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Why Blockchain’s growing pains will be worth it

David Needle | Nov. 1, 2016
Experts say blockchain has a bright future, much like the optimistic predictions the industry had for the cloud 10 years ago.

For companies looking to test the blockchain waters he suggests figuring out a small use case where you can apply blockchain methodology and monitor the results.

Another speaker, Shawn Wiora, cofounder and CEO of Maxxsure, a cybersecurity and cyber insurance company, is using blockchain to offer new kinds of services. “We’re able to offer things like variable premiums for a cyber insurance policy that changes as your cyber profile changes,” said Wiora. “Does anyone else offer that?” he asked rhetorically.

But even with some companies already innovating, veteran Silicon Valley product executive Chirag Mehta says blockchain’s best days are clearly ahead of it. “Blockchain looks like what the cloud looked like 10 or 15 years ago,” says Mehta, a former executive at SAP and adjunct professor at Santa Clara University where he teaches such topics as web services and cloud computing to graduate students.

One difference he sees vs. the cloud though that’s surprised him, is that companies big and small seem to be interested in exploring blockchain’s potential. “Big companies weren’t as interested in the cloud in the early days,” says Mehta. “They weren’t as ready to jump in.”

What blockchain does really well, he adds, is provide the technical integrity necessary to let you trust a series of events. “But don’t confuse that with security,” he emphasized.

If blockchain needs a blue chip, big name advocate it has one in IBM. Aron Dutta, global head of blockchain at IBM, says he’s already running blockchain technology globally across industries. He sees blockchain as giving companies a way to rethink business models and make more money.

Dutta says he has over 4,000 PhDs and 100,000 consultants he can call on to aid his work at IBM, so stay tuned. “It’s not about use cases,” he emphasizes. “It’s about business models.”

 

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