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    45 Things We Must Do To Make Blockchain Better

    Blockchain is here to stay. Here is what we need to do to make it better.

    Blockchain is the underlying technology behind cryptocurrency. It is a decentralized, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.

    While Blockchain was invented for Bitcoin, the Blockchain technology has created a torrent of new applications in industries like healthcare, music, auto, and AI.

    The technology is extremely promising. It has the potential to improve millions of lives. But because it is new, like anything new, there is room for improvement.

    I reached out to 45 Blockchain leaders, who shared with me their top concerns that need to be addressed in order to improve Blockchain.

    I hope you find this this useful, and that it may inspire some of the necessary improvements.

    Absolutely no filter

    There is absolutely no filter on what kind of start-ups are being bolted onto a blockchain and thrust in front of a non-critical public. In a normal angel or VC situation a lot of thought goes into each and every cash transactions. The total crap is filtered out. People are not treating their cryptocurrency like its real money and are indiscriminately flinging funds at anything. Right now, a nice looking ham sandwich could have a successful token sale. - Marcie D Terman, Founder of First Global Credit and AICoin

    Define the use cases

    Like all emerging technologies, it is critical that we define the use cases that Blockchain can address — it’s best to start small and expand from there. - Lidia L. Fonseca, SVP at Quest Diagnostics

    Incumbent industries

    Incumbent industries unwilling to be distrusted (eg taxi companies against Uber) - Crystal Rose Founder and CEO of SENSE


    Politics Constructive challenges of incredible minds are the seeds of great development and advances in technology. But wrestling matches played in the Twitter arena destroy value and souls. Let’s be truly fearless: open-minded, flexible, and willing to experiment. In that environment, innovation thrives. - Jess Houlgrave Co-Founder and COO of Codex Protocol

    The blockchain is not navigable by anyone other than the technically proficient.

    Focus on Technical Proficiency. The user interfaces that we see most often today will not work for the blockchain of tomorrow. For the most part, the blockchain is not navigable by anyone other than the technically proficient. This is a solvable problem, but it needs to be focused on this year. Right now, the only intuitive onramp to the internet of value is Coinbase. - Emily Bush CEO of shEOS, and Co-founder of Verses

    We need to build in the capability to revoke or reverse actions


    Smart contracts, which run on blockchains, literally codify agreements, and self-execute. Humans are bad at forecasting the unknown and planning for contingencies; so we may need to build in the capability to revoke or reverse actions taken by smart contracts. - Camille Morhardt of Intel

    Bullies, trolls and haters


    Bullies, trolls and haters. Democracy means allowing all voices, and unfortunately many voices are negative. Sadly, it just comes with the territory of being transparent and decentralized. It’s the nasty underbelly of democracy. - Pamela Day, CEO of Paladin Trust

    Became a Religion

    Religion vs. pragmatism: Many in blockchain and crypto are motivated to apply the innovation in constructive, pragmatic ways — we’re building businesses to improve lives. There is, however, a vocal minority motivated by ideology and politics — crypto is a religion to them. The danger is these folks wage holy wars, spreading misinformation about any technology or approach that’s not their religion. And it’s crazy but these folks carry influence in the industry and with press. Point being — check your sources before you believe what you hear or read. - Monica Long, Senior Vice President at Ripple


    Misunderstanding. The industry popped up quickly with an immense amount of hype. A lot of people outside of the space have the misunderstanding that industry is just about replacing fiat currency, when it’s really about technology. There’s a lot of educating we need to do. - Nicole Boyar Founder of Rare Species

    Keeping the same old power structure

    Keeping the same old power structure — We have the opportunity to create a new power structure, but as we can see by some examples like the North American Bitcoin Conference held in Miami, where 85 of the 88 slots for presenters were assigned to men, and the official afterparty was held at a strip club, we could end up with the same old oppressive power structure as ever before. - Audrey Chaing, Founder of Blockchaing

    Financial institution envy

    Financial institution envy. We need banks and other financial institutions to work with the industry to ensure true adoption. Many are working with technologies such as Ripple, but we need to encourage synergy. Bitcoin and other decentralized projects can of course exist in line with centralized projects and traditional banks — it’s just about educating both the consumer and institutional market on crypto’s many benefits. - Elizabeth White, CEO of The White Company

    Inadequate storage

    Inadequate storage — One of blockchain’s biggest benefits is that transactions don’t disappear. The challenge is that all of this data needs to be stored. As a result, businesses will need to spend large amounts of money recruiting rare, valuable blockchain architects — and SMBs might not be able to match offers from tech conglomorates. - Lauren Maffeo of GetApp

