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Musings and Meanderings

CxO Blog

The hype about blockchain, again?


Blockchain is a hot topic… Well, it was a year ago, and all the blockchain conferences and meetups were full of those who are part of the industry and those who wanted to learn about this “animal”. Then it got hushed due to the market dip or as they call it “crypto winter” which was probably one of the best things that happened in the last three years, following the hype of ICO’s. It helped, once again, to clearly see who is in the industry because they believe in technology long term and are delivering the results, working on product and who were chasing quick money gains.

I enjoyed attending BINANCE week in Singapore in January 2019 because of the luxury of not having a room full of random people (one would say it was empty compared to the hyped times). The conference had a great speaker line-up (we have a video of a few panels on our youtube channel), was well organised and I was impressed by the Binance team’s professionalism. There were quite a few traditional bankers, fund managers, traders and I loved it seeing them sitting in the front row with the notepads, learning about blockchain, making notes, eager to ask questions, which was not easy as there were no Q&A sessions (!).

About a month ago, with the increase of the BTC price, the interest sparkled again. So how to keep yourself cool and really understand what blockchain is about?

As a headhunter, I meet a lot of candidates looking to change their career, especially from the banking and finance industries. To my regret, only about 5% of them understand at least on a basic level what blockchain is about. Once a banker told me, “I have no clue what is blockchain, but I think it’s a scam!” Over time, for those who were open to learning and didn’t know where to start, I’ve created a basic list of recommendations for the beginners. After all, it’s all about education and adoption, isn’t it? ;)

  • Rule #1 - blockchain technology is not the same as cryptocurrency. Blockchain is an underlying technology, and the first use case of it was bitcoin, which is a cryptocurrency. A lot of my friends looking at the BTC charts in the last year would not miss the opportunity to ask me sarcastically how the blockchain is doing when the markets are so low? Well, it’s not really related.

  • Start from the basics, like a Netflix documentary “Banking on Bitcoin” that covers the last 10 years of Bitcoin history and yes, remember Satoshi Nakamoto’s name for God’s sake!

  • Read “Bitcoin” Whitepaper - it’s not that complicated. If it doesn’t make sense to you - don’t worry, many prominent tech people had the same experience when they read it first.

  • I wouldn’t recommend reading about blockchain in traditional media publications as many of them are still discovering what it is about, and it only creates a background noise and confuses you. Instead, do your research and follow a few insiders from the blockchain ecosystem, who’s style is clear for you to understand.

  • If your style is to trust only reputable companies (whatever it means for you) you may find many publications dedicated to this topic, like this paper from PWC and may watch 30 mins documentary “The blockchain and us”.

  • If you still have questions about the underlying value of Bitcoin compared to FIAT currencies, like USD, etc. watch a documentary “Bitcoin: Beyond The Bubble”.

  • Do your research to become your own expert!

I’m happy to share another excellent example of a comprehensive explanation about the industry, use cases, and the ecosystem in basic terms that was given in a presentation by Don Tapscott at INSEAD’s Singapore campus in May 2019 which he traditionally started with a fun video.

Tapscott and INSEADers.png

Don Tapscott is a globally recognized thought leader on the impact of technology on business and society and is currently ranked as the #2 most influential management thinker and the #1 digital thinker by Thinkers50. He is the author of 16 books - including worldwide bestsellers Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything and a recent one Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies is Changing the World.

In August 2018 Mr. Tapscott was appointed Adjunct Professor of Technology and Operations Management at INSEAD. In March 2019, together with Mr. Tapscott and the Blockchain Research Institute, INSEAD launched Blockchain Revolution for the Entreprise on Coursera.

If it still sounds like a sect to you, it’s also ok. This is how the innovative solutions which not everybody understands yet come across like. Remember the invention of the Internet?

We are in the industry as it’s a disruptive technology that will hopefully simplify our lives and will affect all the sectors also because this is where you can meet the most exciting talented people and the craziest ones too!

We hope this article is useful for those who begin their journey!

Let us know in the comment field what are the channels you like and find useful!