We are approximately five years into the blockchain revolution, and the hype curve “peak of inflated expectations” has passed. We are now starting to see blockchain solutions appear across a multitude of industries. From the supply chain to healthcare to financial transactions to manufacturing and many more, there are now numerous blockchain solutions that are solving real-world problems.
Here are several current examples:
• Did you know that you can control what identity data is shared using blockchain solutions? You can therefore share only parts of your identity data rather than sharing your entire passport or driver’s license.
• You can scan a product and see where the raw materials came from, where it was made and how it arrived in your local shop. As an example, Oracle has created a blockchain-based system to improve the traceability of olive oil.
• It’s also now possible to track your luxury clothing items using a certificate issued at the point of purchase, meaning you can sell your item on a preowned marketplace with an accurate price to know the item is authentic.
• The messaging app Keybase allows you to send messages, files and passwords more securely using its blockchain-based solution.
• Did you know you know there’s an actual blockchain smartphone? The HTC Exodus One is the world’s first blockchain smartphone. It uses built-in blockchain technology to help secure your data and keep your identity private and controlled by you.
Why Education Is The Key
In my opinion, we can add to this growing list of solutions by continuing to focus on educating others about blockchain in order to realize the full potential of this technology.
Education is what is currently required to grow the development of blockchain technology and distributed ledger technology. My request to the blockchain ecosystem and all my fellow “blockchainers” is to start educating the world more on blockchain-enabled solutions and less on the technology itself.
Most people do not need to know how the technology works — just look at other examples of technology. The majority of the population has no idea how a database functions, nor could they explain how the internet operates. They don’t need to; they just use these technology solutions.
I have met many people from global blockchain community over the last few months, and while there are a wealth of blockchain solutions being created, I believe too many of these focus on the fact that the solutions are blockchain-driven rather than the issues the solutions can solve and the benefits blockchain solutions provide.
Therefore, education should be the focus for the community. Basic education on the technology is always a great place to start, but education on the business outcomes and solutions of the technology is a must from this point forward.
As A Blockchainer, How Should You Start Educating The World?
• Focus on your area of expertise first. This should be the source of your blockchain solutions. For example, my background is in the world of retailing, so I started looking at payments and supply chain blockchain solutions. From there, I could share these blockchain-based solutions with retailers in retail language.
• Steer clear of the jargon. Ultimately, the solution you come up with doesn’t need to include the word “blockchain.” Rather, stick to the characteristics of the solution (i.e., faster, more efficient, transparent, shared, automated, etc.).
• Avoid complex solutions. While blockchain technology can solve some of the world’s most complex issues, it’s important to start simple and explain how it can fix a small problem in a clearly defined area. In short, you should have an MVP, or a minimum viable ecosystem. Start here, and work through the rest of your business problems.
• Blockchain is not the solution for all problems. This is one of my most commonly used phrases. As much as I believe our future will be underpinned by blockchain technology, there are many areas where blockchain technology is not the solution. Do not try to fit a square peg in a round hole.
• Finally, bring it to life. There is nothing better than using real-world examples to help educate others on the concept of blockchain, as this makes it real for people you are talking to.
Let’s keep educating people on all of the varied and exciting solutions that blockchain’s inherent trust, transparency and immutability can help solve.