Vinay Mohan, ConsenSys: Blockchain is About the Reassignment of Trust

By Jack Filiba


“I don't think blockchain stands for disruption as much as it does for the reassignment of trust.”

Ahead of LongHash’s upcoming DLT Compass conference in Singapore, we conducted a series of interviews about how governments and enterprises are leveraging blockchain technology. The above quote is from Vinay Mohan, the Head of ConsenSys in the Asia-Pacific region.

We asked Mohan how blockchain technology — often thought of as a tool to disrupt trusted institutions — should be viewed by enterprises and governments in the modern world. Mohan, who works for a blockchain-focused company with hundreds of employees, brought an interesting perspective to the question.

“Enterprise or government audiences may not require systems that are as maximally decentralized as public Ethereum or Bitcoin in order to get the benefit of increased trust,” he said.

At the same time, Mohan acknowledged that organizations should clarify their intentions when participating  in the blockchain movement. Governments and enterprises, he said, should clarify what they hope to stand for, and how they hope to remain relevant, in a world where trust is reassigned amongst peers.

Disputes about what defines a “real” blockchain can be harmful

Proponents of blockchain and decentralized technologies are often critical of private blockchain implementations. Some purists say that such implementations resemble a distributed database, rather than a “real” blockchain.

“We are at a nascent stage with blockchain as well as with wider constructs such as decentralization and trust,” said Mohan. “Drawing sharp distinctions between what is or isn't 'real' can hurt valuable experiments and projects that run on permissioned [and/or] private blockchains.”

“This is an evolutionary journey and just as how intranets were a proving ground for the evolution of the World Wide Web, private and permissioned blockchains can hasten the adoption of public networks.”

Still, he said there are clear differences between blockchain technology and some other distributed ledger technologies (DLT) that enterprises should recognize before they begin the implementation process. For instance, there are key differences between a blockchain and “DLT implementations that do not write data into blocks or provide for a crypto-economic substrate.”

The philosophy of decentralization can build trust

“Blockchain is a next-generation database technology that can help build more trustworthy systems, and this trust characteristic comes from decentralization,” said Mohan.

Mohan said that when ConsenSys speaks to enterprises or governments, it often draws attention to the ways in which decentralized platforms are evolving from centralized platforms and sharing economies.

“While this is not an immediate sweeping change (rather, evolutionary), an awareness of the philosophy of decentralization is an important first step for adoption,” he added.

When it comes to successful examples of blockchain implementations by enterprises and governments in the world today, Mohan praised projects like komgo, Project i2i, the AURA consortium, ProjectUbin, and Project Jasper, which is a settlement and central bank digital currency initiative conducted with both Singapore and Canada’s central banking authorities.

DLT Compass is a two-day conference that facilitates innovation by bringing corporations and blockchain projects together. Powered by LongHash, it begins in Singapore on June 6, 2019.

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