Is it fair to say that the Blockchain space is still in its infancy? Probably not. It might arguably be more fitting to say it’s in its adolescence. After all, it’s in undergoing rapid changes and thrives on undermining (if you’ll pardon the Bitcoin pun) the establishment.
As for those rapid changes, it’s not quite so easy to tell what adulthood will bring for Blockchain and cryptocurrencies. This is a specialized game, after all. So, naturally enough, we sat down with a specialist to get those answers. Pioneers Festival 2017 speaker and former Bitcoin.com co-owner Adam Stradling, who has Blockchain knowledge coming out of his ears, has been kind enough to share his thoughts on the matter with us.
Fintech might be barely recognizable in a few years’ time. And while that might sound scary, it also means plenty of opportunity for the smartest, quickest innovators and corporates. Here’s where a few of those opportunities might lie…
Decentralized Data Storage
“This is something that I’m very excited about,” says Stradling. “I see it forming in the same way that was exciting about Bitcoin when it first started forming.
“Looking at Bitcoin Blockchain, Ethereum Blockchain and so on, these chains and that technology stack are not fundamentally going to be able to hold large amounts of data. They will be able to compute data when needed for various operations, but in terms of just storing large amounts of data… they’re not going to do that.
“So now you have big projects that are coming out of Bitcoin itself. Kim Dotcom doing another version of Mega. You have Swarm and IPFS on Ethereum and you have a number of independent entities starting to do stuff. And the sheer number of experiments being done in that realm is an indication of just how interesting this is.
“The cost per terabyte on some of these systems is drastically lower. People also say ‘why not just use Google and Dropbox, or other cloud systems?’ but I don’t see these networks as competing with those 100% — just like I don’t see Bitcoin as competing 100% with banks. I think there’s actually going to be new services and new applications that people haven’t thought about, for when and why they’ll want to have their their data in this type of storage environment as compared to other ones.
“The wave is forming on the horizon. Somebody is going to nail this, and it’s going to be as big as Bitcoin itself. Even if Bitcoin is at $100 million.”
“This is a trend I started researching around two and a half years ago, and which is now coming to fruition. It’s a whole branch of cryptography that focuses on doing data computations, but being able to keep the inputs private. These are things like homomorphic encryption, zero-knowledge proofs and multi-party computing.
“There’s a number of coins that are using these now, and those coins have gone up in huge value just in the last year.
“Just from a coin perspective we’re starting to see value transfer systems and storage systems that have the true privacy that we originally wanted with Bitcoin.
“That is then going to precipitate out into other applications that also need privacy but still need computation. The corporates and the banks worry about privacy: they don’t want to put transactions out there publicly. But as soon as you start stripping away the facets of the Blockchain to get that privacy, you reduce the security and you reduce some of the Blockchain’s good features. So privacy crypto gives you the best of both worlds.
“Another trend that’s just in its very kernel right now is distributed compute and there’s only been one ‘company’ that started down this path.
“It’s an open source ecosystem and project that uses some very simple smart contracting to allocate unused CPU resources to do larger compute projects. With big data analysis and the huge requirements that are going to continue to grow both on data storage and then computation of data, this is going to have a complimentary effect along with decentralized data storage.
“So to be able to start building commercial systems that will do that, I think that’s going to be huge. Barely the seed of this has started, but the minute I saw it I was blown away.
“There’s going to be another 20 guys in the next two and a half years that are going to start going down that path. But this will be just as big as distributed storage.”
To hear more from Adam Stradling and a host of other inspiring speakers at Pioneers Festival 2017, click here! And remember that our selection of startups attends free of charge.