Blockchain requires less common sense, and more sense less common

Updated: Nov 11, 2018

By Paul Armstrong (TipoTapp Co-Founder)

Anyone working with technology since 2009 was likely aware of bitcoin in its early days and is now kicking themselves. If you missed out on becoming a bitcoin millionaire then you may be now thinking - sure as anything - you are not going to miss the next wave! It is a wave that leverages the underlying technology that made the bitcoin cryptocurrency a success - blockchain.

What to do? What useful purpose does blockchain have? If you are asking yourself this, then you are not alone.

In the last 2 years more than 50,000 new projects involving blockchain have been committed to GitHub. That is a staggering amount. However, more staggering is that 92% of these projects have been abandoned.

Blockchain for many (very many), is a solution looking for a problem.

Typically, when given this type of information many people and organisations will act cautiously. Analysis becomes more important than development.

The problem is that is entirely the wrong response to what is a complex opportunity in a chaotic world.

Research in the field of complexity theory (which may sound pointy-headed, but is easier to apply than you think) is clear on the difference between what types of problems require what types of approaches.

With blockchain, we are dealing with the “unknown unknowns”. That is, only in retrospect can we determine what the best solutions or uses are. Which explains, my non-millionaire friend, why you are now looking back and seeing that bitcoin made sense.

Organisations that believe that they can use upfront analysis to find the best uses for blockchain are wasting their money. They are wasting money in large amounts of upfront analysis and any resulting development which, in all likelihood, will fail. Worse, this ‘common sense’ approach will perpetuate beyond the first failure. Rinse and repeat will be common here and failure will beget more failure.

Then, because people believe their approach is right, they look for other things to blame. Here another norm kicks-in; people stop asking why things are failing and find someone to blame. That, my non-millionaire friend, is you. It is the analyst who gets blamed; not the approach. You are blamed and replaced.

A new way

What you need to do is going to sound very counter-intuitive, especially to people wedded to ‘common sense’. Let’s call it ‘sense less common’. You need to go hard at your development and soft on the upfront analysis.

The cynefin framework unpicks complexity theory and lays out the difference between complicated problems (which upfront analysis can solve) and complex problems (which upfront analysis can’t solve).

For complex problems, like what to do with blockchain, cynefin describes an approach of probe-sense-respond. For technology, this translates to MVP-test-evolve.

The minimal viable product (MVP) is the technologist’s probe. It is designed to venture into the wild to interact with your target consumers. With an MVP you are investing as little as possible to collect as much data as possible.

This data allows you to learn. Did people use the product in the way you expected? What did not work? What can stay and what must go? Moreover, what will you test next?

This constant evolution, with bouts of testing and evaluating, sounds costly. Also, an MVP used by your actual consumer must also reflect your brand quality and security values.

However, it does not have to be costly, nor compromise you on security and quality if you choose the right combination of technologies.

Technology for sense less common is unique in its ability to take an idea to market at speed, allowing businesses to test a fully featured SaaS solution with their consumers. It includes enterprise-grade security, a material-design user interface, JavaScript programming, low-touch mobile deployment, and a serverless architecture, which allows you to leverage the best of AWS. It provides a unique combination of features that make it the ideal technology to provide a mature enterprise-grade experience and at speed; the speed you need to MVP-test-evolve.

Tipotapp can be used with or without blockchain. For blockchain use cases we recommended Corda from Corda is available both in open source and enterprise versions; allowing you to gain support once you have gone beyond MVP. Corda also has a unique ‘firewall’ deployment architecture. Being able to be deployed behind a corporate firewall opens up further blockchain use cases and customers. We have tested Tipotapp with Corda and found the integration to be easy and fast, thanks in large part to Tipotapp’s own unique integration capabilities.

Tipotapp with Corda. A unique combination that together make sense less common. Together creating opportunities from the otherwise complex in a chaotic world.