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Reimagining Value Delivery with Blockchain

Podcast host Sam Massey | Podcast guest Prashant Gandhi
February 14, 2020 | 29 min 23 sec

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Brief summary

Approximately 60% of C-level executives know that blockchain technology is part of their future, but don’t know how or why to use it. Prashant Gandhi, Financial Services Principal at Thoughtworks, explores how organizations can use this technology to deliver value to their customers and industries. If you are a leader wondering how to create a Blockchain strategy for your organization, this is the podcast for you.


Highlights


Blockchain is a digital, decentralized and distributed ledger.

Ledgers record facts. The important thing is to know who is recording facts. At the moment they are generally recorded by a centralized authority, such as Government. Centralized authorities can become corrupted, so you are at the mercy of their governance processes.


Blockchain lets us move away from those centralized authorities.

Within these networks, Blockchain allows us to say who can participate in the network, what authority they have in the network and how the participants agree on what the facts are. The records are digital and available to all network participants. 


60% of c-level execs know that blockchain is important to their future, but don’t know how or why. Blockchain is enabling a way to think about how certain industry or organizational processes can be reimagined, and new ways of delivering the same outcome. 


Blockchain enables different parties, who are usually competitors, to co-operate in a structured manner. It allows them to transact with each other, but transactions are private, so your data is not available to anyone outside of the transaction.


Blockchain promises that you can look at the industry value chain, examine the complexities that have arisen over time, and solve them. Examples include: the intermediaries you have in industry, unfair practices, fraud, entry barriers.


Using the three horizon model as a framework to think about when to adopt blockchain; it belongs in the second horizon. It is starting to become an established technology and be used by a number of people and industries.


If you dont have a strategy for it, if you are not in these networks there is a feeling you are missing out. There are a lot of early adopters who are benefiting from a cooperation/ consortium and if you want to influence the standards of the industry, it is important to have a blockchain strategy in place now.


Consortium is the mechanism through which industry participants can get together to solve their long-standing legacy challenges. Most industries have a set number of participants. (Eg in oil trading, large majors like BP and Shell etc do lots of trading with each other, so the bulk of transactions are with each other; so they need to cooperate at a certain level.) It makes sense for participants to come together and organise/fund a network or platform to solve it. 


Before blockchain, no one solved the privacy and trust issues, so the participants wouldn’t have come together to solve these problems. 


In a public blockchain everyone can participate in the network. For example, Web3 is reimagining the economic models that are possible. Amazon has S3, a service where you can store data, but it’s owned by Amazon, you get nothing out of it. Whereas services such as Firecoin says, ‘you have storage capacity on your laptop, and people can pay you to use that storage.’ You have unlock the value of assets in a way you never thought of. 


Private is more of a permission network. You need to be an established company that has gone through an approval process to join a consortium. It has been designed to solve a specific problem, to begin with. 


In enterprise implementations, we are seeing lots of proofs-of-concept (POC) initiatives, which prove this technology can do a set of transactions and that those transactions are private. The leap for many organizations is taking that POC to production.


There are technology implementation considerations; You need to think about how your users will work with the network, how will it integrate with your enterprise identity system, how you might share certain information, data governance and compliance, and integration with your existing systems


The other part of the puzzle is making it a viable part of your business by making the platform something that is useful and valuable, over time. Product thinking comes into play here. How do you ensure customers find it useful and remove friction so that people can adopt the platform and participate


In terms of what’s next, If you haven’t tried blockchain, definitely look at potential use cases and do POCS. Do some research, look at what exists in the industry already to consider participating in and examine what internal capabilities you have, or might need to build to get involved. 



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