Navigating the Blockchain Revolution


Last labor day week there were perhaps  5 articles or stories on the discovered through an alert on Google Scholar.  This week there are over 50.  It gets increasingly harder to navigate this landscape, especially for generalists. Gartner and other innovation and trend discovery operations are now suggesting that the blockchain is being hyped.  They are simply wrong.  Academics and startups in the space are real.  Funding in the space is real.  Even in tech wastelands, the open source nature and tradition of blockchain is fueling very rapid exploration and development.  

I think the attempt to discount the depth and breadth of the impact of blockchain is due to traditional outlets of news and information being overtaken by the movement of crowd.  They customarily work with major software firms with PR operations that translate and shape evolving products and innovations for them. However, with open source programs and crowd sourcing, nobody can maintain an edge for long.  Funding and staff may enable a toehold, but real traction is very hard to achieve in this kind of environment.  Let me put it simply.  There will be very few protected applications in this space and that means that Gartner won’t be able to access a constant set of actors. It also means that traditional monetization models will fail.  What will succeed is something like the DADE, a multitude of distributed application development entities that access development resources of the crowd and allocates ownership through proof of work and proof of stake.  The that is covered up by the hype of blockchain is the revolution in distribution of micro-ownership and therefore micro-compensation that is at the heart of the sharing economy.

The quickly shifting landscape generates a panic even in those of us who were early adopters, especially if we thought we could leverage traditional monetization channels through providing services or consultation or developing proprietary protected applications.  Developing proprietary blockchains is the latest result.  These proprietary blockchains are already dinosaurs and wasteful and redundant.  However, for the desperate and the short sighted, they offer the false hope of a reliable and predictable income stream.   Expect more pot shots at open source from folks who have sunk assets into these proprietary blockchain systems.  If you are a news outlet or a reporter, “follow the money,” and you will understand what motivates the desire to undermine the empowerment and democratization on offer through open blockchains.

[linkedinbadge URL=”″ connections=”off” mode=”icon” liname=”Stan Smith”] is Co Founder at