Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, calls for a system of transparent governance for blockchain in a recent Wall Street Journal Commentary. Rometty predicts that blockchain, once widely adopted, will transform the world. She notes what readers of this blog already know, that financial institutions have become the early adopters of distributed ledger technologies. However, blockchain’s potential is much, much greater than in fintech alone. For example, IBM has estimated that applying blockchain to global supply chains could result in more than $100 billion in annual efficiencies. She describes projects in which blockchain is used in car leasing and ride-sharing in order to speed up the transactions and cut out newly-redundant intermediaries like Uber and Lyft.
In order for us to achieve all of the vast potential of blockchain, Rometty argues that the new technology needs a system of transparent governance developed by not-for-profit groups similar to the way the internet was developed in the 1990s. She notes that IBM and more than 600 firms have joined or applied to join the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. Hyperledger is attempting to create communities of software developers building blockchain frameworks and platforms to ensure the transparency, longevity, interoperability and support needed to bring blockchain into mainstream commercial adoption. Rometty believes this effort will give businesses the confidence to widely adopt blockchain.
Rometty’s final challenge to readers is to ask themselves, are they going to be the disrupter or the disrupted when it comes to blockchain.