It’s been awhile! With all the excitement recently in cryptoland we want to engage more. Going forward we’ll still be active on our blog, but we wanted a better way to consistently share what's going on and what we see as interesting. So without further ado, Introducing... The Blockchain Experts Newsletter! Our goal is for this to be a weekly newsletter that won’t take much time from your day, and will allow you to stay abreast of the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency space. The format is still under construction, so please send us feedback! But since Spencer just attended Consensus last week we didn't want to delay.
The Big News: Consensus 2017
I arrived at Consensus on Friday night like a 5 year old arriving at Disneyland. Let me try to summarize the two days:
Enterprise Ethereum Alliance - Microsoft is leading the way in creating the EEA. Launched in March with about 20 players, last week the big announcement was an additional 86 members joined with another 100 expected by year end. Many attribute Ethereum’s price explosion to the growth in EEA. Several of the Global Systems Integrators (Wipro, Accenture, Deloitte) have joined the EEA as well, and they had a big presence at Consensus.
Blockchain Use Cases - A lot of the conference was focused on opportunities and potential use cases of blockchain. Here are a few that stuck out from the conference:
Financial Services - the key here was about removing the middleman in transactions to speed up settlement times and reduce costs. Another key message was enabling everyone to have a bank in their pocket. Mobile devices with cameras, QR scanners, fingerprint authentication, etc. are the best tool for this new type of bank. An interesting example is Civic.
IoT - IoT connects devices to the internet so they can communicate, but they will use blockchain and smart contracts to transact with each other. You can find examples of blockchain / IoT projects here.
Supply Chain - Current supply chain can be seen as somewhat of a black box. It is difficult to track products as they move from step to step. The blockchain allows you to create a digital version of any product, and then track those products as they move through supply chain with digital records. (Think QR codes being scanned at each step using a mobile devices). Each step of the supply chain can be considered a transaction on a public or private blockchain. For example, ocean freight involves 30+ organizations. But potentially more importantly, this technology could give data to the consumer so as to make a more educated decision on what products to purchase.
Cryptocurrency Potential - A year ago the market cap for all cryptocurrencies was about $12 Billion. In January it increased to $20 Billion, $40 Billion in April, and now $90 Billion last week. There’s plenty of commentary about the “frothy” and “bubble like” state of the current prices. However, two VCs at Consensus talked about how $80 billion will be just a small blip on the graph and estimate that some coins could have network value in the trillions of dollars. One realisation I had recently, is that cryptocurrencies are one of the few assets truly available to investors globally. I add this the section to show the growth rate, which hopefully shows how prevalent this technology could become.
In summary, blockchain is still really early, with huge disruptive potential. I imagine attending Consensus was like attending a database conference in the 90s talking about use cases like CRMs or ecommerce.
- Albert Wenger (@Union Square Ventures) compares the dotcom bubble to the upcoming crypto bubble and provides advice on how to think about crypto. He argues that bubbles aren’t of themselves a bad thing as they finance innovation and build out new infrastructure. Link
- Crypto and tulips? Bitcoin is a myth… and so are the dollar, gold, and diamonds. Link
- We’ve been seeing a lot of talk about tokens as a platform for creating new companies and protocols. This is the best overview we’ve seen, and highlights why this model “may eventually create and capture more value than the last generation of Internet companies.” Link
- A Barbados startup is launching a digital currency and central banks in the region are joining in. Only 50% of people in this region have a bank account. Another example of how underdeveloped regions can leapfrog in terms of innovation. Link
- Kik, a popular messaging app with millions of users, is launching their own token. Will other companies follow suit? Link
Chart of the Week
We've recovered some since this big downturn, but I think everyone was a bit relieved that crypto took a breather...