Devcon2 and Ethereum and the Future

There is a sense of deflation following Devcon2. I think it is because the “killer app” did not appear, and the incremental improvements, while real, were already baked into the cake. What did emerge is a more comprehensive sense of where the “walls” are. One of them is the difficulty figuring out how to monetize an open platform. Not easy.

This means that IBM and Microsoft can wedge themselves into the ecosystem and become an essential part of it by providing the support and infrastructure for development tools and data transfer for a plethora of proprietary blockchains. It also means that proprietary blockchains that are being developed by Accenture and others may become the default for innovators and suck up the creative energy we hoped would be invested in evolving open systems. For those of us who envisioned the democratization of banking and other transactions and data sharing, this is disheartening.

Those who start a new with a few integral smart contracts can make money for the first group of investors if their blockchain gains traction and continues, but the income is front loaded to such an extent that the second or third funding tranches will have significantly diminished potential for a sizable return. I can see why most Venture Capital firms are passive about blockchain – there is no business to build that will enable the VC to cash out in a three to five year horizon. By that time, almost any business model and method can be replicated by a competitor using open source tools.

So content is still “king.” It is the businesses that link content – preferably proprietary content – to the blockchain that will be sustainable. The blockchain(s) and their applications will probably be a variant of a public utility. I look forward to reviewing counter-arguments that any of you offer. My best response is to encourage you to explore the concept of the (Distributed Application Development Entity) where a royalty income stream is democratically generated from crowd sourced software innovation and business development activities for consumer facing applications developed through smart contracts on the platform.

[linkedinbadge URL=”” connections=”off” mode=”icon” liname=”Stan Smith Knowledgelevers”] is Co Founder at – blockchain and distributed application development entities – the DADE