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Thoughts from SeedCon

SEEDCON 2019 banner

Hosted by the University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, SeedCon is a day-long conference connecting emerging entrepreneurs, businesses, and innovators. I had the privilege of serving on one of the panels, which was no small task for a conference with a tagline that promises insight into “The Future of Everything.”.

Two primary takeaways from the event:

The Persistence of Permissioned

Interestingly, most of the attending enterprises were highly focused on permissioned blockchains, with Hyperledger Fabric, more specifically, earning the most mentions.

The consensus appeared to be that supply chain and logistics applications stood out as the most immediate use case for such projects, much more so than other industries. Over time, as public chains continue to innovate and add characteristics of interest to enterprises (such as scalability, privacy, and interoperability), I am optimistic that public chains will win out over permissioned ones, at least to the degree it’s a “win-lose” proposition, anyway. (And it’s not.)

From Trend-chasing to Value-seeking

Refreshingly, many discussed whether or not their business needed a blockchain, instead of where they could force the technology into their product or process. This is different than even just one year ago, where a “blockchain-all-the-things” mentality inspired many attempts to fit the circular peg of blockchain technology into the square hole of their business.

Clearly, I have no doubt that one day all industries will have to engage in some way with blockchain technology. I was pleased, though, to see a return to pragmatism.

I maintain that the key to the blockchain-based, tokenized future will be interoperability, scalability, and privacy (for enterprise use cases). Until then, opportunities to discuss these issues in public remain vital as this future takes shape.

Matthew Lam is head of product & strategy for Bloq.

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