At HPE Protect 2016, HPE’s Tim Grieveson, chief cyber and security strategist for EMEA sat down with Alex Tapscott, keynote speaker at HPE Protect and author of “Blockchain Revolution,” and Terence Spies, chief technologist and blockchain expert at HPE Security Products, to discuss predictions related to blockchain technology and how it’s expected to transform future economies. Below are highlights, with the full video included.

What’s a blockchain?

First, a blockchain is the technology that underlies cryptocurrencies, most associated with Bitcoin, and at its essence is a shared digital ledger or database. In the video, Alex Tapscott says it represents the second generation of the internet, meaning that the internet brought in the information age and blockchain technologies replace the need for intermediaries with a distributed ledger that lives on many computers instead of one computer, and is accessible to many instead of only the people who sit in the middle. Trust in this database is achieved by “consensus, collaboration, cryptography and some clever code,” maintains Alex.

What markets can take advantage of blockchain?

Alex says the biggest markets to take advantage of blockchain is financial services. Blockchain offers a way to reduce the costs of moving and storing values, as well as reduce the risk. Terence Spies stated that he thought that the blockchain technology will pop up in surprising places, due to the fact it “decouples identity,” something that public crypto is based on.

What are the challenges?

Alex stated that the biggest risk is that “governments, not understanding the technology, will act prematurely to put rules in place that could sideline its growth in some way.” He gave examples of this happening to other technologies throughout history.  Terence came at it from a technical point of view, stating that “a centralized system makes it easy to roll things back, and decentralization (using block chain technology) makes things much more efficient, but at the same time removes the authority that can undo things.”

Practical Uses today?

Tim Grieveson asked in the video if organizations are building blockchain into their strategies today. Alex has not seen many enterprises building their own blockchain architecture from the ground up. He insists that the firms that will succeed will be the ones that “don’t view it just as an opportunity for any individual business line, but rather see it as a way to reinvent the architecture of the firm.” Terence sees that “startups are eager to use blockchain technology to rewire the world,” as opposed to existing businesses optimizing around blockchain.

Alex stated blockchain is spreading from the financial services to industries such as Healthcare, with data records, public service with e-voting or land title registries, and supply chain management, with the need to track a part through its lifecycle. Terence related it back to the bitcoin network to create timestamps, using it as an artifact.

Tim gave some rather large statistics about the amount of money flowing into blockchain technologies, especially in the last 12 months alone. He then aptly stated that there is clearly a lot more to learn about blockchain. Please listen for yourself.

For more information on blockchain, please see these articles featuring HPE Distinguished Technologist Luther Martin,:

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