Glen: Your 2020 TEDx talk on “How Digital Assets are Changing the Future of ‘Value’” gave a great historical perspective, from 1400s Florence to vinyl/CDs and cryptokitties, and the blurring of lines between physical and virtual. Will your talk at Fintech South build on those themes?
Roop: I’m glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed creating it- each TEDx talk is an adventure in itself.
I’ve been asked to open the blockchain track on the first day of Fintech South, which is a pleasure and an honor. We’ll look at the past year of trends in this space and what might we expect in the future, as soon as next year. To me, we are in the second innings of blockchain’s evolution and adoption. This last year has been unprecedented globally, at all levels – geopolitically, business, individually. We’ll explore the key highlights- the shining stars, if you will- in the blockchain sector, if I may call it that, and look at areas of intersection between blockchain and fintech. We’ll then chart a course for the future year and blockchain role in it. As we inch towards a post-pandemic era, now is the time to build state-of-the-art products, resilient infrastructure, and innovative companies, and emerge as a better society. I believe blockchain has a central and, in fact, a driving role in shaping that new world. We’ll also relate insights from my upcoming book.
Glen: Tell us more about your book.
Roop: “Prophets in Chaos. Blockchain Strategy to Sow and Survive Disruption”– it’s been a long time coming. Blockchain has been hyped yet often misunderstood. My book explores a futurist blockchain-driven world and how to navigate it. I provide business leaders practical frameworks to wield blockchain as a strategic tool to either create or survive the inevitable disruption knocking on their doors. It also explores key themes sweeping this space. We cover a lot of ground, exploring blockchain as a foundational technology as a backdrop to either creating or surviving disruption. It includes everything from blockchain fundamentals to architecture design, tokenization, digital assets, private currencies, identity, privacy, ecosystems, governance, innovation and eventually business models and our society’s values. One of the key questions in my mind early on was “what does one need to learn” to wield “Blockchain Strategy” beyond merely technical know-how. The book distills learnings from my executive education Blockchain Strategy for Business Leaders program. It’s a comprehensive multi-disciplinary curriculum. We take business leaders from blockchain curiosity to awareness to understanding blockchain strategy and innovations to deploying pilots with Blockchain use cases.
Glen: Why did you decide to write this book?
Roop: There are plenty of words written about “Blockchain”- plenty of headlines, articles and books. Plenty of speeches, podcasts and videos have been dedicated to exploring the miracle of blockchain. Yet, in my conversations with executives, VCs, marketers, professors, and students, there appeared to be a hazy, often limited picture of blockchain’s transformative potential. It often didn’t translate into practical action on the ground. Why was that?
- People have only a surface level awareness of a few dimensions of this truly multi-dimensional field.
- The team’s technical knowledge of “how” had not yet converted into a “why” for a blockchain use case.
- The pace of innovation is high in this space, making it challenging to keep up with all the new toys.
- People tended to gravitate towards a few use cases they could relate to; In-depth understanding of blockchain as a foundational technology was lacking.
- People hadn’t jumped a few fundamental intellectual hurdles to appreciate the simplistic beauty in front of their eyes.
- Some executives were stuck looking at blockchain from their comfortable prism of the current state – of technology, business processes, governance, values- rather than the lens of ‘how this current state will become obsolete.’
- Skepticism was rampant, as it should be about emerging technologies. Yet skeptics used words jujutsu to make their apples-to-airplanes comparisons, further confusing an earnest learner. The proverbial record on a few myths and misconceptions needed to be set right.
Glen: Thanks- I’m looking forward to reading the book, and hearing more of your thoughts at Fintech South.
Roop Singh is the founder of Intuit Factory, a blockchain business strategy consulting and education firm. He designed and teaches the executive program “Blockchain Strategy for Business Leaders.” He’s also the founding co-chair of Technology Association of Georgia’s new blockchain society. You can sign up at Intuitfactory.com to receive updates for his upcoming book “Prophets in Chaos. Blockchain Strategy to Sow and Survive Disruption.”