After the dizzying heights and profound optimism of 2017, 2018 will be remembered as a reality check for the blockchain industry and cryptocurrency enthusiasts alike. Countless projects looked to capitalise on the technology and raised billions of dollars from hopeful investors in ICO funding, without any consideration as to whether the solutions they offered required the use of blockchain.
There has also been an underestimation by many of the complexity around implementing the technology in proposed projects. This has, at least in part, caused one of the most formidable bear markets in cryptocurrency history. These huge price drops are an adjustment in value for projects with no chances of delivering on their promises of 2017 and this also impacts Bitcoin and other crypto-assets because the markets are correlated.
Over 1,000 projects have already capitulated and failed in 2018. The question is whether government-backed blockchain hubs, providing a support network for blockchain projects to lean on, could have prevented these collapses. The reality is that governments are more inclined to bail out established institutions, like multinational banks, than pioneers and blockchain innovators. Furthermore, many of these projects raised far too much funding to warrant such protective measures. The ones that required protection the most were not the projects, but rather the investors themselves. This protection should have come in the form of education to help them develop an understanding of the associated risks, to better inform their investment decisions. Therein lies the clearest opportunity for collaboration between governments and industry.
Industry-led educational initiatives are indispensable in not only explaining the nuanced concepts of blockchain technology but also in ensuring that investors know exactly what they are doing when they invest and how to do so safely. Unfortunately, awareness of certain projects is limited to the blockchain space, with outside investors lacking the core understanding needed to make informed investment decisions. The validation of projects that would inevitably stem from collaboration with governments could help people make investment decisions grounded in a stronger understanding of the project and the technology as a whole.
In fact, governments should be eager to incorporate blockchain into their educational curriculums. The world’s most progressive universities such as MIT, Stanford, and UCL, just to name a few, have all been making inroads with this regard along with more technical educational institutions such as the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute. The message is clear; blockchain technology is becoming a pillar of the future economy. Governments that truly want to provide their young citizens with the best chance of succeeding in workplaces in increasingly cutting-edge industries such as blockchain, should be doing all they can to broaden the access to education on the technology as far and wide as possible. With this approach, government’s have the opportunity to assertively position their country as a blockchain hub in the future, benefiting citizens and businesses alike.
As things stand, such education is reserved for top-tier universities and vocational institutions, such as the CFA, but it should be available to everyone. Not only is there a clear need for it, with the distinct shortage of talent that understand the technology, but projects in the space are eager to support any government initiatives to do so and many companies currently outside of the blockchain ecosystem are actively exploring the technology. We are experiencing an increasing amount of blockchain projects willingly creating educational content and investing money to support students who are eager to learn and research the technology.
These initiatives are not developed for the benefit of a single company or project, they are done to selflessly push the technology forward as a whole while giving those who are interested in entering the space the best possible opportunities to do so. Blockchain technology is in its infancy and the efforts of those in the space, especially blockchain application platforms like Lisk, revolve around laying the foundations to enable creativity, innovation, and enterprise so that the younger generation can begin toying with the technology and creating the concepts that will truly change the world. The lack of accessible blockchain education represents a landmark opportunity for government-industry collaboration, not only to support aspiring blockchain projects but to support the aspiring blockchain pioneers that will shape the future.
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