    Price speculation


    Price speculation — a lot of folks have gained significant amounts of wealth by trading cryptocurrencies. Many of these individuals do not care about the technology, but rather are using it as a get rich quick vehicle. Unfortunately, because crypto markets are so nascent, they lack a lot of the safeguards that traditional financial markets have put in place. The practice of pump and dump, where the price of a cryptocurrency is artificially inflated by spreading inaccurate information, plagues crypto markets. “Whales” (big money investors) have the ability to immensely influence prices, and in fact many people believe that the “Crypto Christmas” of 2017 when bitcoin skyrocketed to $20,000 was a result of price speculation and whale influence. Price speculation and market manipulation is a threat to the public’s confidence in cryptocurrency as well as the success of blockchain projects that rely on a steady cryptocurrency price for their network’s usage. - Rika Sukenik, Product Manager at ConsenSys

    Dumb experts

    Too many people who don’t know much about the technology now claim to be experts. - Founder and CEO of Loyela Protocol

    No expert - we’re all learning together

    Blockchain and crypto technologies present us with a new canvas to build businesses. There is no such thing as an “expert” — we’re all learning together to create new ways and means of doing business and more. - Jennifer Fader, Founder of Bring in Fader

    People want to cut corners

    People wanting to cut corners. Whether evading the law or launching ICOs with just vaporware, this is making it more difficult for everyone. Too many investors out there are holding useless crypto assets as a result. - Sally Khudairi of OptDyn and VP at The Apache Software Foundation

    Security of interconnected devices

    Interconnected devices. While exciting that a network of interconnected devices can interact, the scary part is around security. - Judy Fainor, Chief Architect at Sparta Systems

    Lost Tokens

    Lost Tokens — ensuring micro-economy stability when single user holding millions/billions dies or loses access - Anna Fridman, Co-Founder and General Counsel at Spring Labs

    Technical terms and jargon

    Technical terms and jargons, which make people difficult to understand the technology. - Peko Wan of Pundi X

    Focus on the monetary returns, as opposed to building core technology

    Because blockchain is still early, and although we’re excited about the potential for blockchain technology to change the foundation and applications of how we share and store data, most players in the blockchain space have been primarily focused on the monetary returns, as opposed to building core technology and a business. This has caused the spread of illicit companies monetizing solely on white papers. - Ke Xu Founder and CEO of ONO

    Perception that bitcoin and blockchain are synonymous


    People think that bitcoin and blockchain are synonymous - right now, after bitcoin hit its current peak late 2017 early 2018, it is still in a slump. I have a strong belief in the underlying technology, but I think a lot of people think that bitcoin and blockchain are synonymous and that just isn’t the case. However, because people think this, they feel that the value and therefore feasibility of blockchain is tied to bitcoin’s price, and this is unfair. I think that there still needs to be a lot of education towards people so that they can better understand blockchain. - Renee Wang , CEO of CastBox

    Market reverberates to the news cycle

    News: Like a tuning fork, the market reverberates to the global news cycle. - Chitra Ragavan, Chief Strategy Officer of Gem

    Cause some jobs to become obsolete


    Blockchain will definitely cause some jobs to become obsolete, but the technology will also help to create many new jobs that we cannot even picture now. To align job seekers with the new jobs that will be created, the education system will need to evolve, to provide practical training for youth so they will be ready for this change. - Mihriban Ersin Tekmen COO of Colendi

    Cashing out process

    The cashing out process can be perfected and made easier. - Jamie Roberts Chief Communications Officer at PeerTracks / MUZ Blockchain

    Valuable projects are underpriced but many bizarre cryptocurrencies are worth huge sums

    I think valuable projects are underpriced. Many of these bizarre cryptocurrencies are worth huge sums, even though they probably shouldn’t be. - Kathrine Olson Co-founder of Vevue


    Criminals using of the anonymous nature of some blockchains to fund crime and ultimately cause the suffering of others. Criminals saw the potential of cryptocurrencies very early on, with sites such as the Silk Road trading in Bitcoin years before the average person on the street had heard of it. It worries me to think that these innovative technologies might represent an opportunity for criminals to cause harm, though I also feel that the blame should be placed squarely on the offenders, and not the tech itself. - Grace Wong, Co-Founder Of Liven

    Patriarchal Thinking

    Worry #1 through 1000 is that the people primarily making crypto things, and receiving the support necessary to continue making them because of bias baked into the current system, are deeply entrenched in patriarchal thinking, such that they’re the fish and it’s the water, and that this will continue to perpetuate a lot of the old problems. - Rachel Cook, Founder and CEO of Seeds

    Government Stalling


    The government stalling innovation. What we’re witnessing at this time is governments pushing back and stalling innovation. Any disruptive ideas, thoughts, or products entering an outdated industry is going to create fear of losing control. In the case of blockchain, the disruption will affect just about every industry on the planet. It will take time for government officials, regulators, and businesses to learn the benefits and impact of the blockchain. At ShipChain, we aim to work in partnership to help initiate change. - Cherie Aimée, Director of Communications at ShipChain

