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Blockchain – A Royal RumbleBy Anurag Srivastava | April 5, 2018, 6:39 a.m. GMT
#MeToo has gone beyond being a mere social media incarnation of activist feminism. Remember WWE Royal Rumble, the ultimate battle where participants keep entering the ring at fixed intervals- where the last man standing is the winner? This year, for the first time ever, WWE organized an all-women Royal Rumble. It was a treat for viewers, lot more men watch WWE than women. Somehow I am confused whether feminists should have asked for a ban on women’s Royal Rumble or pushed for a start, given that in the name of sports WWE often subjects its “divas” to the deliberately lustful gaze of the paying membership, predominantly male. What I am less confused about though is that another Royal Rumble is on- in the world of Blockchain right now.
Blockchain is at a funny stage currently. Excitement about it led to the breeding of several companies exploring various use-cases of Blockchain. In no time, these young companies like Ethereum started calling themselves the world leaders in Blockchain. FOMO struck! Established tech giants felt left out. Giants like IBM, Accenture, Microsoft, KPMG etc. decided to join the party. Nobody wants to be the 'next Kodak' after all. Thus, tons of consortia were formed globally, focussed exclusively on Blockchain. Very quickly, they also joined the elite group of ‘world leaders’ in the Blockchain technology.
We all know what happens to a company with a lot of business leaders and few core developers. That's several Blockchain companies today!
At present, every financial institution, government, conventional company, a tech company and their aunt claim to be either doing the proof of concept or full-scale Blockchain solutions. The reality is far from it. For most of them, it stops at a severely handicapped and deliberately orchestrated transaction implemented on Blockchain- enough for a PR hit, even stock price jump.
There is no denying that there are indeed a few Blockchain companies who are truly building technology and products for the real world use cases. My favorites are Ethereum and Filecoin. But, the challenge is that you can count them on your fingers.
Bitcoin blockchain has a lot of promise but with some major drawbacks. Tech enthusiasts started solving for it by creating more Blockchain networks that solved specific Bitcoin issues. In the beginning, the attempt to solve the problem was real. There were eight to ten such companies or Blockchain networks either fixing the drawbacks of bitcoin blockchain or extending the benefits of blockchain to solve real-world problems. This number bloated to hundreds in no time. The reason, cryptocurrency and the madness around it.
Each new blockchain network comes up with its own coin used to fuel the network. The coins went public and people started trading. Speculative capital entered and turned technology into economics, tokens into currency, fund-raising into ICOs, sales of product/service into the private sale of tokens, basically anything long-term and solid into a short-term pursuit of glory. Price of these coins surged. Investors and techies sensed an opportunity. Now, we have more than 200 such coins listed. The process of going public and raising money is also screwed beyond repair. All you need to do is set up a beautiful website, a whitepaper, and an awesome marketing team. Boom, you are a millionaire. That's crazy!
The web is filled with white and yellow papers. Some of these papers are so colorful and with little technical details. I thought white papers were meant to be written by our dear friends who are pursuing Ph.D. Well, things change. Sometimes, for the good. Sometimes, not.
The Blockchain Royal Rumble game is set up perfectly here. The ring now has innumerable Blockchain start-up/newbies flocking around the corners, a few muscled old-timers huddled at the centre trying dearly to hold on to their ground, and several clueless flunkies standing right at the periphery of the ring- think of them as corporates who are waiting for the winner to emerge so they can then align themselves with the winning solution.
The game is on! So, who is going to be the winner of this big Royal Rumble? It is simple. The one who can clearly explain in one sentence- “How will Blockchain generate revenue for my company? How will Blockchain reduce expenses of my company?”. You answer it and you retire in Hawaii.