This year, industries across all sectors are looking into how blockchain can benefit their businesses. Despite growing global hype, systematic inequalities remain across the blockchain landscape. As the underlying technology matures, some of these inequalities will be addressed and eventually overcome, while other inequalities are a product of market forces and are deeper and more complex. These inequalities require unprecedented solutions. Although blockchain undoubtedly offers a dramatic and provocative future, businesses and technology stakeholders alike must understand the risks they might encounter and what a successful pivot could require.
From an investment perspective, the most exciting aspect of the ongoing blockchain revolution is undoubtedly the initial coin offering (ICO), which has captured the attention of alternative investors and technologist across the globe. Even though this new capital raising mechanism has yet to be fully defined by government regulators, increased capital continues to flow into new projects. In a seemingly clear rebuke to the modern venture capital based funding model, new companies are motivated to raise greater capital sums without exchanging any formal ownership or obligation to coin or token investors. Likewise, coin or token investors are attracted to the opportunity to invest in blockchain ventures sooner than previously available without having to prove that they are accredited. ICOs enjoy global market access to investors, enabling them to raise unprecedented amounts of capital — in some cases raising several hundred million dollars in hours or days.