On Thursday last week, techUK along with blk.io hosted the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance London Meetup for a presentation and Q&A with Joseph Lubin, co-founder of the Ethereum Blockchain project and, more recently, founder and CEO of ConsenSys. Ethereum is the second-largest Blockchain platform after Bitcoin. Ethereum’s distributed computing platform has opened Blockchain-based Distributed Ledger Technology to a multitude of use-cases beyond pure digital currency such as smart contracts and decentralised applications that are built on top of it. ConsenSys began as a blockchain production studio building decentralized applications and has also built core infrastructure elements for Ethereum. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance itself is an ecosystem initiative that connects Fortune 500 enterprises, startups, academics, and technology vendors with Ethereum subject matter experts.
The evening was opened by techUK Chief Executive Julian David who greeted the packed auditorium at techUK. In his subsequent presentation, Lubin emphasised how Blockchain technology allows us to move from the current, sub-optimal infrastructural fundamental layer of today’s internet that is corruptible and suffers from ‘walled gardens’ across different infrastructures to a more trustable foundation based on Blockchain. The immediate benefit of incorporating Blockchain technology into the core infrastructure stacks will be a more trustworthy, open and fluid system with significantly higher levels of transparency and auditability for all involved parties. In practice, this means that in a world where all elements are recorded on Blockchains and are therefore natively digital, processes such as clearing and settlement and many other forms of value-transfer, currently slow and costly, can happen almost in an instant. The amount of friction that validation through third-party actors brings can be massively reduced which allows for exponential economic value creation.
Joseph Lubin went on to highlight how we will be operating these new networks through identity. For that purpose, ConsenSys has developed a self-sovereign, blockchain-based identity system that allows users to selectively disclose their identity for single sign-ons, KYC and otherapplications as needed.
The presentation was followed by a comprehensive Q&A in which questions about enterprise use-cases and the concern that enterprises will create closed rather than open Blockchain ecosystems were raised. To that, Lubin presented the image of a company as a micro cosmos of an economy. Via the blockchain, enterprises can give employees access to certain features of this economy, but they can also extend access to customers, suppliers, vendors and other stakeholders. Blockchain allows enterprises to create secure, collaborative systems in which their IT interacts with and authorises every interaction internally and externally which means that even though enterprises are able to create closed systems, the benefits of incorporating their multitude of external stakeholders into it far outweigh the benefits of a fully-private, closed wall IT system as it already exists today. In line with that, Lubin expects that interoperability systems that can connect different Blockchains to each other will be a major factor in the Blockchain space for 2018.
The Event was rounded up by short discussions of the various Enterprise Ethereum Alliance working group reports and was closed with a presentation by Lex Sokolin on the macro outlook for Initial Coin Offering (ICO) fundraisers. Lex, a futurist, entrepreneur and partner at Fintech Research Firm Autonomous Research, discussed how the ICO fundraising boom has continued to gather speed since the beginning of 2018. He went on to present numbers on funds and institutional investors entering the cryptocurrency market and left the audience with much to think about with regard to how much more room the space may have for growth.
The event was kindly sponsored by Clearmatics, who provide next-generation clearing and settlement blockchain technology for financial OTC markets. It was organised by Enterprise Ethereum Alliance London Meetup organisers Conor Svensson of blk.io, who provide the foundations for companies to work with blockchain technology and Oleg Giberstein of Coinrule, which is a cryptocurrency trading facilitation tool.