The blockchain: a revolution requiring anticipation?

N°253b – Synopsis (8p.) – Foresight
The blockchain: a revolution requiring anticipation?
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Designed to secure transactions between peers, the blockchain offers huge possibilities that could rapidly revolutionize entire facets of the economy. How to get prepared for the opportunities—and the risks—of this technology?

The blockchain is perceived by many only as a new technology—yet another one. In fact, its potential for disruption is enormous.

This information storage and transmission technology was developed in 2008, as a reaction to the financial system crisis, in a climate of deep mistrust. Its creators had set as an objective to provide the technical means to restore trust between peers through a technology theoretically impossible to pirate or falsify.

To this day, its visible impacts have been limited to the financial services, essentially in the shape of the bitcoin creation, a virtual currency that escapes the management of central banks. But the blockchain could progressively touch numerous sectors of activity. Some applications in energy management are already in place. Others are about to emerge in the automobile and health-care sectors.

Admittedly, this is still an immature and very complex technology. It is thus tempting to postpone the time at which to deal with it, waiting for the landscape to clear and for a better understanding of how to deploy it. But the potential disruptions are such that it is better to prepare from now. It is really in our interest to wonder about three great types of possible impacts:

- New and vast means for entrepreneurship. The blockchain gives individuals tools that contribute to the entrepreneurship capability and to revenue generation. You can expect to rapidly see new entrants.

- The possibility to securely cooperate with more stakeholders. The blockchain makes it much easier and safer to exchange and share resources, be it with neighbors or complete strangers.

- Breakthrough innovations that cannot be imagined today. The possibilities offered by the blockchain combined with other emerging technologies enable – or even require – imagining radically innovative business models.

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