Issue: Beyond’s Top Influential Educational Experts Making a Difference, 2020

Blockchain is Advancing with Blockchain Research Institute

The function and operation of blockchain technology has advanced from bitcoin blockchain to its application in businesses, education and more varied industries. Blockchain technology is an open distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties. As businesses have recognized the scope and importance of blockchain, they have started developing new techniques to utilize this fascinating technology to increase efficiency in verification and security. Advancing this technology to whole new level is the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI). As we share a special interview with Don Tapscott, co-founder and executive chairman of the BRI, we are certain that the insightful information shared by the expert himself will render an elaborative know-how about blockchain.

➢ What led to the foundation of the “BRI”? What seeded the vision to enter blockchain industry?

In 2016, my son Alex Tapscott and I co-authored Blockchain Revolution, arguing that the technology with the promise to really form the foundation of the next era of the internet was this new technology underlying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. We argued that this represents nothing less than the second era of the internet – an Internet of value – where everything of value can be transacted securely and efficiently online, without the need for intermediaries.

The book was very successful – it’s been published in nearly 20 languages now – but it also created as many questions as it did answers. So, in 2017, we founded the BRI to explore the specific use-cases, opportunities, and implementation challenges for blockchain in the enterprise. 

What were the initial challenges and setbacks that the “BRI” faced? How did you overcome it?

When we first wrote the book, and even when the BRI was just getting started, most people weren’t even aware of what this whole ‘blockchain’ thing was! It took some time to find a group of large enterprise form around the world with the foresight to know this technology had enormous implications for them and were interested in understanding it more.

What prompted the idea to enter this industry? How has been the journey so far since the inception of the “BRI”?

Like I mentioned, we wanted to dive deeper into some of what was discussed in Blockchain Revolution. Since that time, it’s grown into something much larger. We went from 40 members to over 80, with well over 100 research projects focusing on 14 different industry verticals.

Tell us in brief about the services of the “BRI”.

 The BRI brings together some of the world’s leading thinkers in enterprise blockchain to complete a syndicated research program – complete with over 300 deliverables from comprehensive research reports, to infographics and video content, to Summits, webinars, and conferences. The goal is to arm enterprise leaders with everything they need to navigate and accelerate the blockchain revolution.

What is the vision of the company and key factors that distinguish you from the lot? What are initial steps to keep you and your employees motivated?

We’re the largest independent think tank of our type in this ecosystem. The highly open, collaborative nature of our membership is a big source of strength – we work to expand on our research and build networks for innovation and adoption within our member ecosystem.

Give us a brief of your life before the “BRI”, your dreams and aspirations while growing up?

When I was Chancellor of Trent University in Ontario, one of the key pieces of advice I would give to graduates was to strive toward living a meaningful life of consequence in everything they do. In my work, much of that has derived from new ideas and concepts on the intersection of business and digital technology. Blockchain Revolution was the sixteenth book I published, but I think the theme among all my work – from Wikinomics to Paradigm Shifts – has been understanding how new technologies can help improve not just business, but the world around us.

What is the future of blockchain and how has it changed over the years?

In the past year alone, I think we’ve seen more enterprise adoption of blockchain than in the ten years prior that it has existed. There’s an understanding now that blockchain means more than just cryptocurrencies – it’s the platform for building trust that this new, global economy needs.

What are the plans of expansion of the “BRI”? How do you plan to widespread globally?

We want to continue to build upon the success of the last two years by allowing everyone, not just large companies, to benefit from our research and thought leadership. We recently released a series of online courses in partnership with Coursera and INSEAD, that provides everyone with the knowledge they need to navigate the blockchain revolution. That was a long time in the making, and I couldn’t be happier with some of the reviews.

What are your individual plans going ahead? What does the future hold for Don Tapscott and the “BRI”?

There’s much more work to be done! The BRI’s membership is continuing to grow, and our suite of services and research is expanding with it. I’ve always been a supporter of the idea that the future is not something to be predicted but achieved. We’re working with industry leaders around the world to help achieve the future set out in Blockchain Revolution and will continue to do so!

Blockchain technology is developing gradually and many industries have adopted to this new and improved dimension of innovation. Blockchain Research Institute is steaming ahead to find new solutions and progressive ideas for the development of businesses through blockchain. The future of technology is sure to take a new revolutionary shape and the change starts today.

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