Data Science

Interview with Nicole Nguyen on trends and challenges of blockchain

We recently interviewed Nicole Nguyen, Head of APAC, Infinity Blockchain Ventures, who spearheads Infinity Blockchain Lab’s regional initiative in connecting major players and fostering an ever-growing blockchain ecosystem in Asia. She is a co-author of the first Vietnam Blockchain Landscape Report and speaker at various international and local blockchain conferences such as TEDx, Shanghai Blockchain Week, World Bank blockchain workshop series, Seamless Asia and ConnecTech Asia.
Nicole Nguyen will be speaking on the panel ‘Fireside Chat: 10 Key Challenges to Blockchain Adoption’ at ConnecTechAsia Summit on Day 2, 27 June 2018. She shared her views on the new trends, challenges and myth about blockchain technology today.
Read the complete interview below:
1. Can you give us a brief introduction about what this technology is and what is the principle on which blockchain technology is based on?
Blockchain, at the end of the day, is a database. Yet what brings magic to blockchain is the underlying cryptography, consensus algorithms, decentralized database and network. Technically blockchain is not something new – its inception dates back to the 90s yet as a trust-centered technology, blockchain is drastically transforming the way we exchange data and value. By changing the fundamentals of a society – trust and value, blockchain is deemed as a game-changer to the global innovation landscape.
2. Are there different types of Blockchains? What are they?
By definition there are various types of blockchain. To my understanding, basically there are permissioned, permissionless and hybrid blockchains. In permissioned blockchain, the system owner can designate transaction validators and have the authority to remove or alter the data; also the data is only accessible to pre-selected audience. However this is not possible in a permissionless blockchain – arguably claimed as the most democratic blockchain. Hybrid blockchain allows a mixed model where pre-selected nodes or players can validate/approve the data and the public is allowed to see the data yet have no authority to rewrite the data.
Subject to different business requirements in terms of system robustness, privacy, throughput etc, you can consider the most relevant blockchain and most importantly how blockchain could fill the unmet demand in the market like no other technologies can.
3. How will blockchain reshape the future, maybe in next five years? Who are going to be the biggest beneficiaries of blockchain technology and why?
The blockchain is transforming the way people exchange information and value like never before. This is seriously disrupting value and growth drivers of the society and ushering new business models and opportunities. At the end of the day, end users will be the biggest beneficiaries of blockchain in my opinion, yet startups and disruption incumbents such as mainstream players and businesses can find their own way of leveraging blockchain technology to bring about higher efficiency, productivity and sustainable growth to the business.
4. What are the key challenges that the technology needs to overcome today before mainstream adoption?
The blockchain is still at its infancy in terms of awareness and development and challenges still amass such as scalability, lack of regulation, on-boarding process etc. I personally feel there is a shortage of good blockchain products at infrastructure level (payment, exchange, identity etc.) with easy on boarding process and user-friendly interface. Simply as it might sound, I think this is one of the key challenges to blockchain adoption.
5. There is a lot of myths about blockchain right now. Can you name a few and debunk them?
Myths include the following – Blockchain is cryptocurrency. Blockchain brings money from the sky. The blockchain is the trend – you should apply it at all costs. There are plenty of them.
I think my key takeaway is behind the hype and flashy covers, blockchain is all about being relevant when it comes to application in businesses. Once you want to apply blockchain please make sure you have a sharp problem statement and blockchain is the only technology that can fill the missing piece.

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