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Blockchain: It’s a solution; now what’s the problem?

I felt compelled to write something about the so-called Blockchain hype that we’re seeing today and to provide an alternative viewpoint.

It’s a buzzword dominating the BFSI world and beyond and is seen as some form of saviour to a lot of different problems that exist today. The pros & cons have been well documented, either in white papers, articles, blogs or discussed at many global conferences. The intention of this post wasn’t to document these specifically or to describe what Blockchain is and how it works.

I am not a hardcore technology person by any means, but I understand the benefits of using Blockchain technologies and the varying use cases they could be applied to. I attended Indian Blockchain Week recently in Mumbai, a fascinating event in which I was surrounded by passionate entrepreneurs, industry experts and businesses showcasing the good work they’re doing with the technology.

We all know the benefits of what Blockchain technology can offer and the known barriers to a successful global adoption across the many industry verticals. Time will tell as to whether we move ahead from proof-of-concept (PoC) stage, small point solutions developed regionally to a fully global commercial roll-out.

What comes first, the problem or the solution?

I am a big believer in applying technology to solve problems that exist today, as a product guy that is engrained in my DNA. However, we can occasionally get carried away and overthink where we don’t necessarily need to. The general feeling I’ve developed over the last 18 months or so, given my involvement is that the majority believe that many different types of Blockchain can solve all of their problems. This is a common trap to fall into.

Problem statements are important

It’s really important to fully understand the known problems affecting consumers and businesses today. As someone who builds product strategies and solutions, I am forever questioning and asking myself – is this a genuine problem for a consumer/business today?

Common trap

It’s very easy to apply a form of emerging technology to deal with problems that exist in industry but the process needs to be flipped around. The simple steps I tend to follow are:

  • Fully understand the problem you’re trying to address using whatever methodologies required.
  • Build your use cases once you’re fully satisfied you have a problem statement worth pursuing.
  • Apply the correct technology to address that problem – it may not require a Blockchain remember that.

It’s a common theme I have seen across the industry, it’s also very easy to use technology to try and fix problems that aren’t really a problem or don’t necessarily exist in the real world. All that is needed is a change in thinking, approach and constantly questioning yourself.

Comments: (3)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 29 September, 2017, 20:331 like 1 like

Good post. From my experience in B2B technology marketing, the mere introduction of technology can (a) catalyze a change in thinking and approach that wouldn't happen without the technology and (b) lead otherwise inert people to suddenly question themselves. Obviously this happens only with a small fraction of technologies. In my three decades in the technology space, it has happened with ERP, Web 2.0, and Cloud and has not happened with Social Networking, Mobility, etc. I strongly suspect Blockchain will belong to the first category. But only time will tell.

Kunal Patel
Kunal Patel - GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group) - London, United Kingdom 02 October, 2017, 18:19Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes Thanks Ketharaman. Agreed.
A Finextra member
A Finextra member 03 October, 2017, 08:56Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Nice article Kunal, I agree it's tempting to get dazzled by a technology as novel as blockchain yet it's important to step back and objectively assess whether it's apt for a particular use case