3Pillar Global builds innovative, revenue-generating software products, enabling businesses to quickly turn ideas into value. They provide product development services to companies in the Financial Services, Media & Entertainment, Health & Wellness, and Information Services verticals. The company has built services relying on blockchain technology for a number of clients and Adi Chikara, technology strategist in 3Pillar Global’s Advanced Technology Group, gave a presentation on how to create a blockchain action plan at last years DEVCON1 conference, which is where we first met their team.
Following the conference, the team has continued to produce content around blockchain technology, educating their users and the public in the form of webinars and appearances on podcasts including Take3. Following the latter, we spoke with Michael Lisse, client executive for financial services and Adi Chikara via Email to discuss what attracted the company to the blockchain, the hindrances of development and the need for standardised practices.
Oliver Carding: How did the company become interested in Blockchain technology?
Michael Lisse: Our Advanced Technology Group and 3Pillar Labs keep tabs on upcoming technologies. Blockchain caught our eye when a number of sidechains started coming up in the market.
Oliver Carding: Tell us more about 3 Pillar Labs
Michael Lisse: 3Pillar Labs was launched in 2012 as our internal R&D arm. We use 3Pillar Labs as a vehicle to explore the way emerging technologies like blockchain will impact the business world so that we can understand and anticipate what that means for our clients and the industries they serve. We recently launched a new 3Pillar Labs website that covers more of the mission of 3Pillar Labs and some of the latest projects that have come out of 3Pillar Labs.
Oliver Carding: Please can you explain the Blockchain canvas model that Adi presented at Devcon 1?
Michael Lisse: The Blockchain is great but is not a solution for everything. The canvas helps provides a quick way to validate if an idea would benefit from blockchain technology and help prioritize between multiple ideas.
Adi Chikara: Yes, it’s a tool by which you can validate your idea as per a normal business model canvas and then additionally validate if it would add value to solve it with blockchain.
Oliver Carding: You’ve used elements of this canvas to inform the build of a client’s project? Can you explain the advantages?
Michael Lisse: Talking in the canvas language – ideas that hit a large number of the vertices, with a low number of touch-points to other systems and a clear value proposition, are what we prioritize higher for our clients. This helps to mitigate risk and ensure that our clients are investing in the right products.
Oliver Carding: Have you seen an increase in demand for blockchain based software?
Michael Lisse: The awareness of blockchain as a technology has definitely grown and the need for blockchain based software with it, though many companies are at a stage where they see value in blockchain and want to use it but lack the expertise on where to apply it and how to execute on it.
Oliver Carding: Do you think that in the next few years, companies will better understand the benefits of blockchain technology? Additionally, what do you think are the most compelling arguments for companies utilising the blockchain?
Michael Lisse: Like any technology, blockchain will grow and we will see more products and platforms in the market using it. I think it will take a few years of use before some of the more tangible benefits become clear. One of the most compelling arguments for using it is that each of the 42 companies in the R3 Consortium care enough about blockchain that they are devoting considerable time, energy, and resources to it. We’ve seen increasing globalization since the dawn of the Internet in manufacturing, labor, etc., and we’d expect to see the same with currency over the course of the next decade.
Oliver Carding: Adi, you mentioned in your webinar that early adopters could be seen as market leaders in the future, can you add anything to this point?
Michael Lisse: A blockchain is only as strong as its network. If 3 of the top 5 banks decided to start a blockchain network right now, the other two would have no option but to join them in the future without having much control over the rules around that network since it’s already set up. And the 3 early adopters would lay down the path of how transactions would be done and thus be market leaders.
Oliver Carding: Why did you choose to use Ethereum over other options?
Michael Lisse: Ethereum is rapidly developing and is one of the best implementations of the smart contract model which overcomes a lot of the limitations of other platforms. For current 3Pillar clients, Ethereum is the best platform available for their needs.
Adi Chikara: The blockchain tools space is changing very rapidly and choosing the right tools depends a lot of on the problem you are trying to solve. Ethereum for us is not a solution to every problem, but it does provide the right balance for a lot of applications. It’s a strong framework but additional tools available within the Etherum community like Mist, alethzero, the Ether.Camp IDE, and BlockApps deploy resources make Ethereum one of the most viable options for production applications, especially considering the launch of Homestead.
Oliver Carding: Among others, Manu Sporney of W3C and Edan Yago of Epiphyte have discussed the need for standardised practices (Schemas, standards) within blockchain development. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think this is required? Do you think it should be handled by the likes of W3C? And do you think it would benefit the community?
Adi Chikara: Standardising practice is a crucial part of ensuring the success of blockchain and is also needed for the enterprise sector to use blockchain more broadly. At the same time, we need to ensure innovation is not suffering because of it and the standardising community is a diverse group. I personally like the W3C model but I’m not sure we are there yet to create such a consortium for blockchain.
Thanks to Adi & Michael. Find out more about 3Pillar Labs here: http://Labs.3PillarGlobal.com