Yael Tamar is a blockchain strategist, storyteller, speaker, advisor and mentor. In 2017, after a decade-long tenure as a marketing executive and entrepreneur, Yael founded TopOfBlockchain, making sense of blockchain and crypto technologies, helping enterprises integrate blockchain as well as blockchain and crypto ventures educate the market, build the right business and economic models, as well as execute their go-to-market strategy. Yael will be a speaker at MindChain, one of Business Review’s flagship events of 2019 and the biggest event focused on blockchain and AI ever held in Romania, taking place on February 21-22 in Cluj-Napoca.
Business Review talked to Yael to find out more about blockchain and the future of the technology.
Why did you decide to start TopOfBlockchain and how has it been received by the market?
This industry, like any emerging industry, is full of opportunities, but it’s still lacking the applicability and the connection to the real world and it’s pressing challenges. And that’s what we wanted to create. Because we’ve been consulting companies in various industries for over a decade, we were closely familiar with many of the trends and challenges these industries were facing. So we decided to apply our expertise in bringing blockchain to the masses by helping blockchain platform and solution companies to find their audience and find a product-market fit, as well as help mainstream companies integrate blockchain platforms and apps in their solution or offering where appropriate. We are leading international projects in several fields and we’ve bridged connections with a variety of global ecosystem partners, including startups, business communities and ecosystems, enterprises, governments, security and cloud providers, KYC/AML companies, regulation and taxation professionals, as well as executives in various fields.
Blockchain technology was invented about 20 years ago, but it only became popular with the launch of cryptocoins. How big is blockchain’s influence on businesses, or how big will it be? When can we expect the “blockchain transformation” and how will it integrate into the digital transformation?
Even in the bear market for crypto, there’s still a rush to create innovative companies that will leverage the potential they see in blockchain to build a system that is both efficient and ready to cash in on the current blockchain trend.
Here are a few ways that we see blockchain impacting businesses, starting in the very near future:
- More than just hype – There’s definitely a ton of buzz around the cryptocurrency market right now. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to it. After the hype subsides, there will be a natural leveling out process, and businesses will start to see the true applications as well as a more marked differentiation between all the competing coins on the market.
- More stable and secure digital assets – Blockchain technology may be on the fringes now, but the tech is targeting the big fish, including large banks and other financial institutions, and sooner or later, a few will start biting. Once that starts happening, even if all the traditional banks don’t shift to blockchain, it will irrevocably change the way we all interact with our money.
- Smart Contracts – Use of the blockchain ensures that all transactions are validated and recorded, ensuring reliability and security, and opening the door to smart contracts, enforcing transactions in a wide range of digital asset-based fields like insurance, media, and health.
- Streamlined payments – Unlike with conventional transactions, blockchain transactions don’t need to involve a third party or central authority, so peer-to-peer transactions can be simpler and smoother.
- Personal recordkeeping – Valuable documentation including identification, property titles and deeds, along with passwords, can be securely shared on a public ledger without being disclosed to any unauthorized parties.
- Supply chain status – Supply chain management becomes more visible and secure with blockchain-based status updates in real time.
- Real estate – From land registries streamlining transactions to fractional real estate investments driving funds to real estate and enabling more investors to get into the space, real estate-based security tokens is one of the most promising trends of 2019.
Just as the process of digitization took over a decade (and longer for regulated industry players, such as banks and insurance companies), we don’t expect for blockchain transformation to be complete overnight. This process will take time as blockchain platforms overcome their own challenges, associated with regulatory compliance, security, usability, as well as the technology itself which is constantly changing and improving.
Will blockchain change (or significantly influence) banking systems?
Yes! Blockchain is the answer to questions everyone in fintech is asking: problems that have existed all along with traditional banks and financial organizations. Blockchain has the potential to save billions of dollars over traditional banking models, in part by lowering the costs and the amount of time it takes to process transactions. Beyond faster transactions and better record keeping, blockchain also has the promise to actually increase security because it’s based around granular permissions for the use of personal data and other bulletproof security measures. There are additional services that banks provide that can be improved with blockchain, such as the banks’ handling of debt. We are looking into tokenizing mortgages to allow banks to trade these securities and increase their asset liquidity. We are also looking into blockchain-based P2P loans and using blockchain to collateralize various assets.
How is Israel’s environment for blockchain technologies? What advantages does Israel have compared to other countries for attracting companies from this field?
Global professional services firm Deloitte has called Israel a “hotspot for blockchain innovation.” It’s the world’s second-best entrepreneurial ecosystem and a center for disruptive innovation, driven in part by a strong defense industry, technological military units and cutting-edge academic institutes, which has already made it a hub for startups and high-tech innovation.
Israel also has a vibrant, healthy business ecosystem, making this an extraordinary entry point for blockchain startups. Not to mention the vast wealth of experience here in the fields of fintech, cyber and cryptography.
There have been a lot of comparisons to Silicon Valley over the years, in part because of the high percentage of GDP that goes towards research and development and a culture which embraces startups, making this country a rising force in the world of blockchain and technological innovation as a whole. The science, high-tech, innovation, and finance communities here are also very tightly-knit, and regular meetings of blockchain professionals, all driving the further pursuit of excellence in this growing field.
Are big enterprises and corporations around the world interested in the development and adoption of blockchain technologies?
Last year, Forbes Investing tweeted that the top ten biggest companies in the world are all exploring blockchain for various projects: “Love it or hate, the biggest companies in the world just can’t ignore blockchain any longer.”
Blockchain is continuing to move into the spotlight as big corporations and enterprises plan real-world use cases to make themselves even bigger and even better by harnessing the power of blockchain.
What are they planning on doing on the blockchain?
- Building and fostering promising new revenue streams
- Lowering costs and transaction times
- Improving transparency
- Eliminating fraud and counterfeits
- Improving security for their products and systems
- Tracking and incentivizing behaviors
- Growing client and customer loyalty
Now that most of the Fortune 500 companies are exploring the benefits of blockchain for their operations and security, in industries ranging from retail and financial to automotive and aviation, the question has become not whether your business is going to move towards blockchain but how quickly you can adapt to this new world in order to stand out above the crowd.
Over two days, between 21-22 February, in Cluj-Napoca, MindChain will explore the interaction between Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The key proposition, reflected across the entire agenda, is that AI powers and enhances one of the most revolutionary technologies to have emerged in recent years.
With a 30-strong panel agenda featuring international speakers and key figures on the Blockchain scene, MindChain will bring forward the latest use cases for Blockchain and AI across a comprehensive mix of industries, such as retail, finance and banking, real estate, transportation, as well as emerging areas such as art, entertainment and media.
Through its architecture, MindChain is designed to attract a varied audience, from blockchain investors and professionals to startups, students and the general public interested to discover how these new technologies will shape everyday life.