Blockchain Needs To Become Boring To Become Mainstream

I finally got to reading Warren Buffet’s annual letter to shareholder. It is interesting to see how the world’s most successful investor thinks. One piece about their sizeable insurance business really struck me — how to build a successful insurance business:

“At bottom, a sound insurance operation needs to adhere to four disciplines. It must (1) understand all exposures that might cause a policy to incur losses; (2) conservatively assess the likelihood of any exposure actually causing a loss and the probable cost if it does; (3) set a premium that, on average, will deliver a profit after both prospective loss costs and operating expenses are covered; and (4) be willing to walk away if the appropriate premium can’t be obtained.”

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This Week’s Summary

The promise of blockchain is a world without middlemen
 By Vinay Gupta

The blockchain is a revolution that builds on another technical revolution so old that only the more experienced among us remember it: the invention of the database. First created at IBM in 1970, the importance of these relational databases to our everyday lives today cannot be overstated. Literally every aspect of our civilization is now dependent on this abstraction for storing and retrieving data. And now the blockchain is about to revolutionize databases, which will in turn revolutionize literally every aspect of our civilization. We’re going to see the potential for a trajectory of radical change in all industries. As a society, we’re experiencing a time of unprecedented technological change. It can feel like an insurmountable challenge for leaders to stay on course in such rapidly changing tides. And yet, with each passing generation, we are acquiring more skill and expertise in navigating a high rate of change, and it is to that expertise that we must now look as the blockchain space unfolds, blossoms, and changes our world.

Lost in translation — how to talk to a robot
 By Michael Weinreich

Well, quite a lot. 2017 is the year of the bots, and many companies are trying to jump on the train, creating showcases to illustrate that they’ve not missed the “new trend”. From Amazon’s Lex, the technology that powers the virtual assistant Alexa, to the integrated news, shopping and weather bots in Facebook Messenger, the conversation with a ‘roboter’ seems to be the next big thing, and perhaps soon our most common way of communication, especially in the customer service field. So how do you achieve this? Bots are great, but even greater once they’re part of an integrated customer service platform. Clearly, all human agents need to be empowered to fully follow and understand transaction history and create a seamless customer interaction experience. By integrating bots into your customer service strategy and platform, you can avoid getting lost in translation.

Blockchain needs to become technically boring
 By Daily FinTech

“Communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.” Two examples of boring technologies having a big impact on Fintech are QR Codes and Prepaid Cards. Blockchain is definitely not boring. It will probably have a bigger impact than QR Codes and Prepaid Cards, but it may still fade into the sunset of overhyped technologies. It is exciting because that is a huge delta — change the world or dustbin of history. I incline to the former — that Blockchain will change the world. However, that promise won’t be fulfilled until Blockchain becomes technologically boring. This post looks at why that is true and at efforts to make it technologically boring.

Why can’t digital identity be easy, like payments?
 By Dave Birch

I have often seen payments (especially card networks) used as an analogy for digital identity. There is, however, one key difference between payments and identity: you cannot sell stuff online without a means to receive payment, and normally this means integrating with a payments scheme that works for your customers. You can, however, sell stuff without leveraging an external identity scheme — you just give the user an ID and password specific to the service. This is, however, bad news for users, resulting in the fragmented personal data and password mess we find ourselves in today. Merchants are going to have to be a lot more careful with personally identifiable information in the future. One thing they could do is use an identity provider to hold that data, and in the process reduce their risk. Individuals also need to realise that their personal data is valuable, just like their money. This is going to require some education, because so far they’ve been taught to share data without considering the consequences.

Originally published at FinTech Summary.