Three key takeaways from our South Summit panel on Enterprise Blockchain security applications

Ross Strachan, Principal, Adara Ventures

Last month at South Summit Adara Ventures ran a panel on Blockchain to understand the potential use cases this emergent technology may provide for enterprises as part of their Cybersecurity strategy. The panel formed part of our Cybersecurity track, and followed exciting conversations on AI in Cybersecurity, IoT and Cloud Security, and a discussion with some of Spain’s top Chief Information & Security Officers (CISOs) to hear how large organisations are approaching cybersecurity in an age of ever more frequent cyberattacks (you can read about that here).

We were delighted to have participate in this discussion Alex Puig, CEO of Alastria Blockchain Ecosystem, Adam Draper, Founder and Managing Director of BoostVC and Olga Blanco Poves, Blockchain Lead at IBM. We were lucky enough to have Leonard Boord of Tokenizo, as Moderator of the Panel, and he directed the discussion towards some key issues currently dominating the Blockchain ecosystem, namely, how enterprises are engaging with startups to build enterprise Blockchain solutions, the potential areas where such solutions can add value to an enterprise, and the continuing need for education at the enterprise level over the power of blockchain to improve products and services.

Similar to our post on Cybersecurity strategy, we wanted to distil the discussion into three key learning points that emerged from the panel:

  1. Enterprise applications of Blockchain are inevitable, and will come from everywhere — Adam Draper, Founder and Managing Director of BoostVC, pointed to the talent and capital flows as a predictor of successful enterprise applications of blockchain being imminent, noting that “Investors invest in the areas where all the smartest people are running…and if you are not using the latest technology to solve the hardest problems, you’re not doing it right”. The panel agreed that not only were existing centres of innovation embracing Blockchain, but that the phenomenon is global. This is a marked difference from previous waves of innovation such as the information wave or the communication wave, where knowledge and product development was siloed in North America. In contrast, talent, capital and knowledge is as decentralised as the technology it promotes with entrepreneurs tackling the same complex problems with the same tools, regardless of where they are located.
  2. Enterprises are now embracing Blockchain — Alex Puig, CEO of Alastria Blockchain Ecosystem highlighted that Enterprise attitudes are shifting from fear and confusion to acceptance and promotion of Blockchain as a way to secure assets, data, and particularly transactions. He also noted that whilst there is still reticence to put Enterprise owned centralised private databases on decentralised public blockchains, Enterprises are increasingly investing in hybrid solutions, and increasingly embracing the concepts of opensource and collaboration in their development cycles. Alex pointed that decentralisation inherently prevents cybercrime as it changes ownership of data, making megahacks that yield millions of credentials in one go, a thing of the past. As 80% of cyberattacks begin with identity or credential theft, there is an obvious appeal here for Enterprises.
  3. Enterprises must focus on use cases to create value from Blockchain — As Blockchain Lead at IBM, Olga Blanco Poves, spoke on behalf of Enterprises evaluating new Blockchain based projects. “The future of Blockchain is not in creating cryptocurrency but rather in creating solutions that can improve the internal processes of the business, or create new businesses or new markets.” Olga noted that the Blockchain should be used to build real solutions if it is to become a mainstay technology at the enterprise level. This statement was echoed by the panel, who urged the community to trust the technology, experiment and solve complex problems rather than getting lost in the hype of cryptocurrencies.

Whilst it is clear that we are still in the early days of Blockchain adoption at the Enterprise level, it appears that attitudes are shifting towards recognition of the technology as foundational for value creation. This opens ever more opportunities for collaboration between the Enterprise and the startup community, on a global level. We hope the above discussion encourages more entrepreneurs to engage Enterprises at an earlier stage, and to focus on the use cases, and not just the hype, surrounding Blockchain.

Ross focuses on the origination and execution of new investment opportunities and supports the existing portfolio with corporate and strategy development. Ex-WPP M&A, completing 30+ investments at the intersection of data, digital and media. MBA alumni of IE Business School. Scotsman in Madrid. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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