On one hand, there is this utopian vision of the decentralized world: A free market in which decisions are pure reflections of parties’ will, where there are no fees and no cut, no friction, and no middlemen involved between two trustless sides. On the other hand, there is the world we live in; the world where middlemen rule, known by most as simply ‘the marketplace’ (companies like eBay, Uber, Yelp), who are getting bigger and more efficient every day, deepening their control over our day to day life.
Is there a middle ground between these two verges? Last week I think we found it.
As part of San Francisco Blockchain Week (SFBW), possibly the busiest week for the blockchain industry at the Mecca of innovation, we tried to find the bridge. Orbs Ltd., who launched Orbs, the public blockchain designed with enterprise in mind, initiated and led the Blockchain for Enterprise Event.
While many in the industry view enterprises as the rival to disruption, we see them as a partner for innovation. This partner, we believe, will be the catalyst for the coveted adoption the industry strives for. That is why I aim to work with enterprise and not to eliminate them. This is quite a unique position in the industry, so let us explain why:
While most blockchain infrastructure catering to enterprises are private DLTs such as Hyperledger, Corda and so on, the public blockchains such as Etheruem were designed for token-economy centered dApps, decentralized Uber, decentralized AirBnB and so on. This dichotomy wherein the public blockchains, holding most of the innovation unlocking the value of the technology, are not suited for the enterprise world, is detrimental to adoption and exhibiting the value of blockchain. Orbs is positioned in this sweet spot which offers public infrastructure for enterprise, with the mission of delivering trust at scale. With this unique position, we came to SFBW not quite sure to what extent our message will resonate. we were surprised to see how well the message conveyed, with fierce competition on people’s attention, where all the behemoths of the industry are throwing the best parties, we had about 200 people rsvp to our event.
The event centered around educating on the value of public blockchain for enterprises. We started with a lighting talk on the topic, specifically about an electronic medical records solution on a public ledger, which followed directly to into an introduction of Orbs, covering its approach to the industry, the design for solving enterprise non-starters in public blockchains, and the tech.
Most relevant to the audience of CIOs, product leads and CTOs, was the architectural choices made in building Orbs to accommodate their company’s needs. I aimed to show that there is a middle-ground that accommodates enterprise permissioning needs alongside the innovation of permissionless blockchain with our hybrid two-tiered consensus. Orbs design separates block producers from validators: The first orders transactions and closes the block, while the latter validates the correctness of the work and adds it to the chain. On Orbs, block producers can be chosen by the app, whereas the validators are chosen by the network PoS algorithm coming from the Orbs permissionless validator pool. To simplify things the enterprises are setting the rules, but these rules transparent and subject to audit and due diligence by any interested party.
Following the introduction to Orbs we hosted a fascinating panel with different approaches and views, from huge enterprise using private blockchain (SalesForce) to rep of the greatest blockchain (Consensys representing Etherum) and a venture studio for the insurance industry to provide us with some data and insights (Marsh Digital Labs).
The event was a great success not only by the number of people showing up but also quality-wise, some really big enterprises showed up, eager to learn more about this field.
Following this event we were very busy meeting huge enterprises from chemicals and materials all the way to retail, payment and mobile and media, it seems like all industries are keen to learn and implement this new tech. We’ve covered use-cases ranging from provenance for digital art to international supply chain all the way to content authenticity and photos and document notarizations. We were excited to launch and present Orbs’ new demos page that helps illustrate and simplify some of the use cases possible on the Orbs network.
This sweet spot is well understood by many of the enterprise executives we have been talked to, and it appears that the notion of public blockchain for enterprise, thought of as an oxymoron not long ago, is becoming increasingly clear and powerful.