After attending blockchain mega-conference Consensus 2018 in New York City, PI Financial analyst David Kwan says one of his major takeaways is that regulatory uncertainty is a key challenge.
The fourth annual Consensus conference, presented by CoinDesk, took place May 14-16 at the New York Hilton midtown. Kwan, who was one of some 8400 attendees, caught up with Canadian pubcos HIVE Blockchain (TSXV:HIVE) and BTL Group (TSXV:BTL) and took in panels and presentations that featured Canadians Alex and Don Tapscott. But the analyst says he was struck by how early stage the blockchain opportunity is, and how blockchain could flourish once regulatory issues become untangled.
“Given the surge in interest and activity in the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, including ICOs, regulators around the world are playing catch up as they look to better educate themselves on this rapidly emerging sector and related technologies,” he says. “While most, if not all, regulatory bodies have indicated that they do not want to stifle innovation, they want to help ensure that people are protected from nefarious actors who are looking to, amongst other things, fraudulently take people’s money (e.g., through ICOs or hacks of exchanges and digital wallets). They appear to be erring on the side of caution and moving slower than many of those involved in the industry would like but ultimately, we believe once there is a proper regulatory framework in place, adoption of blockchain and related technologies could proliferate.”
Kwan says making the various blockchains work together will be an important step.
“Interoperability is a key challenge,” he says. “There are many obstacles that must be overcome before we see a proliferation of blockchain-based solutions/deployments. Arguably, one of the biggest challenges that could hold back blockchain adoption is interoperability between blockchains. There are some early examples illustrating blockchain interoperability but there is still a lot of interoperability work that needs to be done before blockchain sees widespread adoption.”
Kwan does not cover BTL Group. He currently has a “Buy” rating and a one-year price target of $1.80 on HIVE Blockchain.