Top 5 Takeaways: Blockchain Unbound
Last week, OpenNest co-founder, Drew Himel traveled to the island of Puerto Rico for an immersive conference filled with content sessions that connected global thought leaders, entrepreneurs and investors around the future of blockchain technology. The three day non-profit event, Blockchain Unbound, discussed how digital ledger technology has the ability to transform the Puerto Rican economy - with the event donating 100% of its proceeds to charities supporting Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts from Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The idea that blockchain can influence social impact, directly correlates with the thesis of OpenNest of using business as a tool to drive positive social change.
Drew returned home with the feeling that marketing and data collection should be transparent and is excited to continue to learn about the technology and the ethos of blockchain putting data back in the hands of the user. Decentralization is only going to help users in the long run and make it harder for hackers to collect personal information. Overall, Drew thought it was a great experience and was really happy he took the trip - experiencing many moments of inspiration in better understanding the tech's capabilities.
He sat down to share his top 5 takeaways from Blockchain Unbound...
1. Blockchain technology is absolutely going to change the way we transact
Nearly every industry will be affected by this technology. It’s an exciting and risky time around relatively new tech that leaders in the space are talking about conceptually. But how their vision will come to life isn’t entirely clear. It’s a big and complicated infrastructure at the forefront of changing the way we interact and do business. We are still understanding its capabilities, and know there are going to be lots of bubbles - both highs and lows.
2. Marketing blockchain is good for users
Blockchain fits within the ethos of where marketing should be and how transactions should occur. The technology will be successful due to the underlying belief that blockchain is going to make data more decentralized. It will put the power back in the hands of the people whose data is being used, rather than handing the data over to large tech companies, like Facebook or Google, who currently own data on the individuals. Blockchain will be used to help the market, influencing change across politics and consumer shopping behavior. The transparency will accelerate change in a new and meaningful way, a change that we'll see across many industries.
3. Blockchain is going to reduce inequalities
The community benefits of decentralized power are staggering. If communities can take charge of their own energy sources, by perhaps building microgrids that share the generation capacity of panels on each person’s home, they can eliminate a significant amount of power loss due to long-distance transmission, which can be as high as 30% in some cases.
Based on the Global Opportunity Report 2018, “New technology is an enabler for a more transparent value chain and great citizen rights, empowering further social responsibility and protecting the most vulnerable...Inequality has been perpetuated in Ghana partly because of unreliable, and inefficient paper-based systems for land registry vulnerable for corruption,”
Smart contracts could also immediately trigger a transfer of title to goods, in exchange for digital-currency payment, when a chip with GPS capability detects when a shipment has been transferred to or from a designated warehouse. An effective token strategy is one where the exchange of that token within a particular economy impacts human economic behavior by aligning users’ incentives with those of the wider community.
4. Puerto Rico is great for business, as a developing ecosystem
More and more companies and engineers are moving their teams to Puerto Rico, due to the obvious tax benefits of establishing residency within the community. They recognize that the economy is in the early stages of being rebuilt, largely around relationships. The local government is also collaborating with global companies. They see the value in building infrastructure around incubators and high profile people in the blockchain space who will reside there, recognizing they need to think about business differently, due to natural disasters and the state of the economy.
5. Educate yourself about blockchain... there is more to the technology than just cryptocurrencies
There is a bit of naiveté about what blockchain can do conceptually, due to the negative stigma around bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Practically, the tech is going to look different than what’s being discussed today or even what was shared at the Blockchain Unbound. Peel back the layers to understand how the tech will have a tremendous impact on our global economy. Also read The Truth Machine if you want to get an overview of blockchain and learn more about the potential implications of the technology.