Preparing for Crypto Spring – ConsenSys Media
”An invention has to make sense in the world in which it is finished, not the world in which it is started.”
— Ray Kurzweil
Warren Buffett is the greatest investor of all time, yet his investing philosophy can be boiled down to just a few words: think long term. Kurzweil makes the same case for technological advancement: true innovators think long term.
Thinking long term has been one of the keys for PegaSys in a blockchain market full of challenges.
As part of the strategy team for PegaSys, I speak constantly to teams building applications on the forefront of blockchain innovation. The excitement is palpable for use cases that are moving to production next year; at the same time, there is the knowledge that this shift will be hard.
Teams have to make design decisions on how to integrate with enterprise, without knowing if their path is the “best practice” — since they are the first to do it. Databases, certificates, identity, analytics — the enterprise tech stack is highly fragmented, and the crystal ball on how to do it “right” with blockchain is still foggy.
The price shocks, naysayers, and flame wars above the surface can be distracting, but we do our best to stay heads down and focus on the protocol and our enterprise mission. Our strategy is built for the long term, regardless of the noise. We are following a strategy that we believe aims for a healthy and productive enterprise blockchain industry: application-centric, simple but standardized, with major investments in R&D for 10x improvements.
We aim for easy-to-use, enterprise-grade protocols that reduce the time-to-value for delivering tangible use cases with clear value propositions. We provide open source tools to smooth the path for developers to learn, teams to experiment, and enterprises to adopt.
1. It’s the applications, duh
Blockchain talk often focuses on decentralization, networks, consensus, smart contracts, and blue sky possibilities. At the end of the day, however, users and enterprises will not really care until there is an application that makes their lives easier and/or adds to the bottom line.
That’s why we’re working with teams like DrumG (OTC market data) and Adhara (real-time gross settlement) to focus on enabling their use cases as much as possible. Today, the most promising use cases are digital assets, from commodities to stablecoins, and related processes like settlement and price discovery. As excited as we are about long-term potential of decentralization, we take a product approach to building software that works for key applications in relevant industries.
2. Good protocols = simplicity + standards + open source
Protocols are not a new idea. It is clear they succeed when they are straightforward and enable an array of use cases. HTTP took over the world because it is both dead-simple and incredibly flexible.
Protocols also succeed when they are standardized. Standards for protocols are as old as radio: the ITU (International Telegraph Union) is actually the oldest international organization in the world — in place since 1865. To provide that simplicity and flexibility needed, we work closely with the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) to hear from the leading voices in blockchain on what directions make the most sense for the industry. The EEA provides a forum for collaboration to make sure innovation does not happen in a silo: it is shared and agreed upon.
Open source creates a fast track for the entire ecosystem by mapping open standards to an implementation that can be reviewed, used, and improved upon by others.
3. R&D for 10x
Next-generation protocols must enable exponential improvements to win the attention of enterprises. Our team is investing heavily to be at the forefront of improvements to Ethereum, with 10 researchers and engineers currently on our Ethereum 2.0 team.
That means working with the leaders not just in blockchain but in its related fields. To make the improvements the public Ethereum network needs to be scalable, we must push the boundaries of parent fields such as cryptography and distributed systems.
Our Eth 2.0 team is making contributions to the ecosystem both in applied research and implementation. Our researchers were recently accepted into the Stanford Blockchain Conference for our work on Handel, a framework for aggregating large numbers of digital signatures. Meanwhile, our implementation team is building Artemis, a Java implementation of the Beacon chain that aims to have a testnet in March.
Building for Tomorrow, Today
The decentralized world that inspires many of those working in blockchain is still core to our mission. But to get there, we need a multi-pronged approach that takes into account the day-to-day challenges of product teams while also fostering the experimentation that our ecosystem needs to make the long-term vision a reality. It’s the vision, after all, which inspires us to return to the code day after day.