Blockchain : ready to destroy Banks , Telcos , OTT players ?


Every once in a while i get astonished by radical new technologies…for those of you read my blog or attend my Digital Telco training workshops know that 5G and Graphene are tops on my list. Now something else has taken hold of my fascination. And its here NOW not in 2020 !!

In the Telco industry we are so thrilled ( with good cause ) about the potential of LTE and 5G… AI , IoT , Big Data , Robots , Drones , Balloons or flying cars with on board Internet and IP TV..and yes we are so proud of Mobile Money…how the Telcos stole a lead from the Banks changed the lives of millions of unbanked in the developing countries….yawn !!

Yes…something else is lurking like a Shark ready to breach to tear apart and rearrange the fabric of the Digital economy….a technology that will change the world in ways you cannot imagine…AND all the incumbents in the Financial , Data , Telco , OTT players , Internet industries are in the firing line…noo its not BITCOIN…….its Blockchain !! The Blockchain technology is so simple that a dummy can understand its implications …present company included 🙂

Over 30 years, no theorist of the digital age has better explained the next big thing than Don Tapscott. For example, in Wikinomics Tapscott was the first to show how the Internet provides the first global platform for mass collaboration. Now, he writes about a profound technological shift that will change how the world does business—and everything else—using blockchain technology, which powers the digital currency Bitcoin. Tapscott’s seminal book on Blockchain revolution is available on Amazon. Must read.

The Internet as we know it is great for collaboration and communication, but is deeply flawed when it comes to commerce and privacy. Blockchain, is the first native digital medium for peer-to-peer value exchange. Its protocol establishes the rules—in the form of globally distributed computations and heavy duty encryption—that ensure the integrity of the data traded among billions of devices without going through a trusted third party. Trust is hard-coded into the platform. That’s why we call it the Trust Protocol. It acts as a ledger of accounts, a database, a notary, a sentry and clearing house, all by consensus.

Although many opportunities for the blockchain require a digital currency, Bitcoin is only one application of this great innovation in computer science. The blockchain can hold any legal document, from deeds and marriage licenses to educational degrees and birth certificates. Call it the World Wide Ledger. It enables smart contracts, decentralized autonomous organizations, decentralized government services, and transactions among things. A trusted decentralised Data storage in the Cloud ? hmmm …bye bye Amazon ?

The Internet of Everything needs a Ledger of Everything: the blockchain is a truly open, distributed, global platform that fundamentally changes what we can do online, how we do it, and who can participate. If we take the idea that through a huge shared network we can transfer and verify data, value, names, labels or documents, there is not an industry in existence that blockchain could not turn upside down.In the same way the Internet has always allowed near-zero marginal costs of distribution , Blockchain will allow near zero marginal cost in financial transactions and data storage.

Did you get it ? With Blockchain a migrant worker can send his hard earned cash back home without going through Western Union or his Mobile Operator…at a fraction of the cost. So sorry MPesa : The so-called Internet of Things will need blockchains to manage ultimately trillions of daily transactions. Traditional financial services companies cannot manage micropayments and settle payments, such as when a factory light purchases power from a public power auction.

Blockchain technology can provide the suppliers of these services a means to collaborate that delivers a greater share of the value to them. Just about everything Uber does could be done by smart agents on a blockchain. The blockchain’s trust protocol allows for cooperatives, or autonomous associations, to be formed and controlled by people who come together to meet common needs. All revenues for services, except for overhead, would go to members, who also control the platform and make decisions. Bye Bye Alibaba ?

If current development projects, being run out of MIT, are any evidence, blockchain social networks will have dramatically richer and more customizable functionality, where data is protected and consumers empowered, compared to incumbents. Existing vendors will either face disruption or embrace blockchain technologies to deliver much deeper capability to their customers. Bye Bye Facebook ?

Using emerging software and technologies, we can instill intelligence into existing infrastructure such as a power grid by adding smart devices that can communicate with one another, reconfigure themselves depending upon availability of bandwidth, storage, or other capacity and therefore resist interruption. This Internet of Things depends on a Ledger of Things to track everything, ensure its reliability, and pay for its contribution. There are potential applications across virtually every sector.

Transportation. Autonomous vehicles will get us safely wherever we need to go. They will intuitively take the fastest route, avoid construction, handle tolls, park all on its own, negotiate passing rates with other vehicles on the road, and communicate with traffic lights. Hello Connected Car ?

Infrastructure. We will use smart devices to monitor the integrity and other critical factors of road, rail lines, power and pipelines, bridges, runways, ports, and other public and private infrastructure to detect problems and initiate a response both rapidly and cost-effectively. Hello Smart City ?

Energy, waste, and water management. Traditional utilities can use blockchain-enabled things for tracking production, distribution, consumption, and collection. New entrants without infrastructure are planning to create new markets such as the neighborhood energy microgrid. Hello IoT ?

The list goes on and on……

You remember Bitcoin was imagined by an anonymous computer programmer (or group of programmers—their identity is unknown) known as Satoshi Nakamoto in an attempt to break the tie between the state and money. It was intended to be the lingua franca of the internet—a currency born of, designed for and using the attributes of the World Wide Web.

Instead of just being a trading currency, blockchain promises to be a secure form of accounting for information more broadly. Put simply, before blockchain, if person A wanted to make a secure and verifiable exchange (of money, goods, services, title or information) with person B, they needed to go through a central trusted intermediary (a bank, exchange, regulatory agency, government). Trust was provided by these institutions, which in turn gained resources, control and power. The promise of blockchain is to cut out these intermediaries, and, in so doing, disrupt the world’s dominant power structures. Bye Bye Government ??


So what next ? Banks and Governments are getting into the Blockchain game. In the UK, the government is testing blockchain technology to store and transfer NHS records, and track public spending. The sprint to rebuild Wall Street with blockchain is on, with two giant and heavily funded companies squaring off to be the only game in town.R3CEV are technology innovators behind a consortium of 42 of the world’s largest banks (and counting), working together to create the fabric of blockchain for use in financial services.The question is can the likes of Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Barclays, HSBC and BNP Paribas, all of whom are signed up, work together? You bet they will ..unless they want to be consigned to the rubbish bin of history.

And what about my BFF’s , the Telco Operators ? What are you going to do when your Mobile Money platforms become irrelevant ? Or someone else “ leverages “ a Blockchain platform to cash in on your IoT , Big Data , Digital Identity etc etc initiatives ….did you catch my drift amigos ? wake up….or you will be chained to a big block that will take you to the ocean bottom …ha ha

Sadiq Malik ( Telco Strategist )


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