The Most Disruptive Innovations Come from Major Crises
Welcome to April’s edition of Tokeny Insights. With COVID-19 causing so much suffering in the world it’s difficult to find a silver lining, but perhaps it’s possible to find solace by looking at history. Times of crisis have always led to innovations.
In 1941, Alan Turing became a huge asset for the Allies when he cracked the complex Enigma code and successfully decoded German communications. By the end of the war, Turing was working on the notion that a machine could plug into the speed and resilience of electronic technology. Hardware was developed, programming implemented and computer science was born.
Times of crisis have acted as a catalyst for innovations to be used in the wider public. Having said that, technologies still take time and significant education to be adopted on a mainstream basis, even the ones we use without thinking today. In 1977, Citibank invested more than $100 million in the installation of ATMs in New York, seen as a huge gamble at the time. The decision paid off when the city was hit by a blizzard forcing banks to close. ATM use rose by 20%. However, the first ATM had opened in London ten years before, showing that innovations are sometimes adopted through necessity.
Maybe COVID-19 is what blockchain technology needs to rise. Let’s not forget, Bitcoin was created in 2008 as a reaction to the monetary policies implemented that year. With the crisis this year, behaviours are already changing. Remote working means digital tools are needed more now than ever. Small and large businesses alike are beginning to move towards a more digitized system of payments and operations. More and more providers like Revel Systems are offering easy integration of their POS and contact-less payment platforms into current business processes, which makes moving to a cloud-based enterprise less complex. Investors have suddenly realised that their assets cannot move as fast as they would like. Many are over-exposed and cannot do much about it.
Blockchain technology enables the digital transfer of value, and is fast becoming the best answer to this issue. In a time of crisis the lack of trust between stakeholders will drastically intensify: blockchain will bring transparency and executable trust.