CEO Viewpoint: Pandemic could be the catalyst blockchain needs to finally become mainstream

December 1, 2020
Tomer Sofinzon

‍There is more to blockchain than many people realise. It has the power to drive meaningful change if its potential is fully unlocked. Tomer Sofinzon, founder and chief executive officer of 2030 Group, explains why he thinks the global pandemic could be the unexpected catalyst to blockchain finally being understood and becoming mainstream.

The list of societal challenges we face around the world is enormous. Data security. Climate change. Global poverty. Rising unemployment. Societal health. Chronic inequality. Ecological collapse… It goes on. Even without the acute pressure exerted by the coronavirus pandemic, which has upended nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives, all these problems can seem overwhelming and insurmountable.

Yet, it is perhaps worthwhile reflecting on an infamous quote from John F. Kennedy. “In the Chinese language, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity.” This is not strictly accurate linguistically, but the sentiment is fair. A crisis presents a choice. And a choice can often present an opportunity.

Of course, seeing opportunities emerging from a crisis like today’s global pandemic is not the same as being able to seize them. You might know where you want to go and be able to see where you want to go. You might know what tools you need to get there. But have simply no way of knowing how to do it. No map, no instruction manual. So how do you get there?

This is where entrepreneurs come in. Fearless, driven and experimental. Pioneers who test the extremities of present technological abilities and drive the world forward. Most people see problems and obstacles. We see opportunity. This doesn’t come without the famous roller coaster of the entrepreneur’s life. Many of those experiments fail and the innovator’s life is not easy. But as Winston Churchill used to say, “if you are going through hell; keep going”.

Blockchain innovators have largely flown under the radar since the technology emerged on the scene. Hidden in plain sight thanks to the large focus on one of the products blockchain tech enables – digital currencies and the “c word” - crypto. A product which has garnered a rather unfavourable reputation due to its unregulated nature and, as a consequence, the emergence of some bad actors in this space regrettably polluting its reputation.

Like a toxic waste disaster rippling outward in an ocean – bad behaviours of some digital currency actors have not only poisoned the immediate area. They have damaged the larger digital finance sector and entire blockchain technology ecosystem as a whole. Slowing blockchain innovation substantially. Which is frustrating and saddening in equal measure.

We at 2030 Group through our portfolio company, Mozaic Markets, are building a new blockchain-based financial solution to transform investing in real world assets such as real estate, forestry and precious metals. Harnessing the security and immutable benefits of blockchain to bring in an unprecedented level of transparency, efficiency and connectivity for all. We believe that in the year 2030 the largest companies in the world will be the ones which were able to tap into the value of this non-tech last frontier of real assets.

Our idea and roadmap for delivery is extraordinarily exciting. But trying to distance ourselves from the digital currency soup and earn our right to be trusted, is an additional hurdle we need to overcome in almost every conversation we have.

We dream for the day that we no longer have to explain blockchain is not a digital currency. But we firmly believe that day will come. Probably sooner rather than later. People often overestimate the impact of disruptions in the short term and underestimate it in the long-term. One day blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies, will be as ubiquitous as the internet. Just something we all use. And this is when the real revolution will begin.

The world is still waiting for that breakthrough year when blockchain moves from a something the tech community talks about and digital currencies, to focusing on widespread mainstream adoption and transformation of how we buy, interact, bank, and simply lead our lives online.

But there is hope on the horizon.

Whilst 2020 has been a year everyone would like to forget; it could be the catalyst blockchain innovators have been waiting for, to spur much needed courage by businesses, by governments and by consumers. Everyone. To transform outdated tech infrastructure and accelerate a global digital mindset.

Many markets and businesses are facing immense financial strain and need to find ways to balance the books. The usual levers apply – reviews of head count, vendor contracts, service/product pricing and so on.

For those businesses and industries which are built on antiquated and/or complex technological architecture, operational teams will be under pressure to improve efficiencies. As improved efficiency generally equals lower costs, which in turn equals higher profits and, in the main, improved customer satisfaction.

This means looking at technology and upgrading their infrastructure for the long term. And this is where we think businesses will finally take blockchain-based solutions seriously to try and future proof their businesses from further unexpected market shocks as well as lower cyber risks – specifically in respect of decentralized identity technology and its ability to lower both fraud and identity theft. As our identity specialist IDWorks regularly attests.

In almost every part of global economies and society, data is being harnessed to create breakthroughs, Completely reinventing industries, institutions and business models. Fuse this data with blockchain, machine learning and the internet of things technologies (IoT), and you have an extraordinary recipe to solve real world problems.

We at 2030 Group want to help build a better world and see blockchain as one of the keys to achieving this. We are ambitious and one day hope to be able to say we are delivering game-changing solutions across all markets and sectors.

Everything from transforming the property buying and management process, to revolutionising the way individuals can invest in previously inaccessible assets classes. As well as contributing to the Earth Race through initiatives which help reverse climate change, reduce world poverty and eliminate human rights issues in supply chains. Specifically supply chain management.

And as impatient as we are to implement all of our ideas, as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

But they were laying bricks every hour. And that is exactly what we are doing.

We dream big, think logically, act fast. We keep laying digital blocks and move forward, every day. Even when it is hard. Even when things seem lost.

Despite the dire state of the world today, opportunities do exist and there are reasons for optimism too. Entrepreneurs continue to innovate. And it is absolutely vital that they do. That we do.

We have the confidence to believe in our long-term vision and have a roadmap to our end destination. With the agility to change course and adapt quickly should we encounter something unexpected, like the coronavirus pandemic.

We’re on track and look forward to sharing more about our progress in 2021.

Our latest thinking:

Governments urgently need to invest in blockchain to protect the economy as COVID-19 vaccines roll-out

Could a President Biden ignite an “Earth Race” in green tech innovation?

How a “Forest Union” powered by blockchain would help the EU achieve its climate neutrality targets

A new way hotels can unlock capital and survive the global travel crisis

How digitization could help Canada’s housing market grow in an economic downturn