Blockers to Blockchain Series: The Vernacular of Blockchain

Blockchain
The first in a series of insights demystifying blockchain technology.

Subject of thought by Jennifer Zimnowski

We’ve been fortunate to partner with a few Blockchain organizations lately. Organizations that are looking to understand and attract an audience that has previously misunderstood them and the technology. Organizations that have a desire to create a credible and trustworthy reputation. Organizations that are trying to break into and promote the application of blockchain technology into mainstream Enterprise.

The numbers and stats seem to support this interest and growth in the domain as well.

Enterprise Blockchain adoption is on the rise: 81 of the top 100 public companies were using blockchain technology as of Q4 2021. VC funding contributed an investment of 23.8B into Blockchain in 2021 and we’re trending to beat this in 2022. Executives like Roger Bartlet, formerly of Goldman Sachs, with a history of building their careers in more traditional industries seem to be taking the leap for something new with Blockchain.

The signals indicate we are climbing the adoption curve in support of mainstream Blockchain application with more and more organizations dipping their big toe into piloting or concepting the technology. Yet, perception continues to be a barrier. Blockchain is still considered risky and complex. The value propositions, while compelling are not entirely clear:

  • Authenticating, tracking and tracing product and asset origins - lots of supply chain potential.
  • Improvements to the securitization process reducing inefficiencies and the burdens of due diligence
  • Automating the execution and distribution of contracts

Foundationally, the technology rubs up against barriers and lacks clear practices needed to create value at scale.

Being advocates of and seeing value in the technology, we thought we’d explore a few ideas in a series of articles to potentially break the barriers in search of opportunity for the newest [technology] kid on the block: Blockchain. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll talk through

Arming leaders with confidence to explore the benefits of Blockchain. Developing a clear strategy with achievable ROI How to attract the right talent needed to develop and deliver products using Blockchain

To kick off this series, we’ll start with a very simple, but often overlooked barrier to anything new: Language.

Blockchain is a complicated and complex technology and just like anything at inception, unless it’s easily understood and the value is obvious, inciting interest is difficult. Couple the complexity with words like Mempool, DeFi, Gas, Mining, Staking, Proof of Stake, Liquid Stake. Words that simultaneously conjure images of San Francisco in the 1850s, the Oklahoma Land Rush (or Far and Away), and a high school chemistry class. The dual meanings, shortening and blending of terms, idioms and acronyms cause confusion and prevent comprehension and understanding. Any time industry jargon is used outside of the industry, you should expect a lot to be lost in translation.

There is certainly a culture within Blockchain. Perhaps at the beginning, the language was a unifying and identifying factor. Enabling people within the community to talk about the technology quickly and effectively. A IYKYK situation. Or perhaps the community uses language to weed out the unsophisticated noobs in order to avoid wasting time with anyone not as serious about the technology.

The reality is, in order for Blockchain to reach the tipping point of adoption and prove the opportunities that the technology could potentially reward, the language needs to be reconsidered. The topic needs to be easily communicated so that larger audiences understand the value. Rather than separating out the mainstream, a focus on engaging the nonexperts should be a priority.

Come up with a way to explain the value proposition that everyone can understand

Talk in simple language. No jargon

Use visual methods of communication: diagrams and pictures

Create How To’s and/ or informational content to further explain concepts

Not only will communication inclusiveness expand the Blockchain community, we’ll foster more innovation with more ideas, applications and considerations surrounding the domain.

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