Timing the Blockchain Innovation Cycle: Why I Moved to Austin

The advent of the internet allowed us to instantly interact and share information with others around the world. Establishing complete trust in our digital relationships is critical towards improving the current state of the internet.

The Equifax data breach in September 2017 exposed the personal information of 147 million people

This security lapse at Equifax, and countless similar situations at other companies, has broken our trust, leaving us angry, betrayed and ready for change.

Bitcoin (BTC) introduced most of us to the blockchain. Around since 2009, the hype and coverage around BTC reached a fever pitch at the end of 2017 when speculation drove the market price of one BTC to $20k. The blockchain appeared to be ready to support many different decentralized business models before all the hype suddenly blew away uncovering an immature technology.

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This boom-bust cycle isn’t new. Carlota Perez and Gartner have described this phenomenon extensively. The below diagram is from Carlota’s book Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: the Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages.

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The creation of the Bitcoin bubble, and the frenzy surrounding it, drove infrastructure investment and attracted the talent needed to establish new business models in the “Deployment” phase. The bubble bursting was the catalyst for the development of robust regulatory framework for legitimizing the industry. We are now seeing Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) applications explored in numerous industries supported by production capital through firms like YGC.

YGC believes that there is a massive opportunity building applications utilizing Distributed Ledger Technology

What problems can be solved with Distributed Ledger Technology?

The DLT data structure is best used for:

  1. Sharing information with different groups
  2. Allowing audits of that data AND
  3. Ensuring shared information is not altered

I believe identity is the most compelling application of DLT, which is why I accepted the Head of Product role for Hupbeat

Consumers are demanding identity protection. Industry research reports that, “more than 81% of consumers agree that their identity is the most important thing they own”, “30% of total respondents have had at least one instance of identity theft” and “nearly 72% of respondents would be willing to pay up to $25 per month for identity theft protection”. Identity is a big opportunity. A recent McKinsey study, “Digital identification: A key to inclusive growth”, estimates the potential impact of a comprehensive digital ID at 3–13% lift to GDP by 2030.

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How will we build our Product?

We are in the early days at Hupbeat but plan on building this decentralized application by focusing on using the right technology, working with established enterprise consortiums and solving real customer pain points.

  • The technology needed to power Hupbeat is ready to go. The Linux Foundation has a decentralized identity project called Hyperledger Indy. Hedera just launched an enterprise-grade, public, distributed ledger last week. These platforms both have the speed, security and APIs necessary for building an identity product at parity with existing centralized solutions.
  • Gavin Gillas and Henry Liu have already established relationships with enterprise consortiums eager for a solution built on the blockchain. These relationships will help us eliminate the guesswork in building the right ecosystem by capturing requirements from consortium members and directly engaging the various stakeholders who will use our product.
  • I will be focused on our end use customers to understand what needs to be built, what it should look like and how it solves their business problems.

Why do I find this interesting?

  1. Companies that didn’t exist one or two years ago are now building robust platforms ready for large commercial applications.
  2. Leading this venture puts me in a position to solve unique and complex problems using the tools I learned, and experiences I had, from working with both Amazon and Wilder Systems Robots.
  3. We are based in Austin, an innovation hub for blockchain. We are also close to the University of Texas, large enterprises looking to explore new tech and a vibrant startup community.

What do I need from you?

  • Check out the landing page here and sign up on our mailing list. I will keep you updated on our progress.
  • I want to know where you are at with your own blockchain/DLT journey. Please follow this link to share your experience.

About the author

Erik Huckle is a former active duty Marine Infantry Officer and Amazon Product Manager. He attended business school at the University of Texas at Austin where he began learning about #blockchain and #entrepreneurship . He is a Nebraska state chess champion (3rd and 4th grade) and actively looking for a basketball and softball league in the Austin area.

Twitter: beyourhuckberry

Life Long Learner. Product @SailPoint. Ex-Amazon.