In the recent years, blockchain technologies, and cryptocurrencies were taking the world by storm, and blockchain technology was thought to be the next generation of fintech infrastructure.
Blockchain technology’s high efficiency, low costs, and high security have been discussed and explored by various industry experts and intellectuals.
Many experts believe that the world is going through ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution,’ that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has ever experienced.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairperson of the World Economic Forum (WEF), stated in his article The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond to the fact that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will have effects on customer expectations, product enhancement, collaborative innovation, and organisational forms as a result of new business models.
Daily News Egypt sat down for an interview with Lina Hediah, the executive director MENA, Consensys, to get a better understanding of how can blockchain technology affect the region, the way we do business, and the industry’s latest updates.
Hediah has extensive expertise in financial technology, specialised in payments, compliance and risk management solutions. The transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:
Will blockchain become our new internet? In terms of impact?
We believe blockchain as a technology will indeed have a long-lasting transformational impact and an enablement of the next technological leap. The internet allowed the exchange of information, whereas blockchain allows the exchange of value, which leaps into the future opening up unprecedented possibilities.
We call blockchain the internet of value, and we truly believe it will be the fourth industrial revolution.
Can you mention what can be different about Ethereum?
Ethereum offered a substantial paradigm change with Smart Contracts opening up the world of self-executing legally binding code. The potential is dramatic, especially, when we let our imagination couple this with other emerging technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), and AI (Artificial Intelligence).
Ethereum was the first blockchain to open up the world of smart contracts, and at present it enjoys the largest base of software developers in the world, nearing 250,000 developers and growing strong.
How can Egypt, MENA region benefit from blockchain technologies?
Egypt is an established leader in the MENA region on many fronts, and technology is one of them. The countries here can benefit from leapfrogging by adopting the latest technologies—such as blockchain—and not having the burden of deeply rooted legacy systems. This gives a whole new edge and is an enabler of rapid adoption. The economies of Egypt and MENA stand to open up to huge growth potential by adopting such an innovation, on many levels, starting with the most important aspect in my opinion—human capital development, where these countries—and especially, Egypt, are very rich and well equipped in. Other uncontested benefits would span economic growth, and modernisation of all aspects starting with Smart Cities of the future, where all new developments in Egypt can benefit from.
How can blockchain technologies improve business conduct?
As mentioned previously, blockchain enables the safe, secure, and non-repudiable transfer and exchange of value. This is a huge step forward, where the value of all kinds and in all verticals and aspects of life can be easily interchanged. This means efficiency, finality, speed, and an ever-large liquidity pool.
From title deeds to commercial contracts, all stores of value will benefit from this new technology. At present, the applications spanning payments, financial services, real estate, supply chains, and many others are enjoying a development boom and products bringing this edge to the various vertical sectors and industries.
In your point of view, what can you tell us about blockchain’s near-term future?
The blockchain is a transformational technology and an enabler of change in all areas of life and business. However, such a change will not happen overnight, it will take several years for the various applications and use cases to take hold, and for the benefits to unravel. Also, integration and interfacing with existing solutions and systems is a requirement for new blockchain applications to have a wider impact.
We believe by 2019 we will start to witness the coming of age of several use cases, in many sectors and verticals. So far, a lot of experimentation and sandboxing is happening, and all those efforts will surely take hold as we go along.
Can you tell us more about ConsenSys’s scope of activities?
ConsenSys is the leading Ethereum blockchain company. We are a venture production studio, where we create Dapps products and offer Ethereum based solutions for the market.
We work with Governments, corporates, and enterprises to place and develop strategies, as well as projects and product implementations for blockchain use cases, which would have a positive transformational impact.
We also engage strongly with the community, events, meetups, hackathons, and we work with all academic and educational institutions to drive awareness and adoption of Ethereum and the large benefits, which would arise from the adoption of blockchain.
We also work closely with regulators to put together best practice around blockchain strategies and its adoption, to ensure a healthier and more sustainable environment, where this revolutionary technology can thrive, and where customers are informed and protected.
What challenges do you face as a woman in a tech environment typically dominated by men?
I have had a wonderful journey and career in technology, and I believe I am quite fortunate to have this passion for a domain which keeps offering new advances and constant developments.
I am also quite aware that this is an industry which is mainly male-dominated, however, this was never a challenge or a weakness of any sort.
I am a firm believer in merit and excellence, and whenever people—male or female—believe and love what they do, chances are they will make a difference and get ahead for sure.