Don Tapscott | The Evolution of Blockchain and The Digital Economy



I'm sitting here with Don Tapscott CEO taps that group co-founder at the blockchain Research Institute and one of the most influential voices month lock chain and the digital economy so thank you for being with us today happy to be here UI senior advisor for the World Economic Forum so what are your thoughts on how big around blockchain in the digital economy at lane in Davos this year well it's interesting first of all I don't speak for the forum I speak for myself but I was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal television here and the guy said to me you know this is the third year that we've interviewed you about blockchain and this year everybody's talking about it at Davos describe how it's changed over the three years and I thought about it for myself for a second I said I well three years ago the main person talking about it was me and I was sort of talking to myself and there maybe a few other people last year we had the big financial institutions that we're talking about it and also some entrepreneurs around the the Congress and also central bankers ministers of finance and I spent some time with them this year this is the blockchain Davos and apparently blockchain on the formal program as a word appears more than the United States and Europe combined and someone did an analysis of language and they found that blockchain was the number two word at Davos number one being Trump anyway and that's me it as it may but it's an extraordinary thing that it's not just that it's integrated into the formal program and then and that powerful people are talking about it I estimate there about a thousand entrepreneurs investors social activists social entrepreneurs academics and so on that have come to Davos and they're not inside the Congress center they're outside doing all kinds of things so you got the global business blockchain Cal so holding up old days of programming and having a dinner with 200 people hundreds of people lined up hoping to get in there's the the crypto HQ I wonder what that was for days I couldn't get in there because there were lineups all the time and everywhere their activities so I'm walking along the street someone recognizes me says we're having a big blockchain meeting upstairs would you come and speak to us and I go upstairs and they're like a hundred people in a room and I do a panel discussion and answer a bunch of questions so this is a very it's very reflective of what's happening more broadly in the world then finally this technologies has not just come of age it's really becoming part of the vernacular and everyone's trying to figure it out to create more transparency well kenan is a pretty interesting story and when you think about where is this whole thing going to be centered in the world there are a few candidates what Serling's obviously one i don't think it's gonna be Silicon Valley basically because leaders of old paradigms have difficulty embracing the new but Canada's got a government that's very interested including the Prime Minister was here who's totally into blockchain of all things and as part of our blockchain Research Institute we have the Bank of Canada that's doing this work it's a federal government the provincial government and this the the City of Toronto but there's also five not ninety five big banks and they're working to reinvent the payment system we do have a theory and that was created by a you know a university dropout from the University of Waterloo we've got thought leadership with our Research Institute they're the two biggest incubators in North America are in Toronto Mars alone is 1.9 million square feet and we used to have a brain drain in Canada where entrepreneurs would leave the country move to the US but now they to to things that's been reversed one of them is Donald Trump where a lot of people want to especially Canadians want to move back to Canada but a second one is it there was a funding problem that you would get to a certain point with your company may 20 20 million in revenue and you need to do a Series A and some big venture capitalists in Silicon Valley would say great we'll fund you but you got to move to the valley so there was a company drain as well that's been turned around now because of icos and that people don't have to go the venture route to fund their company the other thing is that we have a pretty good regulatory environment in Canada too we sure don't have crazy stuff going on like in some countries in the world and I'm very hopeful the Bank of Canada is going to be a real leader in in this space because ultimately every country needs to embrace blockchain for their fiat currency so we need the digital dollar the digital pound digital yen and so on and that would give central bankers powerful tools to manage the money supply you change the inflation rate you can see what's happening instantly you have a crisis you want to rather than giving money to the bank's you could helicopter it onto the mobile devices of say the poorest people or something so there's a lot going on in Canada right now well all around the world it's very uneven in terms of government comprehension of this whole second era of the internet because that's what we're talking about here found an Internet of information for 40 years now we're getting an Internet of value where anything of value can be moved stored transacted in a secure and private way and Trust is achieved by cryptography and collaboration and code rather than by intermediaries so that's a very very powerful thing it'll be at the center of any innovative building and innovation economy but governments that many don't understand it you know I was recently in Korea here's a country that you know created a miracle around the whole first era and they created this amazing manufac churring facility they call it the miracle on the hunt and now the Korean government is trying to figure out what to do and they've done some wrong things they banned icos and they're looking at restricting or even banning cryptocurrency exchanges and I was there I'm meeting with government leaders and doing a lot of press conferences and stuff saying this is going to hurt you you don't want to do that there is a public interest here it's not like the Internet of information where I always said just leave it alone but you know if you're doing an ICO and the token represents a share in a company that's called a security and it should fall under securities legislation but we need you know microsurgery on this new economy we don't need a chainsaw and this is will be one of the three most important rate determining factors in terms of what countries emerge not just with a blockchain industry but with a whole new innovation economy is the government's do the right thing or did they and and have sensible legislation or do they mess it up well it's been an extraordinary year and of course the biggest thing that's caught everybody's attention is the crypto craze right and just a word on that you know that this is a tulip bubble like in