Blockchain News Recap With Marco Barulli: BlockShow Europe 2017 Special

Blockshow Europe 2017 is right behind the corner. With over 500 attendees, 24 speakers and more than 20 exhibitors, it promises to be one of the largest international events dedicated to showcasing a variety of Blockchain solutions spanning across the industries.

Cointelegraph Events is thrilled to see you in Munich on April 5-7 to provide the first-hand knowledge about successful implementations of Blockchain technology and the great impact it has already made.

Approaching the most awesome Blockchain-related event of the year, Cointelegraph caught up with Marco Barulli, Co-founder and a Managing Director at Bernstein Technologies GmbH. Next week in Munich Marco will be speaking about the integration of Blockchain solutions for intellectual property management, but for now, he shared his thoughts about the recent Blockchain-related stories of the last few weeks.

However, one eyewitness is better than two hear-so's, as they say, and therefore we’d recommend to grab your conference tickets already now before they get pricey and/or sold out. But for now, let’s do a recap of the Blockchain and Bitcoin-related stories that have surprised us the most in the last few weeks.

Blockchain is ready for prime time

According to a study conducted by the management consulting firm, Bain & Company, most financial firms expect to see the transformative impact of Blockchain technology and its adoption in the next three to five years.

Technology is expected to ensure an estimated $15-30 bln total cost and capital savings to global financial market ecosystems. Quite optimistic forecast, but how can this be achieved?

Marco comments:

“I think Blockchain is still a quite young technology, not yet ready for prime time. Scalability of open Blockchains needs to be solved first. Better tools for developers needto be created. And the lack of talents in this space is what makes everything moving quite slowly.

There is definitely more capital available thanpeople who are capable of moving the Blockchain ecosystem forward.”

Doing Blockchain for the sake of Blockchain?

Recent R3 Consortium’s decision to seemingly abandon Blockchain technology altogether has garnered ridicule from cryptocurrency circles.

The consortium is optimistic about the future of so-called distributed ledger technology - or private, centralized Blockchains - saying that 2017 would be the year such technology sees its mainstream pilot. What is the purpose of blockchain consortiums and how efficient are they?

Marco said to Cointelegraph:

“I am very skeptical. Banks are using the Blockchain hype for reasons that are often not related to the actual assessment of pains that can be eased by deploying a Blockchain-based solution.

R3 is just a very clear example of that. Many Blockchain initiatives/consortiums lack the basic features that may justify the use of the term Blockchain. R3 honesty is, in this regard, commendable.

I have no special knowledge of the internal dynamics within R3, but I think it could still make sense for the partners to keep working collaboratively on improving old, expensive, unsecure, slow legacy systems. Blockchain is becoming a word with no meaning …”

China to become the next Blockchain hub?

Let’s now turn to China. The Chinese market is seeing the opening of one Starbucks branch per day, adding thousands of chains over the last few years.

A large part of the successful growth of Starbucks has been the ease of payment, enabled by Alipay and Ant Financial. Alipay is recruiting Blockchain experts to actively look into the potential of Blockchain technology. Some see a huge potential in this development.

Will China become the first Blockchain hub of the world? What lessons can be learned from this for Blockchain implementation worldwide?

“As a payment method, Bitcoin is not ready to serve large markets: fees are now higher than the price of a coffee, and the time request to validate a transaction is basically unpredictable.

Other permissioned Blockchains have not really significant advantages compared to more centralized solutions, issued by corporate or financial players. Again talent is where China could really have an impact. Capitals and educated people could definitely make China play a role bigger than just mining Bitcoins because of cheap electricity.”

Private Blockchains are good but should be integrated with public ones

IBM President and CEO Ginni Rometty believes Blockchain technology is far more important than Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Learning. Blockchain can be used to manage millions of records and disrupt data-centric industries like health care.

However, Blockchain technology isn’t designed and structured to facilitate such large sequences of data. Marco believes that scalability can be achieved without compromising immutability and true decentralization.

He says:

“Again we need to solve the identity conundrum before being able to talk about sensitive topics like health care data. It is totally meaningless to build a decentralized, trustless technology if, in order to benefit from it, we need to trust a central authority (issuing identity, validating data, ...). In the short term, I think that private Blockchains run by consortiums of authorities, universities and corporations may be the best way to address these problems. Next step is to link and integrate with public Blockchains.”

Blockchain for intellectual property management

The immutable and decentralized nature of the Bitcoin Blockchain can be utilized to the benefit of many use cases and business models. One of these models is the verification of identities within an immutable and transparent Blockchain network.

However, these platforms can’t be deployed on the Bitcoin Blockchain as of current. There needs to be alternative solutions such as side chains or other methods to connect Bitcoin Blockchain to off-chain networks.

Marco comments:

“Verification of identities it is not (just) a scalability issue, but a governance one. Certain governance issues may be solved on Blockchains like Hyperledger and could benefit the Blockchain ecosystem at large. We are currently advocating for such model in the context of the registration of intellectual property assets.

I am just worried of the stall in the Bitcoin ecosystem due to the Bitcoin Unlimited initiative. I totally support SegWit and I hope it could be implemented soon. It's what is needed.”

Check out also our first Blockchain News recap with Charlie Shrem. And remember that you have a unique opportunity to hear a lot more Blockchain stories, learn the latest trends in the industry and get a sneak peek into the era of massive Blockchain implementation - all in one day at BlockShow Europe 2017 in Munich on April 6.

Get your tickets now!