Blockchain’s Backers Set to Improve its Image, Form Muskoka Group

The Muskoka Group emerges from a group huddle on Blockchain, and aims to transform the image of Bitcoin Blockchain and associated tech.

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Blockchain’s Backers Set to Improve its Image,  Form Muskoka Group

Is Blockchain ready to sex it up? A three-day conference held at the Lake of Bays in Muskoka Canada which involved Blockchain advocates, theorists and policy experts was held between August 24th-26th, 2016.

The meeting participants explored ways that the Blockchain can achieve its fullest potential. Can this group of individuals who are already deeply connected with the Blockchain change the course it is on and steer it towards a better tomorrow?

CoinTelegraph spoke to Brian Behlendorf of The Hyperledger Project, Don Tapscott of The Tapscott Group, Alex Tapscott of Northwest Passage Ventures, and Jamie Smith of The Bitfury Group about the group, its plans and goals.

The emergence of the Muskoka group

The Muskoka Group constitutes the participants of the meeting held at Muskoka, Canada at the home of Alex and Don Tapscott. The Tapscotts are co-authors of the book - Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business and the World. The 3-day Blockchain huddle included the participants:

  1. Brian Behlendorf, Founder, The Hyperledger Project
  2. Perianne Boring, Founder and President, The Chamber of Digital Commerce
  3. Michael Dillhyon, CEO, YouBase Inc.
  4. Joseph Lubin, Founder, Consensus Systems
  5. Matthew Roszak, Co-Founder and Chairman, Bloq
  6. Jamie Smith, Chief Global Communications Officer, The Bitfury Group
  7. Matthew Spoke, CEO, Nuco
  8. Christa Steele, CEO, Boardroom Consulting
  9. Don Tapscott, CEO, The Tapscott Group
  10. Alex Tapscott, CEO, Northwest Passage Ventures
  11. Tomicah Tilleman, Senior Partner, Founder of Bretton Woods II, New America Foundation
  12. Joseph Weinberg, CEO, Paycase
  13. Pindar Wong, Chairman, VeriFi
  14. Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, the Linux Foundation

Does Blockchain have an image issue?

In a report published on the website of the Muskoka Group, the organisation addresses the potential need to overcome ‘misconceptions.’ It is understandable that any nascent technology attracts a lot of skepticism and it takes a bit of convincing to get everyone to adopt.

The Muskoka Group have taken it upon themselves to inform and educate people, governments and organisations about the intricacies of the Blockchain technology. Cointelegraph talked with Alex Tapscott of The Tapscott Group at whose residence the group was formed.

He says:

“Blockchain technology has emerged as the second generation of the Internet and has the potential to transform business and society in profound and potentially positive ways, yet the ecosystem today is still in its infancy. Specifically, there are many challenges we face that must be overcome - everything from standards to advocacy, policy and education.”

Building a chain of trust

The Bitfury Group will have a key role in the plans of the Muskoka Group to build trust in Blockchain systems. They plan to collaborate and act collectively to this end. A part of the strategy of the group is to support the Blockchain Trust Accelerator.

Jamie Smith, Global Chief Communications Officer of The Bitfury Group expresses the need to create better governance models when talking about the Blockchain Trust Accelerator:

“The goal of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator is to connect public servants with technologists and funders to accelerate the adoption of Blockchain technology for social good and democratic governance. Support of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator, another Bitfury initiative, was also a priority for the individuals who gathered at Muskoka.  Blockchain technology is innovative, powerful and has the capability to address corruption and make the world better for a lot of people, which is why Bitfury, New America and the National Democratic Institute launched the Blockchain Trust Accelerator.”

Joining forces with the Hyperledger

Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger has been at the forefront of the collaborative effort when it comes to Blockchain. The Muskoka Group aims to take advantage of this existing effort.

We asked Brian Behlendorf, Founder, The Hyperledger Project about how the Hyperledger might fit in and he expressed his support:

“We were excited to be a part of this interesting conversation, and support the statements put out by the collective. The Linux Foundation's expertise with building open source software communities and the surrounding commercial ecosystem will continue to be applied to the Blockchain world through Hyperledger, both in the specific projects we host (Fabric, Sawtooth Lake, Explorer, and more soon) and potentially in the future other services like training, conferences, and the like.  These services are often essential to growing the developer talent pool, and give those developers a chance to prove their skills to companies searching for those skills.  If there are other ways we can be of service to the broad Blockchain technology industry using our skills with open source software and communities, we'd love to know."

Gathering the community around a hub

Don and Alex Tapscott have been charged with funding and launching a GSN (Global Solutions Network Program) Blockchain Hub. The function of this hub will be to carry out a research project with the aim of categorisation, analysis and building an inventory of the Blockchain ecosystem as it exists today.

Alex Tapscott explains the importance of the GSN Blockchain Hub:

“The GSN framework for multi-stakeholder governance is the product of a $4mm research project and really is the definitive taxonomy for how global resources, such as the Internet - or in this case, Blockchain – are governed.”

Alex Tapscott is of the opinion that the GSN Blockchain Hub could emerge as one of the most important areas of research, knowledge sharing and collaboration in the Blockchain ecosystem.

Busting the Blockchain myth bubble

Blockchain has attracted a lot of attention and there is a lot of buzz around it but unfortunately not all of this is positive.

According to Alex Tapscott these misconceptions are getting in the way and in many cases the opposite is true, as he explains:

“Right now there are too many myths about this technology that need to be busted. For example – people assume this will only impact on financial services, or that governments are hostile towards it, or that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are only used by criminals. It turns out that not only are those notions false, often the inverse is true. Getting hung up on these misconceptions prevents people from seeing the awesome power of this technology.”

Blockchain will get an image makeover

So how is the Muskoka Group different from other advocacy groups?

As Jamie Smith of Bitfury puts it:

“One major development of the Muskoka gathering was our robust conversation about the need for a comprehensive communications campaign to explain Bitcoin and Blockchain technology. Bitcoin and Blockchain technology is innovative, powerful and has the potential to change the world. However, many misconceptions surround the technology which has led to a gap in understanding its potential. The Bitfury Group is proud of its efforts to drive a communications campaign to better explain Bitcoin and the Blockchain, and we look forward to working with the attendees of Muskoka as well as other organizations, corporations and individuals to join us in this important work.”

The answer is that perhaps this is the first concentrated effort to dress up Blockchain and bring up its level of acceptance by clearing out the fallacies which surround it.

So how near are we to a Blockchain revolution? We asked Alex that very question since he is the co-author of The Blockchain Revolution.

He points out:

”The Blockchain revolution has begun. Once again, the technology genie has been unleashed from the bottle and it is at our disposal to reshape the world of business and the old order of human affairs for the better- if we will it.” 


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