It was a pleasure today for Context Labs CEO Dan Harple to collaborate with some thought leaders in the blockchain industry:  Michael Casey, Senior Advisor at the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative (DCI), and Professor Simon Johnson.  The event was Simon’s MIT Sloan course “Entrepreneurs without Borders.”  Simon’s innovation as a leading economist, researcher, and professor has brought blockchain to the forefront at MIT, in partnership with the Media Lab’s DCI.  Fall 2017 has focused on blockchain technologies and the impact potential for the economy.  Dan Harple was an invited speaker for the day at MIT Sloan, bringing the Context Labs perspective to Simon Johnson’s classroom, co-led by Michael Casey.

MIT’s involvement in blockchain took off in the Fall 2014, where all MIT undergrads were given access to bitcoin.  This work was preceded by an event in August 2014 at the Media Lab, “The Ecology of Digital Assets: Identity, Trust, and Data.”  Since then, the research and interest level at MIT has rapidly grown.  This seminal event in many ways informed and shaped the concepts and frameworks used in the founding of Context Lab’s blockchain-enabled solutions.  One of the outcomes of this effort was a movement to endorse a new digital framework for digital identity, and open data, put forth in an announcement by 21 top bitcoin and digital currency firms.  These core topics of Identity, Trust, and Data are still top of mind and fundamental to any successful deployment of blockchain technologies.  

A range of topics were covered:

  • Challenges and opportunities for IoT, and how a trust protocol is critical 
  • What price to put on trust, centralized IT versus distributed?
  • Can current blockchain implementations scale to support the demands of IoT
  • Supply Chain(s) and Blockchain
  • The role of trust and data veracity

 Dan’s talk focused on the Context Labs interpretations of these demands, and its realization via the company’s Immutably™ Product family, including its Proofworks™ solution for veracity and provenance.  Dan introduced the concept of the “super aggregator” and their impact on markets.  He discussed the potential transformative impact blockchain solutions could have on super aggregators, such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, as a more peer-to-peer “creator to consumer” model is enabled with new blockchain technologies.  All of this was framed also in the context of the Pentalytic Ecosystem modeling Context Labs employs to help model and organize innovation ecosystems such as the Open Music Initiative.  

Thank you Simon Johnson and Michael Casey for the collegiality and thought provoking day!

All in all, a fun day at MIT “Drinking from the Firehose”