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Will Trump in Davos be the elephant in the china shop?
Jan22

Will Trump in Davos be the elephant in the china shop?

Last year I described him as “the elephant not in the room.” This year he’s more likely to be the elephant in the china shop. The World Economic Forum starts in Davos on Monday – and there’s a star attraction, or distraction, in U.S. President Donald Trump. On the agenda of the Monday-to-Friday event: more than 400 sessions, with Mr. Trump scheduled to speak on Friday. On the minds of organizers: collaboration. “We need collaborative efforts,” forum founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said last week. “There is today a real danger of a collapse of our global systems. … It is in our hands to change the state of the world.” Read the full article in The Globe and...

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The Blockchain Research Institute Manifesto: Realizing the new promise of the digital economy
Dec20

The Blockchain Research Institute Manifesto: Realizing the new promise of the digital economy

As many of you already know, my son Alex and I have founded the Blockchain Research Institute to investigate the strategic implications and opportunities created by this new technology. I’ve been asked to explain what we stand for at the institute. As a result, we’ve created this ten-point “Manifesto.” I would love to hear your thoughts! If your company is interested in joining the Blockchain Research Institute, please contact info@tapscott.com. The Blockchain Research Institute Manifesto Blockchain (also known as distributed ledger technology) represents the second era of the Internet; an Internet of value, and not just the value layer on the Internet stack. We’ve never had this capability before – trusted transactions directly between two or more total strangers, authenticated by mass collaboration, and powered by collective cryptography, clever code, and self-interest. It is the culmination of what Alan Turing started, a true paradigm shift ushered in by decentralized ledger technologies. Like the Internet of information before it, blockchain promises to upend business models, disrupt industries for the good, and lower the barriers for entrepreneurs to compete against incumbents. It is pushing us to challenge how we have defined value, funded innovation, structured power, and rewarded participation. However, incumbents should view blockchain not so much as a threat but as a call to action. This technology holds vast promise to solve many of the planet’s problems such as climate change. It also has the potential to address the unintended, unwelcome, or unlawful consequences of the first era, namely the erosion of privacy, security, economic inclusion, intellectual property rights, and freedoms of speech, press, religion, and cultural expression. Central banks should convert their fiat currencies into digital ones, and governments should embrace this technology to improve their operations and increase transparency and accountability for those in office. We believe that government participation and even considered, light-touch regulation will likely have a greater role in preserving both the rights and powers of citizens and consumers. All functions of management will change. We expect this technology to reconfigure the architecture of the firm and the nature of competitiveness. It’s already demonstrating its ability to lower transaction costs and eliminate the third parties needed to establish trust. Competition between the many types of blockchains – permissioned/permissionless, open/closed, with a currency and not, using differing consensus systems and addressing different opportunities – is healthy and will take time to sort out. But protracted standards wars within platforms stall development and burn capital. Without standards, progress will be slow. There is growing hyperbole, volatility, and this rush to innovation will produce countless failures and fraud – all which occur with any new, breakthrough communications medium. But the fundamentals...

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Introducing CarbonX.ca: Fighting Climate Change with Blockchain
Dec08

Introducing CarbonX.ca: Fighting Climate Change with Blockchain

Climate change is indeed one of the critical issues of our time. Business managers should care because ultimately business cannot succeed in a world that’s failing. The recent surge of superstorms that have been battering the Caribbean and the Southern US, the fires in Western Canada, and the extreme flooding experienced in many parts of the world have helped raised awareness of the impact of warming temperatures. I remember a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where Bill Clinton was talking about climate change. He argued that if we were able to decrease global carbon emissions by 80 per cent by the year 2050 it would still take 1000 years for the planet to cool down. In the meantime, he said, you can expect a lot of bad things to happen – like a billion people losing most of their water supply in the next decade. I left the room mind-boggled about the human tragedy that would result – death, migration, wars, and increased terrorism just for starters. Clearly (to anyone who believes in science) climate change is arguably the world’s most daunting challenge. Virtually every scientist now agrees that the debate is over. Rising average surface temperatures combined with rapidly expanding deserts, melting Arctic sea ice caps and ocean acidification now provide unequivocal evidence that human activities are fundamentally altering the Earth’s climate. In fact the planet appears to be changing faster than even the pessimists expected—way faster. For many people, those consequences seem distant, and it’s certainly true that the worst of it will be inherited by future generations. Given the short-term thinking that dominates our political systems, our economy, our capital markets, and our day-to-day decision-making as individuals, it is easy to be dismissive of the notion that humankind will suddenly become motivated by a sense of inter-generational justice to make the deep and difficult adjustments that are required to avert global ecological disruption. It’s one thing for governments or corporations to take action, but more is needed – a global change in human behaviour. But what will it take to cause all of us radically reduce our own carbon footprint? Today, I’m pleased to share news about the launch of our latest initiative, CarbonX. CarbonX has the ambitious mission to combat climate change by using blockchain technology. CarbonX will engage millions of people to help fight climate change by encouraging them to making smart choices about their carbon consumption. The company plans to purchase carbon credits, or invest in carbon reduction programs, then distribute the offsets via major retailers and brands as loyalty tokens that will help incent people to make carbon-friendly decisions in their...

