The 2018 North American Blockchain Expo made three points very clear:
1. Blockchain is here to stay
2. The field is evolving quickly
3. The field is still young and has a lot of growth potential
With over 13,000 attendees, and nearly 400 exhibitors, the 2018 North American Blockchain Expo is the largest blockchain expo of the year. As an epicenter of corporate innovation, the conference attracts some of the world’s largest companies. This year, there were representatives from IBM, Cisco, Intel, Google, Tesla, BP, Disney, Boeing, GE, Target, Mercedes-Benz, and many more. These companies come to see the new ideas being generated by startups — and new ideas were everywhere.
The trendiest topic at the the expo this year seemed to be low-energy sensing and analytics. The chip manufacturer ARM was showcasing its new low-power operating system for use in distributed smart devices. Another project was exploring how to move an OS across smart devices. And Psikick, one of Hypernet’s Silicon Valley neighbors, is producing batteryless sensors which can be deployed worry-free to collect data over long time periods in remote places.
These low-energy plays all indicate an industry-wide shift towards IOT technology and analytics as companies strive to collect ever more data in a cost-effective manner. Hypernet is well-positioned to capitalize on this industry shift by providing a uniquely robust method for analyzing the tidal wave of data that will be produced by these low-energy IOT devices.
As expected, the expo also featured many companies which were still defining their value and differentiation in the market. It seemed like you could arrange the words AI, neural networks, deep learning, and blockchain in any order and there was a company there with that name. Other companies were clearly doing there best to rise to the top of an overcrowded sector. Precious assets (gold, diamonds, silver…) backed blockchains were around every corner of the expo auditorium. While the value proposition of this niche is clear and intuitive, realistically, this sector can only support a handful of companies. This market saturation is a good sign for the industry as a whole, because it indicates that there is a lot of potential for blockchain technology.
In any industry, intense competition produces winners and losers. In fifty years most of the startups featured at the 2018 Blockchain Expo will no longer exist. However, there are likely a select few which will stick around. These are the projects which are currently focusing on product development. Creating a fantastic user-friendly product which solves a real world issue is the only long term path to success. It is exciting to think that those companies — the ones currently in the throes of product development and going to market — might become the next Google, Amazon, or Facebook, and usher in the new technological paradigm which is made possible by blockchain technology.