This week London is hosting Blockchain Tech World conference, which is dedicated to the promotion and adoption of decentralized ledger technologies across all industries. U.S. based CNC Blockchain Advisory is bringing its unique solutions and expertise to the table. CNC Blockchain’s founding CEO John Riley III will explain to influencers how to prepare for early adoption of blockchain technologies – including revamping business processes, roadmaps and legacy systems. We caught up with John before his presentation on Wednesday.
John, during your presentations you refer to Blockchain as the “global phenomena”. Could you explain what you mean by that?
We should really be looking at Blockchain at a global level – what different countries are doing. For instance, the Australian government is already backing this technology. So, we should be asking the question: “How do you get it into our infrastructure, how do you set the standard?” A lot of people are looking at Australia and monitoring what they are implementing in terms of adopting Blockchain. We should be also looking at countries like Estonia. They already have medical records on blockchain, for instance. And other things as well.
We could be looking at emerging markets, such as Africa. There is a healthcare project there, for instance, where refugees’ health records get put on blockchain so that organizations such as Doctors Across Borders can have them in their system and these records cannot be manipulated by governments. In the US, often we don’t notice “small things”, so to speak – we don’t feel the impact… but when you cannot go back to your country and you are a refugee – I think it is great to have a medical record that stays with you no matter where you go. It is a big thing. So, examples like this one put things in perspective and show us who is adopting Blockchain faster than others.
CNC Blockchain Advisory has been presenting at many IoT events around the globe. What brings you to these forums and why are they important for your company – since your focus is on blockchain technologies?
Blockchain complements a lot of various fields, and IoT is one of them. In the IoT sector, a lot of people are complaining about the security of data. Now they are looking to be teaming up with blockchain specialists to help secure data from all these smart devices. Being able to get all those transactions recorded, having an audit trail, knowing that this data cannot be manipulated is certainly of value for the IoT industry professionals. So, there is a lot of talk about combining IoT and Blockchain. Since they are both emerging technologies, each one has its challenges. Remember when the Internet was only dial up and it tested our patience every time we had to connect via a modem? As it picked up speed, a lot of people started seeing value in it. And it is the same type of thing we are witnessing with the IoT and Blockchain. As we look at these technologies emerging together, everyone knows there are problems with them. However, Blockchain technologies are moving so fast that a lot of issues have already been addressed, for example, last year. Now people are looking how to combine, merge blockchain technologies with other fields, such as AI, IoT and others.
What other examples of successful use of blockchain technology did you see in your consulting practice and through research?
I was speaking at a conference at Florida Atlantic University recently, and a student told me that he was not focusing on blockchain until he heard me talk. He told me how he went to Israel with a lacrosse camp and had a knee injury. He had to undergo a surgery on the spot. So, he called his mother trying to get his medical file. The problem was that she could not get it for him on time – before he was due to have a surgery. And this guy told me: “If I only had my medical file on blockchain, I would not have that problem.”
So, for this guy and for billions of people around the world, the use of such technology could literally be lifesaving. And keep in mind, the student could have extracted just the information about his knee – if needed – and would not have to share the whole medical history, as it often happens now when doctors fax or mail these files. Blockchain also can help eliminate criminal acts when people sell your medical info for clinical trials without your knowledge. This new technology could help bring trust not only in healthcare, but in so many industries. It is disruptive and revolutionary.
What are the challenges you see in adopting blockchain technologies?
The main challenge is to change this whole legacy system and processes that has been in existence for so long. It is almost like muscle memory – people automatically think: “No, it does not feel right and this blockchain thing will not work for us.” These people need to learn the new way. And that is a hard shift. Another thing is that for new tech companies it is not easy to manage these innovative processes – we are all learning and trying to figure it out along the way. We have our ideas and insights, and we are contributing to implementing this technology. In the next 3-5 years we are going to witness more standardization of blockchain.
In my consulting practice I often ask people: “Why are you having these processes?” And often they respond by saying that “it has always been like that”. People don’t always think why they do what they do. Adopting change, especially when it comes to a new technology such as blockchain, is very challenging. And that is what we want to teach people and organizations to do.
A lot of people are skeptical about blockchain technology in general. What do you say to them?
There is this whole issue of trust with blockchain – that is true. For instance, for many people it is hard to comprehend how blockchain will eliminate intermediaries. They are used to, let’s say paying to a third party, for instance, to get their goods or services. Now we are telling them that buyers and suppliers can work directly because there is an audit trail attached to every transaction. Even if you cannot do this now, what if you could in the future? Eliminate the middleman and cut your costs by using smart contracts. Think how much money this could save to large companies and how it could help increase their ROI. The answer is obvious, once people begin thinking about it and listening to our presentations.