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We invited some of the world’s leading thinkers in blockchain to Toronto. Here’s what they had to say:
Nov28

We invited some of the world’s leading thinkers in blockchain to Toronto. Here’s what they had to say:

In the book Blockchain Revolution, we issued a challenge “to transform the economic power grid and the old order of human affairs for the better.” We had no idea so many people would step up to the plate. The Blockchain Research Institute’s (BRI) first member summit in Toronto last week provides evidence that profound changes are in the works. On November 8 and 9, leaders from over 60 organizations—including the mayor of Toronto, John Tory, and more than one hundred people passionate about the transformative power of the blockchain—joined us to discuss how best to steward this nascent technology. The event opened with a session attended by 350 members, faculty and special invited guests. “There’s a big distinction between hype and reality,” said Michael Casey, co-author of the forthcoming book, The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything. “We are in a bit of a blockchain bubble, and there will be a reckoning,” as there was with dotcoms in 2000. “But it is also a boom, with lots of ideas.” In his keynote address, he explained about how bitcoin “changed the paradigm” for what constitutes value by instantiating the concept of a uniquely identifiable digital asset, which makes digital scarcity possible. It democratized and centralized the assets of finance. “To think that it’s a crazy scam is to miss the opportunity,” he said. Tom Serres and Bettina Warburg of Animal Ventures said that a blockchain future was inevitable. “It’s not necessarily better, but it is inevitable,” said Serres, quoting Kevin Kelly, author of The Inevitable. How this future unfolds, however, is not inevitable. That’s why the theme of our summit was “Navigating the Blockchain Revolution,” to underscore how each member organization could shape this unfolding. We agreed that job number one was to restore trust in our markets and institutions. “Trust is the currency of government,” said Maryantonett Flumian of the Institute of Governance. “Blockchain is all about trust,” said Jerry Cuomo of IBM. It provides a means of creating a single shared and immutable version of the truth that enables us to unlock value, create new opportunities, and minimize risk in our economy. Those are huge benefits. According to Tony Scott, Federal CIO under President Obama, the two big questions are how to modernize and decentralize legacy systems that are centralized and siloed, and how to govern and finance them going forward? The governance of standardization at three levels—platform, application, and industry ecosystem—is critical at this early stage, and BRI members have embraced their role in influencing the development of standards in their domains. Cuomo described how IBM was “dreaming big” about its future in a blockchain-enabled world, and “acting incrementally” to...

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Tapscott named the world’s most influential digital thinker by Thinkers50
Nov16

Tapscott named the world’s most influential digital thinker by Thinkers50

Don Tapscott has been named the world’s most influential leader in digital thinking, as well as the second-most influential living management thinker overall, at the Thinkers50 awards ceremony and gala. Founded in 2001, Thinkers50 provides a definitive list of the 50 most influential thought leaders in the world, published every two years. They also provide special awards for leaders in categories such as strategy, innovation and digital thinking. Previous winners include Peter Drucker, CK Prahalad and Clayton Christenson. This is the ninth publication of the Thinkers50 rankings, and the fourth time Tapscott has been included in the top ten. The number one rank this year was claimed by former Rotman School of Management Dean Roger Martin, making this the first year that both the first and second-place rankings are held by Canadians. At the gala, Don was also honoured with the “Digital Thinkers Award” alongside his son and co-author, Alex Tapscott, recognising them as the most important thinkers about the digital age in the past two years for their work in Blockchain Revolution. “This is, among other things, a vote of confidence from the thought leadership community in the potential of blockchain technology to change management,” said Don Tapscott. “It is my hope that this will encourage even more people to think about the ways blockchain can be used to build a better, more prosperous world for...

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