Devcon2, Day Three Finishes up with Strong Enterprise Focus: To the Moon

Enterprise was the focus of the closing session at Devcon2.

The attendance profile at this year’s Devcon was more focused on Dapp development and what’s going on under the Ethereum hood. However, there was a lot of interest in the emergence of Ethereum as the leading enterprise blockchain platform, and how we can take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

Victor Wong, CEO of BlockApps:

"Ethereum is actually winning in the enterprise space.”

It was reassuring to hear this because many in this space assume that other enterprises, banks, and governments don’t consider Ethereum more advanced in terms of enterprise experimentation and deployment. It was a strong endorsement of the fundamentally open philosophy of Ethereum technology. It’s also a testament to the work that has been achieved by the core development team and companies who have given Ethereum support and provided an impressive selection of developer tools to the community at no cost. Ethereum was designed from the start to be a general purpose blockchain technology with native smart contract functionality built-in. Unlike other blockchains, Ethereum wasn’t designed solely for value exchange, which gives enterprises a powerful, open and flexible platform on which they can build applications that go beyond simple token transfer.

Victor Wong of BlockApps, delivering his presentation to an enterprise audience.

The main panel discussion included representatives from Microsoft, IBM, BlockApps, EY, and ConsenSys; all of whom operate in the enterprise space. These representatives have years of experience with facing the challenges of showing large corporations that blockchain technology can help streamline existing business processes and open up new markets. Panel members were each asked their view on the public blockchain vs. private blockchain debate and each speaker gave an interesting industry perspective. The key takeaway from the public vs. private question is that Ethereum doesn’t constrain application developers and they are free to build Dapps on various networks. They can build on the public network, a permission consortium network, a private network, or even a hybrid network. Each business use-case is different and having the freedom and flexibility to choose the most appropriate solution is what makes Ethereum a superior choice. The flexibility and freedom are there to build different proof-of-concept projects, pilot systems, and even create full production systems on a blockchain of their choice. But most importantly, the tools and community support is there.

Another interesting discussion from the panel was the contradiction between the idea of an openly distributed blockchain and the compliance within national boundaries. The consensus taken from this question was that there are often legal and regulatory constraints within the enterprise, and while we don’t have all the answers to these challenges yet, this is actually one of the advantages of being able to have a hybrid public/private blockchain on Ethereum. The idea behind a hybrid Ethereum blockchain is that it’s fundamentally open and can be customized for any specific business use-case. Yes, there will be issues concerning interoperability with existing enterprise systems, but there is confidence that the Ethereum community has the right people to solve these problems and provide the high-quality tools required.

Vitalik finished up the enterprise session and wrapped up Devcon with some closing thoughts. He noted that Devcon is “genuinely international” in that it brings people together from all over the world. He commented on the broad diversity of professional backgrounds: medical, IT, finance, etc., as well as the diverse political ideologies of those who made the trip. This “diversity is one of Ethereum’s greatest strengths.” He joked that he’d like to see a future Devcon, in conjunction with Elon Musk, take place on the moon. The location of next year’s Devcon hasn’t been decided yet, but attendees make their guesses as they get ready for another evening out and about in Shanghai.

Check out this video posted by Youtube user: Sepehr Mohamadi