Covid-19 virus is a tremendous opportunity for the blockchain industry to roll out new startup ideas, says Karthik Iyer, CEO of blockchain firm Blockchain Monk.
Iyer, who is also an ambassador of the P2P Foundation, said in a podcast with the BAR (click here to listen to podcast) that the current crisis offers “tonnes of startup ideas” specifically in terms of building communities under threat from the pandemic.
“Blockchain is all about decentralization, and it is sad that people have lost the narrative along the way,” said Iyer.
“If I were an entrepreneur, I wish I could actually build something,” said Iyer who had founded and exited many startups over the years before becoming a blockchain consultant.
He laments the fact that most of the people in blockchain are first-time entrepreneurs, and they don’t understand how to make use of these crisis opportunities.
Also, some of the investors in the blockchain have a very short-term horizon only there for quick profits.
“This is a huge opportunity,” said Iyer, emphasizing the power of blockchain in such areas contract tracing of government subsidies in a time of crisis.
“Blockchain can be used for contract tracing. The governments are struggling to pay its citizens mainly because of the fraud,” said Iyer, who is based in Singapore and San Francisco.
Governments have to give food, and they have to deliver money because citizens are staying indoors.
“Blockchain with wallet can be an ideal way to deal with fraud because there is a huge issue of fraud. A lot of these issues can be solved by blockchain,” said Iyer.
As to what blockchain companies should do now, he said while they should focus on technologies, they cannot afford to ignore community building.
The world is going through a “fundamental change,” he said, because stock markets are crashing, companies are taking huge losses, and supply chains are being destroyed, people are staying indoors and are out of jobs.
Therein lies the opportunity for blockchain, he said.
“The world is going to change fundamentally, which means it is an opportunity for blockchain companies to think about disintermediation,” he said.
“When people want to cut costs, they want to think about disintermediation, and they want to think about better technology such as AI, blockchain, and robotics. They need to sell their story, but I don’t see companies doing that,” he said.
People have to tendency to find ways to helping each other during the times of disaster. He calls it the third pillar of the society, the other two being the government and the private institutions.
“The governments are struggling, and private enterprises are going to zero, and the people can come together around technology and support each other and themselves through technology,” he said.
He said, for instance, there are tonnes of startup ideas around local systems for sustenance, systems of contract tracing. Local supply chains can cater to such activities as building masks at home and supply them to hospitals.
“Blockchain is supposed to decentralize, and it is supposed to connect these heterogeneous ecosystems,” Iyer said.
“This is exactly the kind of time when the blockchain can come to the rescue,” said Iyer, who has been working in blockchain for nearly ten years and one of the eight ambassadors of P2P Foundation which published Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin White Paper.