This is going to be a bold statement: It’s time for your business to start embracing blockchain, the biggest game-changer in technology since the internet.
Blockchain, to those unfamiliar with the concept, is a hyperledger. This technology makes it possible for users to enjoy a transparent and distributed digital record of transactions while doing away with the need for a central database. By decentralizing data storage and enabling distribution of digital records, this technology provides transparency and allows users to transact with one another without needing a third party. With blockchain, everyone can manage their own data — from money to personal information.
Making data transparent, accessible and incorruptible can go a long way. Imagine what will happen when the average person has complete control over how their data is managed — there would be no need for third parties, which will drastically lower transaction costs, reduce waiting times and ultimately make services more accessible to people from all walks of life. This technology is about to change every industry’s practices, and early adopters will be sure winners.
How is blockchain augmenting traditional industries?
Why invest in blockchain when you already achieved success in traditional marketplaces? I see it as the highway to ethical profit coupled with efficiency, which will allow businesses to provide better service to their target markets while lowering costs. Blockchain technology in mainstream industries allows all participants to perform cost-effective verification, thus lowering the costs of auditing transaction information. In effect, blockchain allows new marketplaces to emerge.
As a music producer leveraging blockchain, I have discovered things that used to be unthinkable in the music business. Music streaming disrupted the music industry in the same way mobile phones changed the way people communicate. With more people having access to released music, my company uses blockchain to augment what already works. Blockchain will not only allow listeners to access music legally, it will also make royalty payments transparent for rights holders, labels and distributors.
What is the key to making a blockchain project succeed?
Blockchain projects all boil down to trust and transparency. Without achieving these two factors, everything that you have ticked off your team’s checklist will be for nothing.
What separates blockchain projects from traditional and mainstream products is that they all operate on a platform that centers on a community of users. If you plan to work on a blockchain project, expect that your future users will be onboard from the moment your website goes live. They will be watching and commenting on your every move online, and they will be asking questions.
What challenges arise in implementing blockchain technology?
Consumer engagement is always good for business. The challenge lies in turning that engagement into education and a good sounding board for feedback. This is crucial, especially because decentralization is a novel idea to many mainstream consumers. This step is where many ICOs failed in the previous year. There’s a number of reasons why blockchain startups experience failure to launch, but here are the things that are worth taking note of:
• Lack of a tangible product that solves real-world problems
• Little engagement with the community
• Lack of transparency
People are not afraid of new technology –for example, Bancor, one of the ICOs that launched last year, raised $153 million in three hours. My company, Inmusik, managed to raise more than $7 million before its ICO launch. What can burn a supportive community is dishonesty, which is an issue in a space that allows anyone and everyone to create a project. Add unpleasant news about security threats in exchanges and ICO websites, and you have a market full of fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Sustainability can only be achieved by those who listen to what the market says, understand exactly what it wants and commit to meeting those expectations in every rollout. In the blockchain space, the clear winners are those that released a platform with user-friendly interfaces and made direct and consistent engagement with its community during development. Launching an ICO doesn’t rest on having a shiny whitepaper anymore. Successful blockchain projects are those that are able to solve market uncertainties through proof of concept and proof of work.
How will blockchain become mainstream?
In the end, the biggest winners in the blockchain space are those that are able to show that this technology works for their target market.
While blockchain is a solution to a number of woes, it is not the panacea that we are looking for — at least not yet. There is a ton of work that needs to be done as we strive to make blockchain an accessible concept. This means localizing content, designing for a mainstream audience, creating an almost frictionless development process, constantly being active on social media to inform everyone about latest developments and sharing content explaining how blockchain projects work to solve industry issues.
I recognize that this is a noble feat. Is blockchain a bubble? That’s what they all said about the internet in 1995. Now it’s as if we cannot live without it. We’re on the brink of the blockchain future, and we are already seeing how big it is going to get. This is the best time to start embracing and discovering this new technology.