Blockchain, or any technology for the matter, is not finished and it will keep evolving, according to Jehan Chu, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Hong Kong-based blockchain investment company Kenetic Capital.
He also said that while blockchain itself cannot achieve any social impact, it can be used to achieve the goal in emerging countries like India if used properly, he said in an interaction with e27 in Hyderabad on Friday.
“Blockchain is an evolving technology, and to suggest it is already finished is just ridiculous,” Chu said responding to an expert view that it is already outdated. “The potential of this technology is enormous, and if used properly it can be used to achieve a great social impact.”
He was in the city to speak at the first International Blockchain Congress, jointly organised by the Government of India, the state governments of Telangana and Goa, along with Nucleus Vision, a provider of blockchain solutions for retailers and other ‘brick and mortar’ businesses.
In his view, blockchain is just a technology and there is nothing inherent about it which is going to achieve social impact. It is a tool just like internet; you can use it for good or bad, but it itself cannot do anything.
“Blockchain is all about how people use it. It is a good tool to connect people. By amplifying the ability of individuals and encouraging the economically disadvantaged parties to aggregate power, resource and influence together in a trustless manner at scale, their collective force can be applied to social impact,” he shared.
The ability to create value chain and supply chain information in a transparent way is one of the most important ways we can help the society, he stated. However, there are several other areas, too. “I am quite interested in this idea of selfish sustainability, which is around the idea of giving incentives in terms of crypto currency or tokenised incentives such that we can change people’s behaviours by getting them to act in their own self interest in the short term, but that contributes to the greater good as a result. Now, if you apply that in social impact, I think we can start to change behaviour and focus on sustainability, everything ranging from recycling to incentivising the sharing of information.
Earlier, speaking at the event, Chu said that despite India lagging behind other countries in adoption of blockchain, it has the advantage of using work that has already been done to maximise blockchain’s potential. “In India, you have a clean slate. You don’t have so much of a legacy kind of concept of what Bitcoin necessarily is. You actually have the ability to create government backed, endorsed, as well as socially valuable infrastructure in blockchain technology so that when you are introducing blockchain and cryptocurrency to the wider public, you can do it in a way which is more consistent with the actual potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain and not with just what it started from,” he said.
Started in 2016, Kenetic has invested in over 100 companies across the globe, including Omisego and Bluzelle in Singapore, and Nucleus Vision and Alluma in India. Kenetic is very bullish about India. “We’re not just looking to invest in new projects in India, but are also very bullish about its natural resources such as high technology literacy, high-tech infrastructure, the massive population, and government support. I believe India can be one of backbones of blockchain developments in future.
Chu is also running a non-profit grant-making foundation with chairman Nydia Zhang, called Social Alpha Foundation, dedicated to supporting applications and education related to blockchain and social impact. Chu is also co-founder of Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, Founder of Ethereum HK Meetup, and co-founder of Hyperledger Meetup.