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We recently met with Jed Grant, CEO of KYC3, to discuss the birth of the Infrachain initiative, the blockchain’s main advantages and opportunities but also the main challenges faced when developing such applications.

When and why did you join the Infrachain initiative?

Starting about 6 months before Infrachain was created, Marco Houwen (Infrachain Project Lead) and I had several conversations about blockchain and how it facilitates trust. One of these days, at lunch at Ambrosia over good Greek food, we discussed the subject of public trust facilitated by blockchain in depth and I expressed my belief that decentralized and trusted blockchains would eventually have to be viewed as a public good. A couple weeks after that conversation Marco told me that he was working with several other colleagues on the Infrachain initiative. I was thrilled to see him obtain wide support from the community in Luxembourg. It was natural that my company, KYC3, become a founding member.

What are the challenges you are currently facing when it comes to the development of concrete Blockchain applications?

I see a lot of applications that are poorly thought through and not suited to blockchain, but try anyways – either because an organization wants to use a buzzword tech or because consultants want to sell it, or both. At the same time, I find some compelling use cases that don’t attract funding because they require an understanding of systems that goes beyond the self – an ecosystem view, as it is. This seems to be caused by the all hype and misunderstanding all around the technology. I focus on good use cases and solid technology, with a deep understanding of it.

There are also many lawyers in the space, probably because of the name given to Stored Procedures on Chain of “Smart Contracts”. These are not actually contracts, but the name has attracted more lawyers to the space than I have ever seen in over 30 years of working in technology. It’s far worse than Y2K was. Most of the lawyers I meet don’t understand the technology well enough to be making proclamations about how it can or can’t be used. So, because of the hype and a bad choice of name, legal interference has become a drag on innovation. 

What about their main advantages and opportunities?

The main advantage of blockchain is in the disintermediation of markets of trust. With blockchain, we can remove “trusted third parties” and the friction they cause. We can implement systems where behavior is incentivized rather than policed or regulated. Soon we will have blockchain powered applications that are built on incentive systems that make it in everyone’s interest to participate for the success of the ecosystem.  So far, Bitcoin is the only true example of a proven system accomplishing this, but several others have made very good progress and many more are up and coming now.

According to you, where will Blockchain be the most efficient? How and why?

Blockchain will be most efficient in permissionless public use cases. This is where the greatest economic and social gains will be realized. Corporate savings from blockchain will be incremental whereas societal and ecosystem gains from blockchain will be game changing.

What is needed to really kickoff the adoption of Blockchain?

Compared to the growth of the internet we’re in the 1999 of Blockchain time. Interfaces are clunky and inefficient, the underlying technology has lots of design flaws that make it hard to use, and the problem of scalability remains unsolved. These are getting solved. Within 5 years, we will be using public permissionless chains to make payments and to exchange digital trust and rights on a daily basis, probably without even having to know that there is a blockchain behind the system.

Published on June 12th, 2019 on