“Cryptocurrency is just one use case for blockchain,” Karen Ottoni, director of ecosystem at Hyperledger, told Cointelegraph in an interview during Paris Blockchain Week.
The list of blockchain-applicable ideas is numerous and growing, including “supply chain and trade, finance and capital markets, tokenizing green bonds and tokenizing real estate.”
Hyperledger Foundation's bread and butter is to support the development and deployment of its open-source enterprise-grade blockchain technologies for projects such as “managing food, fish, diamonds, minerals — the supply chain,” Ottoni told Cointelegraph.
While Hyperledger works in every industry, its impact on climate change and climate action is what most inspires Ottoni.
“To know whether or not the minerals that are being used for our cellphones, the tungsten being used in our cellphones or computers or cars, if they're coming from a sustainable.”
Blockchain technology has long been hailed as an effective tool against climate change, while a new school of thought on Bitcoin (BTC) evaluates mining as a means to incentivize the buildout of renewable energy plants.
However, the longstanding question of “Do you need a blockchain for that?” crops up. Ottoni cited a tungsten mining operation in Rwanda as a successful implementation of blockchain technology that is more effective than a database.
“With a database, you have to trust whoever is managing it. There are a number of different actors in the space — the companies, the refiners, the governments — and importantly, these are all actors that don’t necessarily trust each other.”
Ottoni explained that these actors, good or bad, would “benefit from the visibility of shared data and shared transactions that weren’t as visible before.”
However, there are still drawbacks. “Bad data in is bad data out,” Ottoni conceded. To date, Hyperledger has roused interest from IBM, among other large corporations.
As for central bank digital currencies, which most central banks are now considering, Ottoni explained that they are the “evolution of digitizing assets.” Ottoni expanded:
“I think it's [CBDCs] going to be a part of the mix. There will be cryptocurrencies, as there’s a value proposition there. There’s going to continue to be stablecoins and a central bank.”
For example, CBDCs make sense in the wake of a natural disaster: “Following a hurricane, CBDCs allow for the quick distribution of funds.”
As for the future of blockchain, Ottoni explained that “interoperability” is her most pressing concern — not necessarily between blockchains, but in terms of developers, thinkers and teams sharing ideas and collaborating more effectively.
Ultimately, there need to be more examples of “testing, proving and showing that these tools work.”