Blockchain Awareness Growing — but Still Needs 3 Things

Speaking at the Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona, the World Economic Forum’s head of blockchain and data policy, Sheila Warren, discussed blockchain’s potential to solve real-world problems.

Warren, who started her career as a lawyer on Wall Street before joining the WEF, began her keynote by explaining that in 2018, the conversations people were having at WEF’s annual event in Davos, Switzerland, were focused on the differences between Bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain technology:

“In 2018, no one understood what blockchain was. While the technology had some obvious attributes, government leaders still didn’t understand its potential. And although people were talking about supply chains as the first business use cases aside from money, a lot of the conversations centered around the idea that we have systems we can put a blockchain on and then catapult those into space.”

2020: Collapse of the blockchain hype

Fast-forward to 2020 — Warren noted that in just two years, the blockchain space has evolved in many ways, saying: “The best thing to happen in this space was the collapse of the hype. We finally have regulations around initial coin offerings and don’t have a rush to get money as funding.”

However, Warren cautioned that blockchain technology is not a silver-bullet technology, explaining that strong policy is needed now more than ever to realize its benefits:

“We have to start rethinking the foundational building blocks of the tech stack and the way we allow interactions to happen using blockchain.”

Moreover, Warren shared her excitement for blockchain applications focused on improving the environment. She mentioned that in 2018, the WEF published a paper entitled, “Building Block(chain)s for a Better Planet,” which addresses currently active blockchain experiments. She further noted that the paper’s intention is to bring less attention to blockchain technology and more on policy aimed at increasing the understanding of…

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