While one of the core principles of blockchain is decentralization, we at Underscore VC think just the opposite is needed to further the technology — that centralization into a tight-knit community is key to accelerating development.
Why? Because a density of entrepreneurs and thought leaders in a specific domain, in a specific place, and at a specific time in history can produce extraordinary results. This perfect storm creates a velocity of ideas, collisions of talent, and collaborative iterations to make the nebulous, less ambiguous for all.
Over the next decades, we believe that blockchain will be one of the most significant technologies with the potential to redefine the economic structures and value flows that underpin our economy. Unfortunately, the adoption of the technology has been slow, encumbered in part by technological, philosophical, and even political challenges around consensus protocols, architecture, and scalability. We believe that Blockchain having someplace to call ‘home’ would fast-track adoption.
Boston is the natural place for a blockchain hub — as we have the key ingredients already: Security, cryptography, scalable systems, distributed computing, economics, and even game theory.
Helping Blockchain Find a Home in Boston
While there is no easy answer on how to best establish Boston as the hub, the team at Underscore has been bringing together a group of the foremost blockchain leaders and experts into our Core Community to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the space — many of which offered their insight into what would be required for it to happen:
“Blockchain is still in its nascency with more questions than answers, yet the hype is already at full throttle. With MIT, Harvard, and other leading universities, I think the greater Boston area fills an important role in the blockchain space: namely, to be the adult in the room, supporting foundational research and forging standards that are supportive of entrepreneurial ecosystems but independent of specific commercial interests.”
— Mark Weber, MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative
“Boston is well-positioned to be the blockchain hub because of its unique concentration of intellectual talent, innovation-friendly corporations, and forward-thinking regulators. We specifically chose to launch and build our business here because these three attributes are critical to scaling any blockchain-based technology.”
— Chris Yim, LibertyX
“The Boston-Cambridge area is ideally suited for the development of a very successful blockchain technology ecosystem. In addition to the outstanding flow of graduates, we have the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council actively creating ecosystem clusters, such as robotics, big data and IoT, to fuel a networked innovation environment. The area houses the headquarters of major companies in two of blockchain’s largest target industries: financial services and healthcare.”
— Alok Bhargava, Cambridge Blockchain
Building Blockchain Community
Boston already has the talent and capital in place to create a natural hub for Blockchain. To make this happen, all stakeholders need to be aligned to foster the environment necessary to make Blockchain a success in Boston: most importantly, bold entrepreneurs willing to lead market-defining companies with support from their community.