On Wednesday July 25, the Global Open Innovation Network hosted a TechMeeting dedicated to a technology that got a lot of attention in the past year: Blockchain. The event gathered over ninety people from a large range of companies and sectors, interested in learning more about blockchain and its applications.

Our panel was composed of four experts, each with their own approach to blockchain:

  • Ashley Lannquist, who moderated the panel, is a Blockchain Project Lead at the World Economic Forum. She ​​also co-founded the Mobility Blockchain Initiative (MOBI), ​using blockchain and related technologies to make mobility safer, greener, and more accessible.
  • Rick Kubin is the Vice-President of the Clean Energy Blockchain Network, an organization supporting the deployment of a clean energy peer-to-peer kWh trading platform.
  • Max Wilson works as Product Manager at Circle, a crypto finance company offering payment, trading and investment services.
  • Siri Srinivas is an Investor at Draper Associates and specializes in seed stage technology companies.

The panel discussion started with a focus on cryptocurrencies. Despite a twelve-figures market cap, it’s still not clear whether cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum will be able to cross over to mainstream use. One major factor in this transition is the ability of cryptocurrencies to seduce Fintech players and be considered by consumers as a payment method like any other.

According to Ashley Lannquist, the adoption of cryptocurrencies is currently limited by their volatility. Indeed, in the end of last year, the Bitcoin to U.S. dollar exchange rate rose around 2,000 percent before losing almost all that gain in the following weeks.

Over twenty-five initiatives have been launched to solve this pain point and create low-volatility cryptocurrencies, also called “stable coins” as mentioned by Max Wilson. Stable coins are cryptocurrencies that are typically indexed on a stable asset, like gold or the U.S. dollar and regulate themselves on the supply side.

Rick Kubin intervened to give a concrete stable coin example: SPARKS. This stable coin is used by the Clean Energy Blockchain Network to trade energy and is pegged to the lowest denomination of the local currency. This model ensures the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies doesn’t impede on revenues earned from selling surplus energy.

Siri Srinivas gave a new dimension to the discussion by mentioning the fact that cryptocurrencies and tokens are to be traded but also offer a new way of owning equity. This perspective led the panel to discuss smart contracts, a type of software saved inside a blockchain that stores the terms of an agreement, automatically verifies their fulfillment, and executes the said terms. These contracts are getting more and more interest from the business world and will probably be one of the first blockchain-related technologies to go mainstream.

Ashley Lannquist then mentioned another application of blockchain currently experimented by the MOBI and the automotive industry. The idea is to store the entire history of a vehicle within a secured blockchain that would hold records of the manufacturer, owner, repairs and more. While extremely promising, this technology seems hard to deploy as it would only work if all players of the industry decide to implement it.

The discussion ended by all speakers agreeing on the trade-off that currently applies to blockchain between security and scalability.

The Global Open Innovation Network invited 6 innovative startups to present their solution around blockchain. The presenting startups were: NuCypher, Amberdata, Patientory, Augmate, Slync and Cryptowerk.

Check our website for more information on the Global Open Innovation Network and don’t forget to register on EventBrite for our next TechMeeting on September 11th: New Energy Landscape. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us: prime@innovation-prime.com