Holland I don't think those kinds of analogies are quite right actually yeah there there will be all kinds of volatility and there will be bubbles but but think about it the first era of the Internet information was placed in the Commons by Tim berners-lee the second era will the actual protocols are going to be owned by investors and people so what's the first fair worth how many tens of trillions of dollars the second error is probably bigger so the alternative way of looking at this is this is the biggest investment opportunity maybe in human history now are a lot of these I SEOs garbage yeah well this is 1995 a lot of the coms for garbage – are a lot of people gonna lose money you bet will there be all kinds of speculation for sure is there hype yeah there's hype there's that much hype and but there was that much hype about the Internet in 1995 and we talked more about the Internet today than we did 95 so the heights not gonna go up and then burst it's just going to continue probably for decades as we understand that this is the new operating platform for the firm and for the economy so the other big things that have but but what we have here is the sort of crypto asset class tail wagging the blockchain dog you see because the real pony here is not all this asset stuff although it may be a big opportunity the big are the the big the pony in this pile is that we have a new platform emerging that's going to change the deep art architecture and structure of the firm that's going to fundamentally transform every industry in our economy and over the last year we've seen some really big developments like yeah I could talk all day about this but I'll just give you one example the supply chain industry global is a sixty four trillion dollar industry and supply chains are going to move to blockchain you can see that with Foxconn doing this now we've done a big case on that on the Walmart food say use of blockchain for food safety and the biggest supply chain in the world ever is the one belt one Road project linking Hong Kong and Rotterdam all the trade finance and a lot of the supply apps on that are being done on a blockchain and it's perfect for that kind of situation where you have a buyer and a seller and escrow agent governments and various shippers and in tax authorities and so on and rather than passing off pieces of paper and fax in emails and so on they have a single shared network state where they can all instantly see what's going on so it turns that supply chain into something we call an asset chain and ultimately as this thing becomes cognitive it really becomes a new cognitive computer that's what the supply chain will be we understand and use money well that's a good question I don't think that non fiat currencies will replace fiat currencies lots of people may disagree with me I'd be surprised a Bitcoin got to 1% of transactions in a major country five years from now there is a role for these currencies but more as a tool for creating new apps so for example the global diaspora people left their ancestral lands and they send money back home it's called remittances a trillion dollar market well if you're of Filipino nanny in Toronto you don't have to pay Western Union 15% to send money to your mom in the in Manila you can use a platform for remittances but that platform actually uses Bitcoin as the underlying a tool to enable that to occur so that's not the actual currency the currency is sort of a a transition between two fiat currencies and as I said before the biggest opportunity is to turn a fiat currency into a cryptocurrency yeah yeah I think that every country should have its crypto currency for the next period of human history ultimately I'm with John Lennon imagine there's no countries it's easy if you try you know you know the whole the whole idea of all these nation-states is sort of an interesting idea that came out of a certain period in human history you know we we had these these areas and and they were a bunch of cities and they consolidated together and they had a common currency and borders and they created institutions and the rule of law and bureaucracies and and and so on it was nation-states for national economies but increasingly the economy is not national you know it's not withstanding Donald Trump in America first no country can succeed in a world that's failing and increasingly we have regional economies like North America and Europe and increasingly we're going to need some kind of global economy so it's fun to speculate about stuff like that in the future but I think it's it's probably not in my lifetime well in the blockchain Research Institute we're doing 75 projects right now and these are all looking at the strategic implications of blockchain to transform the corporation ten different industries we're looking at and also we're looking at seven c-suite functions of management so what is the triple entry accounting mean for the CFO you know what is what is smart contracts mean for the chief legal officer what what does blockchain mean for enterprise architecture it's fine to have a bunch of pilots but nobody slot through you know the company it's not a bunch of divisions it's it's an enterprise ultimately and we do need enterprise architectures and we've got a great group of about sixty of the world's leading thinkers that are leading these projects and over the next year we're going to complete the projects and then the management will be out in all of these companies doing executive briefings and these are typically the CEO and the Executive Committee of some of the biggest companies in the world so we're pretty excited that that's going to bring about some big changes the other thing is both my son Alex and I are spending a lot of time around the road sort of speaking to big conferences and also to to small or important more important Vince in three weeks I'm speaking to I hope mentioned the name but it's 150 CEOs of the 160 largest corporations in America and they're very curious about this most of them haven't quite figured it out so we're sort of in the business of breaking log jams and bringing clarity to the market and we partner with hyper ledger and the enterprise aetherium koala and the chamber of digital commerce and these other organizations there are affiliates and we're not duplicating what they're they're doing we're trying to address this the strategic issue so that's going to keep me busy for the next year thanks Maria

10 thoughts on “Don Tapscott | The Evolution of Blockchain and The Digital Economy”

  1. I heard the National Research Council under the Government of Canada began to test a software to place data on government contracts, grants and other forms of donations on the Ethereum blockchain. Can Canada be a new leader?

  2. oh, I read his book about blockchain. I'm always inspired by such people, it seems that progress is achievable 😉

  3. I've been following the journalistic activities of Maria for a long time , she perfectly takes an interview with such a big man in blockchain world!

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