Enrico Gallorini, CEO of GRS Research & Strategy takes time out of his busy travel schedule and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Larry Sanger (Co-Founder, Wikipedia) and Brock Pierce (CEO, Bitcoin Foundation) to chat to us about Blockchain Technology.
Tesi Baur: Please explain what Blockchain technology is.
Enrico Gallorini: Blockchain is not a ‘disruptive’ technology, which can attack a traditional business model with a lower-cost solution and overtake incumbent firms quickly. Blockchain is a foundational technology. This means that it has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems. As an example, we can say that Blockchain is the Operations system, like IOS for the Iphone, where it will be possible to “build” a lot of “Apps”, like Google Maps, Facebook, WhatsApp, Music and so on… actually the first and most known app is “Bitcoin”. Bitcoin (as well as other cryptocurrencies) is a value of exchange based on the protocol of the Blockchain. This new technology is in continuous and constant evolution and the Blockchain architecture promises applications in many fields, from politics to health (as well as the exhibition industry), through cloud computing and the secure management of digital identities.
Tesi Baur: Why is blockchain technology so important?
Enrico Gallorini: The most important element of Blockchain Technology, is that for the first time, one Internet user is now able to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user where the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure. Everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer. It is very important to emphasise this element because most of the time we forget (or don’t give it much thought) that any “data” or digital information is not owned by the “owner” but that it can be copied or shared with any other person. So, ultimately, Blockchain sets the “ownership” on a digital asset, which was not possible before.
Tesi Baur: How do you see Blockchain changing the way we do business, in general?
Enrico Gallorini: This new technology can be equated to the discovery of electricity, or invention of rail transportation or the Internet itself. It will take time for us to see the changes, but it has started, and it is here to stay. As a community and an industry based on enabling customer business and human relations we have to be aware that this new technology will change as people continue to build networks and conduct business. Currently, the impact of this innovation, in any industry, is difficult to determine, but we can be certain that the future is going to be different.
Tesi Baur: Do you believe Blockchain will have an influence on the exhibition industry, if so, how?
Enrico Gallorini: Most definitely, because any business will be “involved” in this new technology. If you ask me what “would be the future of the Exhibition Industry,” I would say that the “little wooden house” that we call a “stand” will be very challenging to sell, if the asset of the exhibition is based on the “space” instead of the real benefit of meeting the right people! The benefit of meeting in any market can only be achieved if there is transparency, integrity, traceabilityand ethics.These conditions create value between suppliers and customers – this is the same foundation of blockchain. It is worth remembering that data science and the distributed value technologies are already present and employed in certain sectors. Data is increasingly becoming the core of every business, so it is important to note that exhibitions are a key source of data, information, relations, etc. and that this source can be “monetised”. The organisers who will be able to exploit this new paradigm, by turning their exhibitions into active intermediaries between supply and demand – which is definitely aligned with the model of the exhibition business itself – may have a unique advantage on the competition of their sector
Tesi Baur: What would be a concrete function/s of Blockchain technology for our industry?
Enrico Gallorini: Anything related to “data management” will be influenced by blockchain technology and today, I would say that many elements of the “Customer Journey” of any visitor or exhibitor are based on “digital information”, so I would say that many applications will be included in the registration process, access to the venue, the interactions between visitors and exhibitors, the post show interactions and so on.
Tesi Baur: With no single entity being able to control Blockchain and thus having no single point of entry, do you agree that Blockchain is incorruptible and will remain so in the future?
Enrico Gallorini: Cyber Security is one of the hot topics of the moment, in the “Hacker community” there is an expression: “there are just two types of companies, the one that has been hacked and the one that is not already aware that has been hacked”. Experts say that Blockchain is a system that is not unhinged from the outside. From a technical point of view, that is not exactly accurate. No one individual, can act or modify the blocks of the chain, but there is still the possibility, however remote, that one or more users, by putting together their computing power, can reach 51% of the computational capacity of the entire Blockchain network.
Tesi Baur: Any final comments?
Enrico Gallorini: For the first time in the history, a lot of companies and entities have understood that this new technology is very foundational from any point of view. So it is quite impossible that one company alone would manage this new paradigm. For this reason, a lot of industries (especially Financial, Healthcare, Real Estate) are creating consortiums, foundations or have agreed to cooperate together. A very interesting example is r3: https://www.r3.com