Blockchain experts will be racking up significant frequent flyer miles this year. The need for their expertise is rapidly becoming of paramount concern to industry leaders, universities and governments. Anyone seeking to sharpen their cutting edge is increasingly being made aware of how distributed ledger technology (DLT) will affect their productiveness in the very near future. Despite the perception that blockchain is a back-end technology for IT types, several prestigious institutions have lent their names and resources to educate executives and the public at large about the vast and sweeping changes that are on the horizon. One of the most exciting metrics to gauge how significant industry saturation will be is the number of conferences themselves and the increased frequency with which they are appearing.
Already this week there have been three major symposiums. From the business-centric angle discussed yesterday at MIT’s Media Lab by central bankers like James Cunha, a Federal Reserve VP from Boston, to Joe Lubin’s lecture today on Ethereum developments in Brooklyn to Russia’s adoption of blockchain being discussed this afternoon by tech evangelists like Microsoft’s Konstantin Goldstein in Moscow, a trend has emerged that describes an insatiable appetite by global leaders to understand the ramifications DLT will have on their processes and methodologies of interaction. Over thirty seminars have been scheduled during the first half of 2017 alone. From Russia to Bermuda and Denmark to China, every populated continent is seeing the number of blockchain-related conferences increase exponentially. The rate at which these conferences are taking place is matched only by the geographic distribution of their locations.
Taking this analysis a step further, one can identify national emerging leaders simply by counting the number of conferences being held in a respective country. While past evidence points to major interest by countries like China and the US, current data highlights new players like England, Denmark, and Germany, which have more than six major industry roundtables scheduled before this coming September.
While the topics of these meetings are as various as the potential uses of the technology they discuss, the statement they represent is clear: this is the wave of the future and you don’t want to miss the boat. History has shown us that disruptive technologies have an intrinsic advantage over their predecessors. This is largely because they are born out of solving preexisting problems associated with the technologies they replace. As developers are already struggling to outmaneuver one another and corner these emerging markets, the rate at which blockchain knowledge is disseminated across the human topography of the planet is perhaps the best metric for understanding people’s interest in applying its revolutionary principals to our existing global ecosystem.
As blockchain finds industry footholds, we can expect the number of conferences to dwindle. There will be less open discussion and public forums, which will signify a shift from a preliminary phase in which institutions seek out expertise to a more regimented, capitalistic phase where research and development are brought in-house. The transition between these two phases will mark the start of a new era where those who’ve learned the historical lessons of technological development stand upon the precipice of a world dominated by blockchain.