In a new editorial today in Forbes. Schroeder classifies Bitcoin as a speculative investment which may or may not work out long-term, but lauds the merits of blockchain, which he describes as “a serious technology.”
Schroeder believes that “the real potential” for blockchain technology will emerge from the companies who decide to build on it.
Hundreds of firms who tried and failed during the ICO boom of 2017 notwithstanding, Schroeder identifies four areas that entrepreneurs should look into, as well as crucial industries for investors to get exposure in blockchain. He says:
“So why should you as an entrepreneur or investor care more about blockchain than Bitcoin? Bitcoin is still a speculation on a future crypto currency that the world may not yet adopt. Maybe in the future, maybe not. But blockchain is a serious technology that can provide a variety of solutions. Imagine you are an automotive manufacturer and you have a product quality problem. Rather than recall thousands or millions of cars, you can simply recall the cars whose part is potentially defective based on blockchain identification and tracking.”
All of Schroeder’s suggested areas for blockchain integration are well-trodden ground in the industry. He lists digital rights management, digitizing real estate, tokenizing other assets, and customer rewards programs. There are, of course, a hundred other use cases for blockchain technology. Schroeder focuses on these, apparently, because he believes they have the most potential.
A number of companies have tackled digital rights management via blockchain. Perhaps ironically, the BitTorrent cryptocurrency fancies itself a way to handle that. Holders will eventually be able to use the token to buy content directly from its creator.
Real estate tokenization is one of the few ideas to emerge during the ICO boom which has had any staying power. Late last year, the first regulated company to issue real estate transfers on the blockchain appeared in the form of the Swiss company blockimmo. Other efforts are also in the works, like AirSwap, who are working on tokenizing the New York real estate market.
LA Token was initially an effort at enabling the tokenization of any asset, from a Rolex to an apartment. Similar projects are sure to emerge, as the idea of “putting it on the blockchain” becomes more commonplace and younger entrepreneurs take the reins.
Schroeder does make one valid point: people too close to the pulse of cryptocurrency have been burned and will continue to get hurt in the future. Miners and speculators will always be subject to the booms and busts of the industry. As Schroeder says:
“In the 1800’s it was not always the gold miners who thrived. But the people who sold picks and shovels did. In the early days of the internet, it was not the multitude of startups that were rewarded. Most failed. But the builders of web infrastructure and internet technology thrived. Don’t confuse the adoption of Bitcoin as a digital currency with the enormous potential for blockchain technology.”
Not everyone believes that the blockchain has uses beyond the simple “storing of value.” Despite successful adoptions of decentralized ledgers, people like Jimmy Song consistently denigrate any such efforts as wasteful at best. He recently placed a massive bet with ConsenSys CEO Joseph Lubin. Decentralized applications will never be broadly adopted, Song argues.
As an industry, blockchain technology is only growing. Most major banks have some attachment to it at this point, and governments around the world are looking at ways the blockchain can help them interact with their subjects, including e-voting.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.