Blockchain POCs No Longer Cut It, Experts Say

It’s decided: 2017 is (or should be) the year the blockchain proof-of-concept dies—and is replaced by tangible, functioning products, according to industry experts.

“What I said for 2017 was, I want to go from [blockchain] evangelism to execution—I want to go, as I call it, from the lab to the factory,” Dion Lisle, head of fintech for financial consultancy company Capgemini, told Bank Innovation, during the Consensus 2017 conference.

Blockchain “evangelism” has led to a spree of whitepapers and blockchain labs and tests in recent years, but the industry is now experiencing a change in mindset.

Seeking to move to the “factory,” as Lisle notes, was a sentiment echoed by other attendees of the blockchain event, and comes after dozens upon dozens of proof-of-concepts for DLT were announced in 2016 and early 2017.

To put it simply, announcing a blockchain POC is no longer considered an innovation play by the industry—which instead is pushing customers to start integrating the technology into their systems.

“I like to think of it like this: 2015 was the year of blockchain philosophy, 2016 was the year of the POC, and 2017 is going to be the year of the early adopters going into production—we have about nine production networks up and running around the world on Hyperledger Fabric,” James Wallis, vice president, blockchain markets and engagements at IBM, told Bank Innovation. “The first part of this year has really been focusing on helping clients start to go from POC to [execution].”

This makes it all the more critical for those early adopters—or “blockchain explorers,” as IBM terms them in its recent study —to approach the technology with the right mindset.

“The question is, how are we going to select the best use cases that have the highest value—but with an eye to changing the process,” Lisle said. “If you upgrade a shitty process, it’s still the same shitty process.”

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