Impressions from Consensus 2016

The blockchain world is splitting into Doers and Talkers. Many of the projects driven by banks, consultants and the consortia are basically proofs of concepts or defensive moves without any firm goals for production systems carrying significant asset value (billions or more). Hyperledger and R3 as of now have no such production project is live. Ripple has some short term plans but so far projects inside banks. In fact R3, Ripple and Hyperledger are very very far from enterprise scale capabilities. Most other blockchain efforts inside banks are really glorified databases or various stages of IT improvement projects.

There are great startup ideas too. From the Old World, CME (US Commodities Exchange) launched financial derivatives on Bitcoin and linked to the BTC blockchain. They also have live production asset settlement built on the BTC blockchain and working on Ethereum. t0 (T Zero) has a live trading platform, shadowing Nasdaq with real trades in a few securities built on the BTC blockchain. There are many startups working on supply chain ioT tracking like Provenance and ideas like the Gig ecomony like Colony and on solar energy trading (both BTC and Ethereum). Bitpay is a B2B payment and settlement system on the offering Paypal-like business payments at 90% less transaction cost. Circle is offering the same in the B2C space. Both are live on the BTC Blockchain.

I met with my old team members who are at Blockstream. Many of the original bitcoin core developers joined Blockstream to develop extensions (sidechains) to the Bitcoin blockchain because that is the only production blockchain at scale. Ethereum is close but having met with them this week they still do not have any smart contracts at scale but many funded startups building on it. Blockstream opened a collab space to experiment at The Elements Project

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