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Five Year Vision of Distributed Ledgers

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This was first presented on July 21, 2015 at Infosys in Mysore, India with the Blockchain University team. All citations and references can be found in the notes.

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Five Year Vision of Distributed Ledgers

  1. 1. Five year vision Is this all just a flash in the pan? Guessing at what will happen next.
  2. 2. Where would you find both types of ledgers? • Will they eventually be used and abstracted away within most large enterprises and organizations? • Will permissionless systems find widespread licit use-cases, or will global commerce largely continue within trusted and semi-trusted networks?
  3. 3. “Distributed ledgers alone will have marginal impact. However smart contracts held on distributed ledgers will have a significant impact on our ability to provide assurances of process for distributed teams. This will be a game changer for companies big and small and for non-profit organizations big and small.” - Casey Kuhlman, attorney and co-founder of Eris Industries
  4. 4. “When it comes to moving assets around, blockchains are actually way less efficient than a SQL server. However, they are exceedingly good at running themselves without a SQL server. Blockchains' 'killer app' is in ensuring data integrity between multiple, sometimes hostile, actors who need to be certain about their relationships with each other without spending a ton of money on servers and physical infrastructure to do it. Blockchains aren't about money - they're about turning men and machines into math.” - Preston Byrne, attorney and co-founder of Eris Industries
  5. 5. “In 10 years from now, the ability to counterfeit and sell fraudulent items that affect our health i.e. food, pharma etc. will be a thing from the past. Blockchain cryptography assisted by various sensors will provide the technical underpinnings for this leap. Luxury goods however will still be subject to counterfeit and fraud, primarily because of the 'i-know-its-fake-but-looks-like-Gucci-and-is-dirt-cheap' syndrome.” - Sri Sriram, co-founder of SKUChain
  6. 6. • Individuals will use public key crypto to authenticate themselves, have encrypted conversations with loved ones, accountants, doctors and lawyers. Storage on both their devices and in the cloud will be encrypted to individually controlled keys. Some widely used internet services will use advanced crypto like zero knowledge proofs or homomorphic crypto or secure multiparty computation. • Cryptofinance based instruments will be widely used in B2B transactions. There will be a diversity of different ledgers. • There will be a solvency crisis in the systemically important set of banking/shadow banking institutions. Central bank intervention will have been much less effective than in 2008 crisis. A censorship resistant cryptocurrency will have experienced wide adoption during the period around the crises. That adoption will either persist after the crisis or will sharply decline after institutional risks are sorted out. - Zaki Manian, co-founder of SKUChain
  7. 7. Consumers: • cheap, programmable money will become common and be used by various APIs (but I think it will be debt/fiat credit lines, not bearer tokens) • remittance payments will be cheaper and more efficient (with Ripple / Stellar, unless the place has stringent capital control, in which case maybe Bitcoin) • distributed online black markets will thrive, they may use bitcoin or one of its derivative (bearer tokens) • bitcoin will still be around Business: • banks will continue to experiment with ledger technology, a lot of it will involve pointless bitcoin like experiments which will fizzle out when they don't bring much benefits • there will be a few successful niche assets running on a well designed, functional, distributed ledger • unlikely that they manage to get their act together and use a big shared ledger for a lot of assets, but not impossible • fidelity points, store credit, etc. will be offered as SaaS to large companies (rather than them using internal blockchains) - L.M. Goodman, creator of Tezos
  8. 8. “Distributed ledgers begin to solve problems that have been elusive to businesses by introducing unparalleled programmed oversight to transactions and registries. Though the hype of this application has been focused around capital markets, almost necessarily because that will have the greatest market impact, I can also imagine more mundane uses of distributed ledgers: monitoring employee expense accounts with real-time business rules and audit flags, creating advanced permissioning systems, simplifying low-level service agreements, etc. These applications sound banal but companies spend millions of dollars annually on software which does this incompletely or imperfectly. My prediction is that these types of systems will start to hit the functional support groups of large companies in the next 5 years.” - BK, the “blockchain” SME at large, global consulting firm
  9. 9. • Moving financial assets today is like sending your email through the postal service. We have grafted new technology on top of old infrastructure, and our global financial infrastructure is out of step with the needs of people, companies, and even nation states. • Blockchain technology will truly digitize how money and assets move through financial systems. • In ten years: • You can opt to be paid every hour, daily, weekly or another period of your choice. You don't need to work and then wait to be paid - you can negotiate when you want the company to pay you. • You can give your appliances an allowance. Your self-driving car can pay the car in front of you to move out of the way. Your refrigerator can order food when it runs out. • You can use any asset you have to buy what you want - the notion of value will become more fluid. You can convert airline miles to add minutes for your mobile phone. A store credit can be converted into a partial rental payment. • In ten years, our notion of money and value will change to become faster, cheaper, and smarter. • If you think that these are crazy ideas to happen in 10 years, here is a list of things that we take for granted today that started about 10 or fewer years ago: Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), modern smartphones like the iPhone and Android (iPhone - 2007 / Android - 2008), Bitcoin white paper (2008), Uber (2009) - Peter Shiau, co-founder of Blockstack.io
  10. 10. “Blockchain technology in my view will have a role to play in the future. The questions really are in what form and how to overcome the chasm. I suspect we will continue to have multiple chains for different purposes but that the major ones will have some element of trusted parties introduced. A key challenge is how to find collaborative forums to apply the possible solutions at scale.” - Mikkel Larsen, managing director at DBS
  11. 11. • Few, if any of the solutions being offered today will exist • Ones that could still be around would be run by big boy adults, not “cypherpunks” • New entrants will come from bonafide engineering outfits and the tech will be broken into components -- there are many components (not CRM/ERP -- it's different) • This will include data feed management and off-chain trade netting all of which is market specific • This tech will be subordinate to business models and financial business's will run the show, not tech companies • Data needs to be secure and trusted; financial data is very nuanced • Data tech is intimately tied to trading practice, market conventions, and is often disputed (of course, because lots of profit & loss is tied to those numbers) thus it is not just an exercise of plugging in a "feed" • It's a process, with models, controls -- and certain startups do not appreciate that due to their “cypherpunk” origins (instead of financial services) • SR, co-founder of distributed ledger project
  12. 12. • Stages of multi-year adoption at the institutional level: • Existing ‘market participants’ adopting private ledgers to enhance their technology and deliver new, faster, lower cost services • Standards created for inter-ledger connectivity, new services and entrants facilitated by these standards • New services and organizations created from the existing ‘market participants’ and new entrants • New market models widely in use - HJ, managing director at a large global bank
  13. 13. “I think the debate between different types of protocols will be further clarified as the industry moves from use cases to business cases, which will ultimately require specs and real procurement, buy/build, ROI processes to start kicking in. These processes in financial services also often has strategic considerations baked in, i.e. which firm has better service, which firm can we get a valuation upside etc. Also important here are the horizontal layers such as security, data, ontologies, as well as interfaces with the traditional infrastructure; i.e. common language and efficient onramp-off ramp mechanisms. These represent a lot of opportunities for new and existing financial technology firms.” - Pinar Emirdag, Managing Director at Hupomone Labs
  14. 14. • tswanson@gmail.com • Follow: @ofnumbers • Visit: OfNumbers.com Contact