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Sheila Warren and Amanda Gutterman Discuss the Promise of Blockchain Technology at Distributed 2018


The recent flagship conference, Distributed 2018 hosted in San Francisco, featured a series of fireside chats between various specialists in the blockchain industry. One such discussion, hosted by Amanda Gutterman, chief marketing officer of ConsenSys, featured a conversation with Sheila Warren of the World Economic Forum.

As some of the hype around distributed ledgers has cooled down since bitcoin’s all-time high-price spike in December, Gutterman and Warren speculated on the aspects of the industry that seem most substantially promising moving into the future. Utilizing the potential for trust that blockchain technology provides, the two of them seemed most interested in discovering nonexploitative ways to ensure identity verification and content monetization.

The Value of Security

The pair began the discussion by expressing relief “that we’re seeing the end of the first bubble; that means there’s a rationalization in the space,” according to Warren, and by trying to address some of the most realistic goals for blockchain research during the ensuing bear market. To this end, Warren cited her background in civic technology to qualify her belief that the space needs to stop shying away from attempts to address real-world power relations.

Warren seemed particularly interested in the real-world value and the level of trust imposed by blockchain technology, and how it could easily solve conundrums related to identity verification. She addressed a number of possible scenarios of identity theft that could seriously harm a person, and concluded, “The network of people in my life is far more valuable to me than any credential that I have alternative methods of proving.”

Avenues of Monetization

As it becomes easier for people to verify their identities and belongings on a blockchain, Warren and Gutterman seemed intrigued by the chance to offer greater monetization potential on created content. Considering systemic problems in compensating independent contractors in some industries, such as music and journalism, Warren stated that blockchain technology could let these creators “be authenticated as legitimate, and you could actually monetize that.”

Warren and Gutterman used their expertise in their own subfields of the blockchain space to provide insight into a wide array of use cases. From property rights in developing and developed countries to new incentives for communal behavior, the full video of their conversation provides food for thought as the blockchain industry moves forward. For similar videos, visit Distributed’s channel on YouTube.


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