    Fixed mindset in organizations

    Mindset in organizations. Not all standard companies are capable of adopting blockchain. Perhaps they work on old-fashioned systems and organizational structures, therefore the implementation of blockchain may be slow and difficult. - Mirta Jarnjak, CMO at Sophia TX

    Afraid of association

    At times I am afraid to be associated with projects that don’t have the best intentions — and that becomes especially relevant when I am asked to be on advisory board of ICOs. - Yael Tamar the founder at TopofBlockchain

    Widening the digital economy gap

    The fear of widening the digital economy gap especially in developing countries due to lack of access and education. - McKenzie Slaughter, Co-Founder of BeyondX

    Confusion between crypto and cryptography

    It is the evolution of cryptography. There’s often a confusion between crypto and cryptography. Crypto being cryptocurrency, and cryptography being the study of how to hide messages and secure computer systems. Cryptography dates back to Egyptian and Greek times and has been used throughout history. We have arrived at the next era for cryptography where we are working on the technology that will continue to preserve trust and privacy, which I believe are fundamental human rights. - Allison Clift-Jennings, CEO of Filament

    Mainstream media

    Mainstream media not giving cryptocurrency a fair chance. Misinformation and click bait titles are not helping educate people about blockchain. - Yaxi Zhu, Partner at GBIC

    The unknown


    The unknown. People by nature are distrustful of what they don’t understand. Blockchain is completely new and people are naturally hesitant of the unknown. But with research and learning, I believe it will become more and more familiar. Just like online banking was a slow adoption until people became more comfortable and familiar, I believe blockchain will follow a similar trajectory. - Heather James of Cook & James

    Inappropriate token-economics

    Inappropriate token-economics, Association with cryptocurrency, Misuse, Improper securing of endpoints, ICOs - Maryanne Morrow, CEO and Founder,

    Can’t ever delete data

    The fact that you can’t ever delete data once it’s on a blockchain - Jenn Lowther, Chief Marketing Officer at NetCents Technology

    Malicious authoritarian government hackers

    Malicious authoritarian government hackers - Layla Tabatabaie

    Environmental Impact

    Bengoode / Getty Images

    I am also concerned about the amount of energy particular cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin consume in order to mine or verify. While I am a huge proponent of the fact that cryptocurrencies are the future of the world’s financial state, I worry that through these advancements may come unintended consequences regarding our natural resources. - Joana Gutierrez, Founder and CEO of Meethappy

    Waste of computing power

    Current blockchain consensus mechanisms waste of lot of computing power. - Sabrina Chen Administrative Director at the MATRIX AI Network


    There is a massive amount of fraud surrounding ICOs and associated activities. Investors are getting ripped off, founders are getting lazy, advisors are earning compensation just for lending their name and retail investors are getting ripped off by pump and dump schemes. - Amy Wan, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Sagewise

    Some rules are not inefficiencies


    I am both looking forward to, and am concerned about, the disruption to the financial industry that DLT and cryptocurrencies could represent. There are many artificial monopolies and inefficiencies in the financial industry, and getting rid of those would benefit any economy. I am concerned that some of the things that people mistakenly think of as inefficiencies are actually rules put into place protect the economy, and the consumers who deal with the financial system. I don’t think anyone has a good plan yet on how to update the protective rules once you have a truly decentralized system in place. - Dr Gina C Pieters, Lecturer at the Economics Department at the University of Chicago

    Who’s in charge?


    Who’s in charge? Participating in a new peer to peer distributed network is a new concept for many. Whether you’re deciding between a public or permissioned network, or concerned about who holds the ‘final say’ in a blockchain consortium, or even broader questions of who’s involved in global regulatory oversight, there’s still a Wild Wild West element to blockchain. Questions on governance, more so than the technology itself, are slowing adoption. This is understandable when you are dealing with PI data or potentially sharing information with competitors. We’re making headway on both privacy with technology like identify mixer and zero knowledge proof (ZKP) as well as building out governance processes and trust anchors with a number of consortia who utilize IBM Blockchain, particularly in the banking and trade finance sectors. These founders are paving the way are providing good guidance for others as they explore new territory. - Marie Wieck, General Manager for IBM Blockchain

    The lack of real applications

    The lack of real applications and further traction, even for promising projects. - Alessandra Sollberger

    Separate utility, security, and commodity tokens

    We need to define the utility token and separate them from security and commodity tokens sooner than later because liquidity and token economies are important factors for this disruptive technology to survive and grow, funding itself. - Susan Akbarpour, CEO and co-founder of Mavatar Technologies

    Mistake that Crypto will replace cash

    People thinking Crypto will replace cash. I really don’t see Bitcoin replacing fiat currency — and definitely not the US Dollar. I think we need to characterize Bitcoin as a traditional commodity or as a member of an emerging new asset class. - Ayesha Kiani, Managing Director of Republic Crypto

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