Just like many other CEOs reading this, I approached blockchain technology wearing a familiar hat, one that gave me the responsibility for market definition, developing a coveted stream of prospective users and deployment of enterprise systems which operated in isolation of possible complimentary but competing service partners.
This conventional view of the world was commonplace amongst technology vendors, that was until the concept of a decentrally governed platform was born. The efficiencies that decentrally governed platforms stand to introduce are undeniable and the freedom from centralized institutions, prodigious.
By definition, any blockchain project that has a CEO is centralized, however, every CEO one day will manage a business coexisting on (and contributing to) a decentralized platform. The question is, how soon should we plan for this eventuation and what will it take to be an effective decentralized CEO?
The Chasm of Confusion
Anyone new to the blockchain world can be forgiven for finding it confusing and full of conflicting statements.
Core to the divide is a passion for the importance of a decentralized world and the total rejection by responsible CEOs for the core tenets of today’s decentralized technology platforms.
After all, what responsible CEO could sanction investments in tech that speaks to an unregulated transaction network with exits to anonymity?
The decentralized world believes in a common medium of exchange where unheralded efficiencies come from reducing the massive overheads associated with compliance. The other? Well, arms folded and waiting for delusional aspirations to evaporate, all whilst desperately trying to justify investing in yet another industry specific [blockchain] database.
In reality, both are hopelessly entrenched in their own dogma, creating a divide defined by naivety and ignorance as both are absolutely right and fundamentally wrong, as it is this polarized posturing that has resulted in this chasm of confusion for CEO’s wanting to understand the way forward.
Decentralization is inevitable
Whether at the helm of a decentralized venture or not, the responsibility of every CEO is to understand the future and how it stands to impact their business moving forward.
Let’s break down the imperatives of decentralization and its critical importance to our future:
- Decentralization speaks to how a network is secured and free of centralized control that might otherwise leave it open to coercion or corruption. In essence, no one is trustworthy, not our corporations, not our banks, not our retailers, and not our governments. So, no matter if we chose to trust them, we appreciate that they expose us all to the possibility of intrusion. Encrypted blockchain technology paired with decentralized governance (no centralized force) eliminates our existing vulnerability. As solutions emerge, businesses and individuals will gravitate.
- Decentralization speaks to coexistence, how data is securely stored decentrally and shared as part of a common protocol. Thanks to this common protocol, businesses, individuals and devices can move from, and share access to, data with common participants. This opens the world for participants to transact and share selected information instantly and cost-effectively.
- Lastly when applied to regulatory compliance, decentrally validated, discriminatory inspection of a network will result in regulators having oversight over an entire ecosystem. This oversight will eliminate the need for service level reporting, eliminate the costs and negative impact that compliance has on organizational efficiency, and free up trillions of dollars of unproductive capital.
The future of unavoidable outcomes
The future belongs to a connected society of uniquely identified individuals, organizations and devices, transferring value and other unique transactions, as simply as they might through instant messaging.
Decentralized, but regulated, networks will enable regulators to oversee an entire ecosystem rather than relying on the inherently flawed systems of the present day. Decentralized networks will enable assets and participant information to confidentially coexist as part of the underlying regulatory compliant, transaction protocol.
Participants will be able to action regulatory compliant transactions from their devices, be it any form of connectable, transactions including:
- Instant exchange of monetary value
- Instant exchange of securities
- Instant uniquely identified polling
- Instant sharing of selected credentials
- Instant device to device charging (think robots)
Decentralized credentialed networks will enable the safe storage of every legally recognised credential for immediate retrieval and use.
Decentrally governed networks, overseen by communities of participants, will be populated by unique legally recognized individuals and organizations that are secure in the knowledge that their confidential encrypted information cannot be violated by corporate intrusion or government overreach.
People, organizations and devices will ALL be directly interconnected in a globally decentralized, regulatory compliant environment. Information sharing and transactions will be under the control of a unique identity, free of centralized intermediaries.
The challenges of participation
The challenges for future CEOs leading decentralized ventures are many:
- They must first signup for a future they can envisage but can’t touch
- They will need to stay tuned for tipping points and become familiar with how to compartmentalise input
- They will need to focus their teams on the future and what to look for
- They will need to be wary of technical advice born out of religious like fervour
- Consider investments in the blockchain space as experiments as the material value propositions have yet to emerge
Future leadership + vision
There is no doubting the fact that those presenting viable plans for the true integration of decentralized commerce into the fabric of society have an enormous task on their hands.
Leaders must have confidence in the logic of an integrated world, the competence of innovators to eliminate barriers, and the driving influence to manage the trillions of dollars that will become available as this phenomena of decentralized commerce emerges.
The future leaders amongst us will be those that appreciate the knowledge that the world belongs to those that contribute to a greater whole. The unwavering journey to successfully deliver the unrestricted proliferation of decentralized commerce is already underway, the challenge is knowing when and where to board the high speed train to a future that will leave many wondering why they were left standing on the platform.