ARYZE has interviewed Danish top 100 talent Sidsel Rytter Løschenkohl of Everledger about the future of blockchain. She compares blockchain to the Internet anno 1995.
Sidsel Rytter Løschenkohl is a Danish blockchain talent that featured on the 2019 Berlingske Talent 100 list being called an “energetic blockchain specialist“. Her passion for blockchain dates back to when she started working for Saxo Bank in 2015, “just around the time when every bank wanted to say that they were involved with the technology”.
Blockchain sort-of became my hobby, a passion that has only grown since, and I project managed my first blockchain project while working at another bank, Nordea, which sought to explore how blockchain could be used to improve the customer onboarding experience.
I decided to leave the bank life for a career exclusively in blockchain, and until earlier this year I worked as a Blockchain Consultant at the Deloitte EMEA Blockchain Lab, where my “tag line” so to say would be that I helped clients – predominantly in the financial sector understand, explore, and deliver value with blockchain technology. Deloitte gave me some really good experience in both strategy and software delivery, as well as the challenges you face when implementing blockchain.
After leaving Copenhagen the 28-year-old Løschenkohl lived in Dublin, Ireland whilst working with blockchain for Deloitte. Now she is in London working as a Technical Project Manager & Business Analyst for Everledger that develops and deploys blockchain and emerging technology solutions to markets where provenance matters.
You have worked with blockchain in Ireland and now London whilst having a connection to Copenhagen. Is there a difference between how the scene is developing in the different cities? You are new to London, but can you describe the blockchain scene?
It is very evident that there’s a ton of blockchain events and conferences taking place here every day. In my opinion, London really is the most exciting place to be if you’re interested in blockchain; and tons of exciting startups and major corporations, financial institutions and investors are based here.
How do you think the technology will be used in 10 years and how will it change the world – if at all?
I like to explain blockchain as an operating system – and Bitcoin as the first of many applications that run on that system.
A platform is – in a technological context – a base upon which other applications, processes, or technologies are developed and run – Bitcoin being one of them.
One of the most unique features of blockchain is that is peer-to-peer – which allows for information (this can be just about anything!) to be recorded, shared, and maintained by a community.
To me blockchain is so interesting because of what it represents – a dramatic shift in business;
Blockchain allows participants of a network to reach agreement on the validity of data, without intermediaries. Blockchain represents not only a dramatic shift in how businesses will manage transactions in the future, but also how they structure their internal operations going forward, because for the first time, participants of distributed systems do not need intermediaries to secure transfers of ownership.
Right now we are in the early days – many in the industry compare 2019 to 1995 – and just like in the early days of the Internet, many people remain sceptic about its future. Today, you would hardly hear anyone talk about how their app or business runs on “the Internet” – it just does. In 10 years I imagine the same will be true for blockchain – no one will be talking about the technology but rather about the value that can be generated with it.
It might sound ‘grand’ but a future powered by blockchain involves everything from fixing capitalism, making the world a more democratic place, where the data of everything – the new oil – is shared fairly and freely, and the breaking down of old hierarchies and structures, to making our lives more sustainable and protecting the environment.
Which sectors do you believe will be changed by blockchain and how?
Although the financial services and healthcare industries might have been “forced” to explore blockchain technology, due to dissatisfaction from consumers, in part because of rising digital expectations, inefficiencies, complexity, and skyrocketing costs of doing business, partly due to heavy regulation; blockchain technology offers advantages to all industries that want to (or have to) improve efficiency, security, and make its data – or operations – more transparent. The question is just when and how…
What will be challenges that can obstruct the influence / penetration of blockchain?
As with anything that represents major change in business, we will continue to meet resistance. Especially in “opaque industries” that have thrived for decades, or centuries, by keeping others in the dark.
Another major obstacle is the involvement of multiple – often many – players. Blockchain really is a team sport, and aligning large numbers of stakeholder takes time and requires a multilateral approach.