Making Blockchain Real: Questioning Trust in Technology At The Global Blockchain Congress

The Global Blockchain Congress or Consensus 2018, West Bengal Government’s maiden international blockchain conference, saw an extremely enriching first day. The riveting sessions combined a motley mix of speakers, representing fields ranging from academics to banking. While each and every session was tailor-made to suit the interests and attention span of a younger audience, the session held by Mr. Sreeram Ananthasayanam, a Partner at the professional services firm PwC, really struck a cord with the young tech aspirants, who had filled up the auditorium in overwhelming numbers.

Global Blockchain Congress: A Hit Among Young Techies

As we, from Team BTCWIRES took our seats in the auditorium, we saw enthusiastic youngsters, ranging from first year college students pursuing IT or engineering, to startup owners filling up the seats. Although an older generation of academicians and tech experts were there to show the way, the demographic makeup was dominated by younger crowds, pulsating with excitement about this emerging technology. Among them, many of them being aspirant techies, the PwC session was an instant hit.

Being a project partner for the event, PricewaterhouseCoopers, which works extensively in the area of technology solutions, sent Mr. Sreeram Ananthasayanam, a Partner in the company, as their representative speaker to the conference.

Sreeram Ananthasayanam’s Talk: “Making Blockchain Real”

True to the topic name of his talk, Mr. Ananthasayanam made an attempt to connect with his audience by moving beyond jargon and hitting closer home to his audience’s real life understanding of technology. He, like other speakers on the panel, including IBM’s Mani Dasgupta, spoke about the dichotomy inherent in how technologies that were designed to be trusted are no longer being able to earn the same level of credibility amongst the masses. Now, blockchain technology, with its ability to distribute trust among several different nodes, can help forge a trustless system that lays these trust issues to rest. In Anathasayanam’s opinion, blockchain is slowly but steadily capturing the gap in trust that exists between everyday users and technology. He said:

“Blockchain is rewiring technology whether you lead or follow.”

However, he was quick to warn that blockchain is not an overnight, quick fix solution for all aspects of data storage issues. It is hardly a “panacea”, he said, as it is more of a use-case dependant solution. He emphasized heavily on the need to have proper education that facilitates the correct identification of the areas blockchain technology can serve and address.

 

Anathasayanam also issued a caveat in favour of strategic clarity as he said that without it, the cohesive formation of a blockchain network would be difficult to achieve. Even a private blockchain network, he said, must be given adequate strategic direction by an able governor for it to be viable. While such clarity is difficult to achieve, the Executive was quick to prod the new developers on, by saying:

“Do not wait for the landscape to get crystal clear because the train would have left the station by then.”

PwC states that one of its central areas of purpose is to explore the role of blockchain in stimulating trust in markets. Mr. Anathasayanam’s talk closely reflected that ideal, as he egged on developers and blockchain enthusiasts from a business point of view.

As Day 2 approaches with promises of more exciting deliberations on the cards, we can’t help but be excited. Having picked up numerous takeaways from Mr. Anathasayanam’s session, our eyes are trained on tomorrow’s Key Note Session on “Security, Privacy and Trust of Blockchain” by Prof. Kouichi Sakurai and the release of the thought leadership paper jointly from Webel and PwC.

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