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October 2019

Blockchain is about transforming business models - An interview with Prof. Arturo Bris

Last week, IMD was hosting a two-day venue marking the 30 year anniversary of the IMD World Competitiveness Center. Over 400 professionals, thought leaders and influencers were invited to debate and educate the audience on what makes societies more efficient, competitive, and sustainable on economic, digital, and human factors.

Host and Director of the Center, Arturo Bris, mentioned the importance of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) with an analogy to the cycling race where all three, the road, the bicycle, and the cyclist should be in an optimal shape to fully leverage the competitiveness potential of a team, a business, or a nation. had the chance to meet and interview Prof. Arturo Bris, Professor of Finance and author of Blockchange, an immersive storytelling about the impact of blockchain on society.

Prof. Bris, thank you first of all for hosting such an event and agreeing on sharing your thoughts with our community. What do you think are the advantages that blockchain-backed solutions could bring to organizations?

I think they are immense. The benefit of blockchain is not so much about creating efficiencies but more about transforming business models completely. I think that for companies, it gives them a way to generate revenue in a different way but also to innovate internally in the way the companies are organized, I would say, both externally and internally.

When do you think companies should start to embrace blockchain-backed solutions?

Immediately! I think with blockchain, we are witnessing the same experience that we had with the internet. The internet was not a proven business model until many years later and it gave advantage to the first movers. I think it’s the same situation with blockchain. Companies that learn fast and companies that are agile enough to incorporate blockchain into their thinking will have a clear advantage. I also think that it's not a hundred percent guaranteed that blockchain would be the breakthrough of the coming years but if it is, you have to be there. If it is not, it requires a marginal investment on the side of a company so why not entering this world already.

What do you think about e-voting used in concert with blockchain?

I think that e-voting as a way of increasing participation is one of the examples that we have to transform entire organisations. We are talking about the DAO, the Decentralized Autonomous Organisations, where the decision making will be done horizontally and not vertically and then e-voting is the perfect technology to apply that. You don't need coordinating meetings, you don't need central systems, you just need a technology that allows decisions to be made in real-time and I find it truly fascinating. To me, there are the most difficult technological challenges to be overshot, obviously, because e-voting requires a digital identity, anonymity, transparency, and that combination is very difficult.

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