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  • Peter Kam Fai Cheung SBS

Unlock Blockchain

In August, 2017, two MIT Sloan School of Management Fellows had a telephone conference with me about the business potential of the decentralised ledger technology (DLT) or blockchain, and today, we discussed face-to-face in Hong Kong. As every blockchain-backed transaction is time-stamped with digital signature, delivering authenticity and verifiability, I believe DLT can capture value by disrupting the conventional mode of payment and by enhancing (intangible) asset tracking.

In the smart DLT environment, how can smart entrepreneurs get smarter in strategizing, executing and refining business models? Do they have to worry about the DLT standard and other possible regulatory requirements? What should be the conceptual and structural framework in identifying and recognizing the business application trend so that they can capitalize on it timely?

To unlock blockchain, DLT business applications can deliver specific value in financial transactions by enhancing cash or cryptocurrency flows at a relatively low cost and risk when compared with the high cost in knowing your customer. Traditional financial institutions that resist or hesitate to move with the times will lose the market share, just like traditional photography losing out to digital photography. Conditions are also ripe to design and build other DLT derivative business solutions such as global e-licensing or e-trading of virtual goods, facilitating global copyright compliance.

I believe that standards and norms that are being developed through practice by pioneering DLT service platform providers and independent users would be gradually accepted as having law-like characteristics. Whether in "unpermissioned" or "permissioned" DLT platforms, they can govern themselves by evolving best practices in the dynamic context, pre-ampting the need for static international intervention. The success story of ICANN's Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy in the field of registration of domain names is very relevant here!

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