It is fascinating to watch nation states and institutions of all varieties grapple with the development of blockchain technology. Those who have bothered to look see it as an enormous opportunity and an enormous threat and they are still developing their personality relative to how to deal with these a conflicting challenges.
If corralled correctly this technology could leapfrog nations and corporations ahead of rivals, but it could also lead to significant weakening of their power or business model. Of course they will want the benefits, but they will not want to give up the power/revenue they currently enjoy. This week we saw one nation (China) and one corporation (JP Morgan) struggling with this conflict.
China is very heavily aware that ‘Blockchain’s future is China’s future’. In December 2016 China released an information strategy setting out how important blockchain is and how China intends to take a leading role in its development. Yet this week they (temporarily?) banned initial coin offerings.
JP Morgan is an active member of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance and recently announced that they are in a partnership with Zcash that will add Zcashs’ privacy technology to Quorum, an enterprise blockchain platform that JPMorgan is building on Ethereum. Then this week JP Morgan CEO says bitcoin is a fraud and will be closed.
I think people are trying to separate blockchain from bitcoin and crypto-currnencies. It is true that the technology is more than just crypto-currency and can be looked at separately, however to think that it is possible to have one without the other is like trying to un-mix a gin and tonic.
Like a new baby trying to struggle into its skin, the action of China and JP Morgan this week were jerky, uncertain and unpredictable. But like a baby also, we know there will be many bumps along the way to maturity. The blockchain baby is less than 10 years old and it is certain to grow up, those nations and institutions who provide the most nurturing environment for this baby will be the powerhouses of the future.