Beyond Blockchain: Build Your Next Media, Healthcare, or Finance Company

Katie Johnson
Jun 18, 2019 · 5 min read
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Fresh off the success of our first Labs Relay, our team at Consensys kicked off the month of June hungry to inspire the next wave of innovators to start building on Ethereum. Together with our partners at Gitcoin, we developed the idea for the Beyond Blockchain hackathon, beginning Monday, June 24th.

Reinventing Finance

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The “Best in Show” Enable team presenting their project to a packed room at the Ethereal conference in May.

The winning team from the first Relay, the completely global, decentralized, and inspirational Enable team, so thoroughly impressed us last time that we knew we wanted to publish another bounty to upend the finance industry as we know it today. Instead of making the challenge specific, we deliberately used incredible stories of end user pain points from friends, colleagues and family (think: a young person living in the United States on a work visa can’t easily transfer money back to her family at home) to inspire the bounty as it’s written today:

Crucially, blockchain technology is uniquely positioned to create a more open, more equitable, and more effective banking and financial infrastructure as people, goods, and currency move throughout the world.

Crucially, blockchain technology is uniquely positioned to create a more open, more equitable, and more effective banking and financial infrastructure as people, goods, and currency move throughout the world. We are looking for entrepreneurs and builders to design these new protocols and financial instruments for global financial activity.

The possibilities are literally boundless with you at the helm.

Our hope is that brilliant minds, be they designers, historians, developers, subject matter experts, or impassioned end users, are drawn to this provocation around reinventing the financial infrastructure that makes the world go around. We hope you’ll bring your own challenges to reimagine what a global financial reputation, intermediary-free money transfer, or humanized financial risk could look like, and that you’ll work together to create something new. Enable taught us that not only could a team form around a challenge so monumental that everyone could relate to it; they could also use that shared empathy and shared experience as a galvanizing call to action that kept them focused and charging ahead. We can’t wait to see what you’ll do to clear the high bar they’ve set.

In addition to challenging the financial underpinnings of our global world, our team found ourselves wanting to leverage blockchain technology and Web3 to shed light on other industries suffering from an abundance of opacity. Over the course of a few weeks, we shared with each other some of our own pain points, our own frustrations, and our own fears about the world we inhabit and what we found seemed surprising: Web3 is positioned to solve many of the things that loom so large over us.

Upending Media

Take, for example, the upcoming election in the United States. We know now that the 2016 election was significantly affected by the media and by social platforms, and we also know that if anything, truth has become more of an illusion over the past few years.

With the rise of deep fakes, and the viral here-and-gone nature of the news cycle, many among us found ourselves feeling that the media industry is primed for a reboot, Web3 style.

With the rise of deep fakes, and the viral here-and-gone nature of the news cycle, many among us found ourselves feeling that the media industry is primed for a reboot, Web3 style.

We used these fundamental truths of media as it exists today to fuel our bounty writing process, which ultimately led us to imagine a new media landscape that has been rewritten with blockchain and Web3 ideals like transparency, identity, and incentivization. Through these broad provocations and a few unruly ideas of our own, we hope to galvanize those among you who share our concern, and our passion for leveraging Web3. Show us how you’d create a supply chain for information so source material can be easily and quickly traced by everyone, how you’d develop a reputation for individual reporters as well as the newsroom they represent, and how to incentivize meaningful, deliberate, and thoughtful sharing in a world that currently values virality and clicks over truth and conversation.

Reimagining Healthcare

Last, but certainly not least, we as a team found ourselves revisiting over and over again the current state of healthcare.

We were overwhelmed by the inefficiency of it, the asymmetry of the marketplace, and the opacity around availability, possibility, and cost.

We were overwhelmed by the inefficiency of it, the asymmetry of the marketplace, and the opacity around availability, possibility, and cost. It seemed each of us had painful experiences with the healthcare industry: we’d taken or stayed in jobs we didn’t like to keep our better insurance coverage, we had a family member who had pre-existing conditions that prevented them from receiving good benefits, or we just plain did not understand what was available to us and how to use it.

The more we talked about it, the more we realized that Web3 could provide an elegant solution to the Gordian Knot of problems we had unearthed by sharing our own experiences. We cannot wait to see the heart and the brainpower that you bring to this problem as doctors, caregivers, patients, insurers, medical device manufacturers, and entrepreneurs.

The most poignant insight about the three industries that we’ve chosen is that, whether or not we like it, whether or not we are willing to admit it, these industries influence so much of our lives on a daily basis. Each of us has a role to play in transacting money, in participating in our health and wellness, and in living in a global society that is heavily influenced by media. As a UX professional, I see this as an incredible opportunity because for once, we truly are our own users. We know our users because they’re our family, our friends, and our loved ones. By solving these problems, we make it possible to extend an olive branch to someone who thinks differently than we do, we make it possible to transact with someone on the other side of the world, and maybe, just maybe, we improve the quality of someone’s life.

Come check us out at our new website!

So please join us. Spend three weeks imagining a better world alongside our team and countless others we’ll meet along the way. Demonstrate what is truly possible when you unleash your genius on some of these antiquated industries. We can’t wait to see what you come up with this time.

ConsenSys Labs

Consensys Labs invests in founders.

Katie Johnson

Written by

Program Director of Consensys Relays. Spends her waking hours trying to understand and empathize with people to design delightful experiences.

ConsenSys Labs

Consensys Labs invests in founders. We match grit with capital, networks, and an accelerator program tailored for web3.

Katie Johnson

Written by

Program Director of Consensys Relays. Spends her waking hours trying to understand and empathize with people to design delightful experiences.

ConsenSys Labs

Consensys Labs invests in founders. We match grit with capital, networks, and an accelerator program tailored for web3.

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