[InnoVEX 2018 Forum] Blockchain and the Future

 2018-09-07 By: InnoVEX Team

The blockchain panel of InnoVEX 2018 discusses the "Blockchain Applications that are Shaping Your Future". This session is moderated by Sean Moss-Pultz of Bitmark; with speakers: Pochang Wu of KKFarm and Ed Deng of Health2Sync.

Why is Blockchain Not a Fad?

There has been an ongoing debate on whether blockchain is a fad, but all 3 speakers seem to believe that it is in fact not a fad. Mr. Deng believes blockchain is solving real problems in terms of controllability, access rights, and automation for personal health data. In his opinion, blockchain is here to stay; especially because blockchain resolves trust issues between organizations, whether organizations or countries. The added benefit is that the procedures are done without intermediaries and the data in blockchain cannot be altered. There are also many businesses that have already utilized blockchain to replace traditional IT systems and technicians to host trustworthy data. In other words, blockchain can potentially solve the issue of trust across borders and institutions.

Mr. Wu said that in a few years' time; cryptocurrencies, ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), and blockchain as a technology may become as conventional as the internet. At that moment, blockchain is the only available technology that can properly monetize the internet. The reason is because blockchain can secure assets, properties, money, and ownership. By utilizing blockchain, "money of internet" can be achieved. He believes that blockchain and its applications are not fads, but the hype surrounding it and its applications might be fads.

He said that the music industry has their own investment thesis which is that they want to enable creators to control their own rights. For now, only blockchain can achieve this thesis and give the creators to control their licensing rights & gain payment from the users. Blockchain can be seen as form of public database and a distributed open database is necessary.

Mr. Moss-Pultz commented that blockchain offers internet wide data communication, but allows for maintenance of trust between the data recipients and source. The main advantage over conventional internet data transfer is that blockchain users do not need to trust the intermediaries to host the data.

What New Opportunities Does Blockchain Enable Your Business?

In the healthcare industry, blockchain can be leveraged to collect data from patients and research results from institutions such as the pharma industry and insurance companies to create better and more affordable insurance premiums. The end result from this is more value and services to the users. Blockchain enables a personal health data exchange that comes with consent from the users. The user will control and issue their consent in regards to the data; but a personal health data exchange will allow partners to get involved and bring better value to the service. The data can be used to fuel AI systems in healthcare. If AI and blockchain were to be combined, there is a chance to reduce the instances of malpractice while at the same time increase efficiency.

In the music industry, blockchain makes building a new form of business model possible. Mr. Wu believes blockchain is a good choice of technology to build infrastructure. Now there exists a need to try to invent a new business model from the application side. The first step is to tokenize copyright so the creators can share the copyrights' ownership with their fans, investors, and supporters to do their jobs. Once the copyright has been tokenized, the fans will have more incentive to share or promote the creators and their work; making a positive cycle for the industry.

There are many other possible business models for the music industry; however the aim is not to disrupt the existing industry or system. The current system is generally fine, but faces a bottleneck where new business models are necessary so that new creators can get new revenue streams and fans from the new ecosystem.

Empowering People to Own Their Rights Essentially Means Giving Them Control of Your Business. What is the Competitive Advantage of Handing People Their Data?

Mr. Deng stated that his business is not in storing data, but providing services. By leveraging blockchain, it will enable the ecosystem to grow faster. Because the users trust the tools and mechanisms, they will feel less reluctant in giving their data. Though this might be unthinkable several years ago, current technological advances have encouraged institutions and governments to return data ownership to the individual citizens.

According to Mr. Wu, if anyone can access data, the content usage will increase. This will motivate people to invest in the content. In addition, the new infrastructure also opens new business opportunities, talent resourcing, and streaming & video services.

Why is Blockchain and the Adoption of Blockchain Good for Taiwan? What Does Blockchain Represent for Taiwan?

Mr. Deng stated that Taiwan and Japan are actually the best places to start blockchain adoption as both are 2 of the most digitized countries in terms of personal health data. As a result, there is a huge amount of digital data. The problem is the data is stored in separate systems and not all of them are interconnected to serve the users. The positive aspect is that digital therapies can be prescribed to patients following the data gained or collected via blockchain. This will be an opportunity for new industries such as digital therapy or software as a medical device.

Mr. Wu said that because Taiwan is a small island, Taiwan's natural resources are not abundant. Taiwan's strong hardware industry has also faced challenges over the last few years and the innovations now generally come from software. This means a greater emphasis must be given to software, soft skills, and from there utilize the people's talents as best as possible. He believes that blockchain's decentralized nature fits Taiwan well because it can create new business models that can extend the reaches and scale of Taiwanese businesses beyond the local market and conduct business with the world. "This is a rare opportunity that doesn't happen often, so I think we must seize it." – He stated.

After the panel discussion ended, members of the audience were invited to join the Q&A session.

What Criteria Should Startups or Founders Consider when Selecting Platforms for Their Projects?

Mr. Wu stated that the blockchain platform selected depends on the requirements or needs of the projects. For example, there are many platforms that support smart contracts, but all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. People will need to work with the existing platforms that fit their requirements best.

Due to the nature of his industries, Mr. Deng prefers platforms that offer robust solutions and had gone through institutional review boards. He shared that often times the issue is not the technology, but the intricacies of the ecosystem.

Is Blockchain A Viable Solution to Protecting Voting Rights?

This question was answered by Mr. Moss-Pultz who expressed that voting will be the last viable application of blockchain. The reason is because the current short term benefits offered by blockchain are in transactions. However, this does not translate well to voting because it facilitates vote selling. In the future, blockchain can be used to count votes, but currently it might be too early to tell.

Have You Observed Any Instances in Which Users Abuse the Blockchain Enabled Systems in Your Respective Industries? Do You Have Any Safeguards Against Them?

Mr. Deng suggested that the system abuse will come not as a result of the technology, but as a result of the services made possible by the technology. Different system misuses have different solutions, so a cookie cutter safeguard might be impossible to create. For example, if users were to upload false data, the system must have precautions to compare the entry benchmarks and track data.

Mr. Wu stated that user generated system abuse will be easy to do, especially in a decentralized system. One of the safeguards he suggested was already implemented in the Muzeum protocol. It essentially allows all users in the platform to validate data, but the original creator will need to choose which ones they trust. In a decentralized world, he suggested everyone be responsible for their own choice.

Watch the full panel discussion here:

More Blockchain Insights in the InnoVEX Blockchain Saloon 2018

The InnoVEX team will host an event discussing AI in 2018. We will invite speakers to hold a panel discussion on its applications in logistics and more. More information will be announced on our Facebook and Twitter pages.