Is Bitcoin the first MVB (minimal viable blockchain)? I often wonder. Specifically in times like this, when you are trying to build an infrastructure and developer business, but everyone you meet keeps checking their Blockfolio app. When people say that Blockchain is currently at 1994–97 in internet terms, then it seems like its MVB — Bitcoin, tokens — is currently at 1986–89 in bonds-with-bells-and-whistles-land. If that’s before your time, read this (hello everyone). It describes the evolution of finance “from a context of relationships to a context of transactions” designed for pure profit. Sounds familiar?
I mention it because it is important to remember that the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies for good — and bad — is enormous. The very nature of decentralization can also be used to avoid responsibility. That is true for ICOs, as well as infrastructure components like nodes that mine. How can we ensure that the vast richness that is created is more strongly correlated with “good”?
It is a chasm we at Blockdaemon have to consider as well. We want to be a community infrastructure play, but we also want to benefit from the disruption we intend to sow.
Currently, the answer for us is a middle ground. The best example: the MADnetwork.io ICO we are currently supporting. It is an insanely cool project, masterminded by Madhive.com CEO Adam Helfgott and his CTO Tom Bollich (Zynga Founding CTO). Madhive has been successfully building ad-tech OTT (means over the top which means television via internet) solutions using blockchain components, making $1MM in the process. Venture-backed by great blockchain investors, these guys have more traction than the Tesla Model S.
We — Blockdaemon — are powering the 2nd layer of their ecosystem, a Quorum centric consortium, that will be managed by the members of Adledger.org. Each member will have a node to monitor and validate activity occurring on its payment rail. You can see the POC here.
Their ICO is funding the development of a payment rail and decentralized ad server in an emerging market (OTT), governed and supervised by the members of a consortium, with a viable go-to-market strategy. Now that is an ICO we can get on board with. Decentralized governance and systemic responsibility via our slick little Quorum nodes. This seems to maximize the good while enabling profit for the creators of media. Now that is an equation we like.
That said, ever tried to configure a crypto wallet to receive the tokens you exchanged your hard growing bitcoin or ether for? Now that is not looking so cool. Everything is just so unusable. Why?
People often relate blockchain technology and it’s adoption to TCP/IP. It’s a good analogy — with one glaring exception: expectations around time to market. TCP/IP was around for almost 20 years before the internet started to really take off, and another 20 years before SaaS applications would start to dominate the enterprise space. Both waves — initial internet adoption and enterprise SaaS adoption — were preceded by two major steps forward: infrastructure tools to expedite development and drastic improvements to usability.
It’s been a decade since blockchain technology was born, and until recently it’s been relegated to highly technical message boards, frequented primarily by cryptography enthusiasts. And it looks the part. While some of the thought and theory behind the tech is more mature, development tools and usability have lagged behind. And with the hype reaching levels of what some might describe as “sheer insanity”, we need major steps forward in both areas if we’re gonna meet market expectations (and for us that means “more good”).
There are a lot of developers out there — but very few blockchain developers(whatever that is). And competition for them is fierce. You want them to focus on building channels on the blockchain to do insane stuff, not have them sift through SDKs for days to deploy their blockchain code. They need to deploy the “good” stuff faster, to justify all this market capitalization.
That’s why we focus on delivering products to allow for developers to push code to market quickly. That’s why we’re building development tools that are easy to use. No steep learning curves allowed around here.
And, as with ICOs, the proof is in the pudding. Here is ours. Welcome to blockdaemon: