Mclowd Community Newsletter February 2018

Welcome to the Mclowd Community Newsletter.

With decentralisation, you do not install a centre first. You first install a platform that enables the network to flourish…Then you build your business model on the shoulders of that initial construct.

For example, what used to be a paid option in the old centralised version might be free in the new decentralised version, but you will have the opportunity to create new monetisation methods that are more organic to the decentralisation itself.”

The Business Blockchain, William Mougayar p151

Introduction

In his book The Business Blockchain author William Mougayar describes the scale of disruption that is being triggered by blockchain technologies.

While most people associate the blockchain with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, of far greater import is the fact that at the heart of every blockchain is a distributed ledger. While the ASX recently announced the replacement of CHESS with a private blockchain, in reality most blockchains are / will be open-source and hence publicly available to all.

This construct can be applied to any asset, identity or other piece of information that needs to be stored and validated, and no more so than financial assets.

Taken to its natural conclusion, the blockchain will make virtually every centralised database currently in existence redundant. Because the information will be publicly accessible (but cryptographically secured) on a blockchain.

While Mougayar touches on the potential impact on sectors such as software development and energy, he reserves his main commentary for financial services, for the simple reason that incumbents in this sector are the most vulnerable to the deflationary forces that are being unleashed.

(While I commend the book to anyone wanting to better understand this paradigm shift, this NYT article is an equally useful summary).

Marketplace Update

Trustee registrations are now approaching 4,000, so it is not surprising that Marketplace activity continues to grow. (Although we are conscious that tighter integration with the accounting Platform is required).

The Mclowd Marketplace can be thought of as a neural network. A decentralised supply chain of SMSF practitioners, scaling up and down as demand dictates.

As such the Marketplace is now playing a critical role in the growth of the Community. Providing supply-side resources across audit, tax, accounting and migration without requiring the deployment of any additional capital or operating expenditure. (Just as Mougayar anticipated, Mclowd charges a 10% fee on all transactions, while providing trustees with free access to the network).

As trustee numbers swell to 14,000, then 40,000, then 140,000, a new SMSF playing field will emerge, and the very nature of the value chain will begin to shift.

Speaking of his involvement, auditor Sharif Eldebs from Assured Super had this to say: “I am now picking up new clients on a regular basis, and see my role in the Community as being central to the growth of my practice.”

Consensys

Anyone who is sceptical about the impact that the blockchain will begin to have on all our lives needs to take a look at Consensys.

Consensys is more ‘organism’ than organisation. A decentralised group of entities spread around the globe, influencing standards and driving deployment of the technology across numerous sectors including:

  • Identity management
  • Real estate
  • Predictive markets
  • Accounting

Quoting from one of their most recent Newsletters: “Consensys now has hubs and nodes in over 28 cities worldwide, and more and more communities, organisations, and regions are staking their future on blockchain. The technology has come a long way from its basement days as a cyberpunk pipe dream. It is now a global initiative and making a difference on the ground.”

Conclusion

Twenty years ago the disruptive potential of the World Wide Web (and the Internet protocols on which it was built), was hampered by immature infrastructure, alongside a general lack of the ‘complements’ that would have otherwise driven rapid diffusion (think Uber, smartphones and GPS satellites).

Joe Lubin and the other revolutionaries at Consensys, sitting in their warehouse in downtown Brooklyn – and elsewhere around the world – face none of these constraints.

It will be interesting to see what they can come up with.

Postscript

The very concept of a distributed ledger should strike fear into the heart of any incumbent in the accounting software space.

However if you have established a highly scalable online Community where the level of monetisation is:

  • Modest (relative to per-unit outcomes delivered), and
  • Spread across multiple revenue streams

then the blockchain represents little more than an architectural pivot.

Like Consensys, the Mclowd Community was built from the ground up for the age of decentralisation.

And that age is now upon us.

Regards

Ashley Porter

Managing Director
Mclowd Pty Ltd

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