Why have some cryptocurrencies gained in value? What is that value based on? And what are the best and/or safest bets for people who want a piece of the cryptocurrency action?
Also, what’s the difference between blockchain and things like Bitcoin and Ethereum? What value does blockchain provide beyond the cryptocurrency realm? And what’s happening on that front?
These are some of the questions The Blockchain Event took a stab at answering. This event happened last week at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The Blockchain Event featured addresses by IBM’s Jason Kelley, Ethereum’s Steven Nerayoff, PodOne’s Marlon Williams, Stillwaters Technologies’ Brian Cooper, Cen’s James Tagg, Lucyd Ltd.’s Clifford Gross, Alchemist’s Jeff Pulver, and Spectramesh’s John Hooks. Plus there were a couple panels. That’s just a sampling of the goings on at this event.
But, in many cases, discussions and questions about these topics create more questions than answers. That’s because this whole blockchain thing is pretty new. It involves some complex issues. Different people have different views about a lot of these things related to it. And, in some cases, those involved are just just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks.
At least that was the impression I was left with after listening to the cryptocurrency panel moderated Thursday afternoon by Crossfire Media’s Carl Ford. That panel, which filled the room, featured representatives from Blockchain Investment Group, Global Blockchain, nationpay.io, and Ticondergoa Ventures Inc.
That said, from what I could tell, some of the key takeaways seemed to be:
• that a lot of people are pretty excited about the money-making potential of blockchain and cryptocurrency (but then, we all knew that),
• that – at least according to some sources – cryptocurrency has yet to amass a valuation that allows it to be considered a true currency,
• that no one (at least not on the above-referenced panel) was able or willing to articulate why cryptocurrency has value when asked by at least two different audience members,
• that the world of cryptocurrency is so new that it’s tough to know what is or is not legal on this front (and/or that some players are pushing the envelope),
• that these guys have a lot of interesting stories, and
• that Wall Street is really freaked out about this whole cryptocurrency thing.
So cryptocurrency is a complex, and often confusing, part of the blockchain discussion. However, blockchain itself seems to be easier to get one’s head around.
Blockchain has been described to me as a distributed database or a trusted ledger. (And IDC defines blockchain as “a digital, distributed ledger of transactions or records.” And it explains that the ledger stores the information or data and “exists across multiple participants in a peer-to-peer network. There is no single, central repository that stores the ledger. Distributed ledgers technology allows new transactions to be added to an existing chain of transactions using a secure, digital or cryptographic signature.”)
The point is, Blockchain is a means by which people and organizations can track the whereabouts and status of things in the value chain. That’s as opposed to relying on a bunch of paperwork from a variety of intermediaries along a product’s path from production to delivery.
IBM’s Kelley during his keynote played videos showing how its customer Walmart is using blockchain to standardize how it captures information and enables traceability of the food products it sells. That helps it make sure that food is safe for consumption. He also detailed how shipping company Maersk is working with IBM to reduce fraud and streamline logistics.
Executive Editor, TMC
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