You may not know what blockchain is but you have probably heard of bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that has been in the news lately as people make — and lose — fortunes by investing in it.
Bitcoin is blockchain’s baby, the first of three points Manoush Zomorodi made about it on her podcast series, ZigZag. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer, digital cash system that was built on blockchain technology.
However, blockchain can keep track of much more than just money. Point number two is that blockchain is a new way for people to make all kinds of deals, not just financial ones. Media websites, including Forbes, are using it to distribute content.
Players in sectors as far ranging as digital rights management, financial services, global supply chain, government, and healthcare are among those already developing products and services using blockchain. The business value-added of blockchain will grow to slightly more than $176 billion by 2025 and will exceed $3.1 trillion by 2030, according to Gartner, a research and advisory firm. (The methodology used to forecast business value quantifies the value of technology innovation rather than the dollars spent on it.)
The potential impact of blockchain has been compared to that of the internet. “Blockchain has the ability to create new models and to transform existing business,” said Nicole Hamilton, managing director, TechHub at Springboard Enterprises. She is organizing its latest accelerator program, the “Business of Blockchain” Commercialization Lab.
The third point made by Zomorodi is that blockchain requires a collective spirit — lots of people and computers working together. No one controls the network. Yet, it’s a faster, safer way to verify information and establish trust. “Selecting the appropriate consensus protocol is vital to enabling distributed trust within a decentralized business network,” said Sharon LaDay, blockchain ecosystem leader at IBM and a member of Springboard’s Business of Blockchain executive committee.
“Blockchain is one of the key pieces of infrastructure,” explained Lance Koonce, a partner at the Davis Wright Tremaine, a law firm. He leads its cross-disciplinary blockchain practice and is also on Springboard’s Business of Blockchain executive committee. “As such, we need voices with a wide range of perspectives helping make the big decisions about how to frame out this brave new world.”
Diversity breeds innovation. Creativity doesn’t just happen. It is the result of making unexpected connections based on things we already know. That’s why life experiences are so important. Without diversity of experience, knowledge and thinking brought to solving a problem, solutions are limited. Female founders are critical to ensuring that products and services built using blockchain are as disruptive and transformative as the hype promises.
“There will be hiccups along the way as this technology rolls out,” said Jalak Jobanputra in The Observer. She heads Springboard’s Business of Blockchain executive committee. She is also a founding partner of FuturePerfect Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund in NYC that focuses on next-generation technology, such as blockchain and machine learning. For example, key to success are expert guides who can help founders navigate the evolving regulatory landscape of cryptocurrency, digital assets and distributed ledger technology around the world. The Business of Blockchain helps women-led, seed-to-Series-A stage companies avoid hiccups as they build businesses using blockchain as a core technology.
In 2000, Springboard became the first accelerator program to support high-potential women entrepreneurs. Since then, its 730 portfolio companies have raised $8.6 billion, completed 186 successful exits — including 17 IPOs — and 82% are still in business. Springboard’s secret sauce is its 5,000-person network that educates, coaches, showcases and supports high-growth women entrepreneurs seeking equity capital for expansion.
The Business of Blockchain was designed by blockchain entrepreneurs who wanted a way to flatten the learning curve for next generation of founders and provide access to industry experts and funders, explained Hamilton.
How will you educate yourself about the ways blockchain can transform your business model?