Offense versus Defense – ‘A’ Class CIO’s Evaluate the Impact of Blockchain Now

Blockchain is another example of an exponential hard trend that is becoming disruptive rather quickly. Not only are we seeing the projected influence of Blockchain in our daily lives, but the implications for its use in business are incredible.

I want to share with you a number of resources about Blockchain that I have found to be very interesting, but also groundbreaking for me. As an IT leader you must get a handle on this technology that has the potential to revolutionize, well, everything.

TED Talk: Blockchain 101

I recently stumbled across this TED Talk from Bettina Warburg, Blockchain researcher, entrepreneur, and educator. The reason I liked it so much, is because she does a great job of providing a clear and simple explanation of the blockchain technology, but also an insightful discussion of its transformative role in economic institutions.

Highlights from the TED Talk include:

  • Blockchain as a new technological institution to change how we exchange value
  • Blockchain as a decentralized database/registry of assets and transactions
  • Blockchain to lower uncertainty, and transform economic systems

After watching Bettina’s TED Talk, you will have a broader understanding of the basics of blockchain and its immense potential.

The Blockchain Revolution and IT Security

The best book I have read about blockchain recently is a synthesis of research, insights, and predications from 150 blockchain experts.

I had the privilege of interviewing co-author Alex Tapscott of Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World for my podcast series, and we had a very engaging discussion about his book, and blockchain in general.

We talked about blockchain’s ability to completely re-architect IT Security, and how the technology has so far proven to be basically un-hackable.

Here is part of my discussion with Alex about blockchain and its implications for IT Security:

If you’re a business leader, let’s say that you’re a CIO, this technology is going to impact every single business unit within your organization, but it’s also going to affect the underlying architecture of your organization.

If you think about the role of the CIO, a CIO’s job, among other things, is to make decisions on behalf of the entire enterprise. An enterprise is much more than a collection of different business units. It is a complex organism that requires a system-based thinking. You need to think about re-architecting your whole firm based on the blockchain.

One good example of that would be on security. There’s never been a computer system that has proven itself un-hackable. That’s true for Yahoo! and LinkedIn, but it’s also true for things like the NSA. If the NSA can’t secure its computer systems, what hope does the average corporate CIO have? This technology has the potential to change how you not only move value, but also how you store information of value.

[Blockchain] thus far has proven itself basically un-hackable…Compared to every other system that we’ve had thus far to store, move, and manage value and information of value, it’s proven to be a far better option. [Blockchain] will not only improve the responsiveness and efficiency of organizations, but also the security of organizations because you will have a system for moving that value that is much better than what we have today.

The implications of this technology are honestly incredible, and you would be amazed to find out about all of the different areas of our lives it can completely transform. In my podcast with (will add link after podcast is published), we get into discussing these other areas, and Alex does a great job of providing very in depth practical examples that are super interesting.

Blockchain and the CIO: A New Model for IT

I completely agree that A New Model for IT is emerging with blockchain’s ever increasing presence in the IT world. In this model written by the authors of Blockchain Revolution, CIO’s are critically important. The following quotes I couldn’t agree with more:

“The most important emerging technology for the enterprise – and therefore the CIO – is not big data, the social web, artificial intelligence, robotics, or the cloud – it’s blockchain.”

“A new model for the IT function is emerging – one that makes the CIO more important than ever. Call it the ‘blockchain services market.’ Here’s how it works: the CIO anticipates business needs and provides a rich supply of services, from standards for blockchain application development and architecture – compliant applications, to elite talent with expertise in blockchain architecture and development – all in the ‘shelves’ of a supermarket.

The business customer goes to the supermarket – a self-service portal or catalogue – and pulls up the available services. They choose the services, the level of service required, and combines them to meet their technology needs.”

The analogy of the ‘blockchain services market’ is clever, yet very true. CIO’s need to be taking the necessary steps toward readying their blockchain markets. This article provides suggestions of ways you can start stocking your shelves today.

“Personal use of this technology is a precondition to comprehension. Get a digital wallet on your mobile phone and buy something with digital currencies.

Takes steps to ensure you are informed about the blockchain revolution.

Hire or transition key blockchain IT talent to get going.

Initiate a next-generation blockchain architecture project. Every firm will need a target architecture and a migration strategy so that new investments contribute to a desired future, rather than perpetuating the past.

Launch a pilot where your company can learn, gain experience and make initial successes. Think big, but start small.”

Blockchain as a Ledger for Everything

The reason Blockchain is thought to be such an impactful technology is because of its potential application in almost any industry. This article from Forbes refers to Blockchain as a ‘Ledger of Things’ that has the ability to “track everything, ensure its reliability, and pay for its contribution.”

I love this concept of blockchain’s ability to secure everything. This article perfectly describes blockchain’s ability to be a ledger for everything, while still keeping valuable data safe and secure.

“Blockchain is a vast, global distributed ledger or database running on millions of devices and open to anyone, where not just information but anything of value –like money and units of energy – can be moved and stored securely and privately peer to peer, and where trust is established, not by powerful intermediaries like banks, governments and technology companies, but rather through mass collaboration and clever code.”

It is not an overstatement to say that blockchain has the ability to impact everything, it’s a fact. The crucial part is that with blockchain, all of this is possible while still being able to keep our information of value secure.

Don’t underestimate this rapidly-evolving disruptive technology. Educate yourself, and start planning ways of implementing Blockchain in your enterprise operations.

Here are two additional resources that I recommend you reading:

Industries Impacted with Blockchain.

Top 10 Blockchain Startups to Watch in 2016