Blockchain at MWC 2017

2017-04-03, 08:55 Posted by: Magnus Anvill

I returned home from MWC in Barcelona some weeks ago, and the dust of impression has settled down. First of all I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to represent Cybercom Group at the event. Attending the congress gave a great chance to meet and discuss with our important customers. Representing and presenting our business values at the Cybercom Group booth also gave the opportunity to meet new potential customers and partners. Well spent time! 

It was the first time for me at MWC and my expectations where high about finding cool blockchain companies and applications. 

Cybercom's stand at MWC 2017.

At Cybercom, my area of business is both "traditional" IAM where real persons access systems, but also IAM within IoT (M2M). That's where my interest in blockchain started and hence my focus also at MWC when I got the chance to swipe through the gigantic nine halls looking for the needle in the haystack.  

Blockchains are really hyped right now and an area inspiring lots of startups, large companies investing billions and lots of articles are published. It comes for a reason, blockchain is just as disruptive as the Internet eventually became, it is Internet 2.0 crossing all sectors and countries with a new "tool" that will change the way we do many thing today. 

Picture from https://bravenewcoin.com/news/blockchain-protocol-wars/

So I was actually a bit surprised about the low attendance of blockchain centered companies at MWC. Perhaps they are represented at other conferences, they haven´t maturated that much yet or maybe represented companies at MWC are the types of companies that typically will be 'disrupted' in the future. Time will tell.  Anyway, some concrete findings around blockchain at MWC: 

  • Discussions/Conferences mainly at the 4YFN (four years from now) site had some very interesting guests including the promising blockchain companies Ethereum and Blockstack
  • Lego machine identities in wireless networks by blockchain, Ericsson (below) 

Lego machine identities in wireless networks by blockchain, Ericsson

Picture from https://www.ericsson.com/research-blog/internet-of-things/secure-iot-identities/ 

Even though the representation of blockchain solutions at MWC wasn´t that widespread I´m convinced that in 5-10 years from now, many sectors and industries will be changed or completely disrupted by blockchain tech. Just look at the list of possible areas presented by CB Insights and another list of interesting companies at due.com.  

Within IT Security and IAM, keep an eye on the promising companies Filament offering secure communications with IoT devices based on blockchain, and ShoCard that has a blockchain solution for shared digital identity information with easy verification and high integrity. 

Bitcoin and blockchain startups market map.

Picture from https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/bitcoin-blockchain-startup-market-map/ 

I believe that blockchain in the long run will help us (the entire world) to build trusted, secure, robust, decentralized and transparent systems with functions for currencies, documents/statements/agreements and communications. People, companies and public will all benefit from it. 

From a Swedish perspective I found this review by "Entreprenörskapsforum" that pretty much covers present technologies and what the possibilities are. Especially see the future scenario "Digitized Public Sector Scenario", where blockchain are used to keep democracies "strong".  

Still, I think the general perception of blockchain is related to crime and technology geeks, which is an obstacle to see the real applications and benefits. So, let us hope that the blockchain technology will mature along with the acceptance and understanding for it. From an IT-security perspective, IoT has many challenges and perhaps blockchain might solve some of them. 


MWC, blockchains, IAM, IoT
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Magnus Anvill
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