Atheneum Team - Interviews

What The Future Looks Like And How Blockchain Runs It

-by Brian E. De Mint | CMO, Atheneum

You will know blockchain has “made it” when no one realizes they are even using it. Does the average internet user realize that Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is what enables them to browse Facebook or buy a new Instant Pot pressure cooker on Amazon? Highly doubtful. The early days of the internet were clunky and could only be navigated by those that saw its potential and were willing to embrace the growing pains.

It’s far too commonplace to hear current “adopters” of blockchain gripe about the price of their favorite coin in a bear market. These individuals are not true adopters. They are speculators. True adopters are those who realize that although history makes innovation appear to happen overnight, it requires patience. Most adopters will not realize the exact moment that digital assets become totally ubiquitous. They will simply look back one day and realize that the world has become more efficient, transparent and equitable. Blockchain will have been adopted and even those looking at it under a microscope may not realize it happened.

Blockchain will impact every area of commerce and maybe even beyond. Much like the way that very few people in 1990 could have envisioned utilities of the internet that we have today, we likely cannot wrap our heads around businesses and uses that will develop 10 years from now because of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. Did anyone in 1990 assume that you could stream an endless supply of music from your phone? How could anyone in 1990 predict that millions of people would spend hours per day scrolling through pictures of their friends on a phone?

Although we must be humble enough to know that we do not understand all of the ways that blockchain will revolutionize the future, we can still dream and attempt to look around corners. Those that look toward the future are the ones that tend to benefit the most from innovation. So, we owe it to ourselves to try and wrap our minds around possible innovations on the horizon. Here are a few fun concepts for what the future could hold:

CONCEPT #1: The Blockchain Uber. Some say that the Uber and Lyft business model is something truly original. Others say that ride sharing is simply the next evolution of the Taxi industry. Either way, blockchain provides yet another step forward in this domain. If blockchain has the ability to solve three-party problems aka, removing the need for centralized for-profit entities then ride sharing is in serious danger of massive disruption.

Currently, Uber takes a 25% cut of all rides shared on its platform. By today’s standard this is a great model. By tomorrow’s blockchain standard, it is antiquated. Dencentralized ride sharing apps will allow ride-seekers and drivers to be paired directly — removing the need for a 25% royalty to Uber. What is the impact here? Driver’s will be able to treat their car as their own business.

This means that they can dictate their price. They can charge a premium, or, to be competitive, they could drop their price. They could drop their price by 15% from what it is currently with Uber and still make a 10% larger margin. Supply and demand economics would dictate that when prices drop, volumes go up. For drivers, this translates into more fares at higher margins. For consumers this means lower prices. For Uber, this means trouble.

CONCEPT #2: The Blockchain Yelp. Have you ever talked to a business owner about their feelings toward Yelp? If you haven’t yet, please do. It’s quite entertaining. I deal with entrepreneurs on a daily basis and even companies that have a perfect 5 star rating will air their grievances against Yelp. Why? Yelp claims to filter and promote reviews algorithmically but the general consensus among business owners is that Yelp gives preference to some businesses over others. While that would be less questionable if it were a non-profit platform, their transparency and reliability get brought into question because of the fact that they are a for profit company that highly emphasizes paid advertising for listings on their site. Additionally, they are a publicly traded company that is beholden to shareholders.

You may already be able to see the solution now that you have been presented with the problem: blockchain provides a ledger of transparent, reliable, verifiable and immutable data that operate in a trustless framework. These same qualities just so happen to be the problem areas for review sites like Yelp. A blockchain-powered review site would enable consumers to reliably seek information regarding businesses that they are vetting. This would reward businesses that have integrity and good business practices instead of elevating businesses that are willing to pay for advertising on the platform.

CONCEPT #3: Serial Entrepreneurs Owning And Operating Masternodes.There will come a time when the masses of so-called HODLers of today will no longer hold digital assets as speculative investments. Sure, there will always be those that day trade and keep ETF investments based upon cryptocurrencies, but the days of holding an asset like Bitcoin will become less exciting when it bounces between $100,000 and $100,005 in a week.

So what does the future of investing look like? Many investors not only want to make money but they want to use their capital for the good of society. Some people invest in businesses to provide jobs. Others invest in companies to innovate new products that make our lives better. But what if you could open your own investment business where instead of holding real estate, you held and operated Masternodes. These masternodes would power the platforms of tomorrow. Your investment would earn dividends, sure, but your capital would also move the gears of commerce.

The blockchain versions of Yelp and Uber, along with every other new decentralized concept, will need governance. These Masternode operators will provide that service. Furthermore, proof of stake blockchains will enable anyone, rich or poor to invest in this infrastructure. Being tomorrow’s version of a Venture Capitalist will not be reserved for the ultra wealthy. The equitable nature of blockchain will allow anyone to participate in this new enhanced and more level version of capitalism.

CONCEPT #4: The smart resume. Have you ever considered the inefficiencies of resumes? Today’s resume is certainly not dynamic. It includes your general education information, applicable work history and, if you really want to add some flare, you can list your personal strengths. As someone that looks over resumes on a weekly basis for hiring, I find myself increasingly frustrated with how poorly a resume helps me understand the capabilities of a potential hire.

Here’s an interesting exercise for you: look at your resume and ask yourself whether or not it accurately describes how informed, educated and capable you are. My guess is that it does not even come close. For example, does your high school diploma or college degree define the true breadth of your knowledge? No. How many books, articles, and blogs have you read? How many podcasts, webinars and documentaries have you consumed? All of those have given you a deeper perspective and knowledge base that simply is not reflected by today’s resume.

As we have seen, blockchain will power all sorts of interesting concepts that will make our future brighter. As it pertains to resumes, blockchain has enabled the Atheneum team to develop the world’s first DALO (Decentralized Autonomous Learning Organization). One of the principle benefits of a decentralized learning platform that utilizes blockchain is the added benefit of immutable and transparent record keeping.

This DALO enables the pioneering of a concept called PoL (Proof of Learning). This is where the smart resume begins to come into focus. PoL is actually a fairly simply concept: anything that is learned on the Atheneum platform gets recorded to the PoL Atheneum ledger. Users can grant access to hiring managers to show a much more dynamic education record.

Maybe you’re applying for a job at a political news website and your Bachelor’s Degree in journalism is the minimum requirement for the position you want. You better believe that everyone applying for that position has the same degree that you do. But, what if you could also show the hiring manager that you have 100 hours of political science lectures under your belt along with three additional certifications in geo-political history? Your much more precise and dynamic resume could be the difference between you getting your dream job or not.

In conclusion, it is safe to say that the future of blockchain is looking bright. The problems that we envision blockchain solving are some pretty significant ones, but the blockchain concepts that we cannot yet envision could be even more beneficial for society. Keep looking forward.

Brian E. De Mint | CMO, Atheneum