In the Internet industry, “the age of traffic is over” is a common consensus: social networking, search, e-commerce, life and travel are crowded on every desk. In China, there is a saying that it is the second half of the Internet.
Blockchain is often put together with artificial intelligence, driverless, Internet of things and other concepts, but it is different from the previous tangible things. Although no one in the world knows blockchain today, there is still no strong consensus in the scientific and technological circles on what blockchain is and what it can do.
When we think about what kind of power makes people think that we should explore such an unknown existence, we need to return to the commercial nature of information, or the information nature of Commerce.
Generally speaking, business is to standardize or scale something, and then provide it to more people. Its essence is to improve efficiency. The so-called Internet business is to scale information links. Information link has network effect, which makes it easier for nodes to get new connections. Therefore, in the field of congeneric connection, Oligarchic Competition is the inevitable outcome.
The Internet is a channel business, and it is not a matter of production. The so-called business closed loop means that this mode can effectively enhance the speed of “feedback” between people and information (which is still generated by human behavior in essence). In short, improve social efficiency.
From the earliest portal websites to now, we find that “feedback speed” can explain most of the information related businesses: portal websites are faster than books and newspapers, which improves the social digestion and response speed of news; Social interaction improves the interaction efficiency between people; The application of e-commerce and life improves the efficiency of consumers’ choice, accelerates the response and adjustment of businesses and their supply chain to the market, and promotes the effectiveness of the market.
At this point, of course, we have to ask: can blockchain improve information efficiency?
B and C of blockchain
Any technology, any business, only can create value for people and users, it is established and can survive.
Technically, the blockchain is maintained by multiple parties and is a database that cannot be tampered with. The traditional sense of “public chain” is a completely decentralized anonymous database, which is difficult to be used to store real value data. Generally speaking, in addition to digital currency, most high-value data and information are bound with services and certain external rights and interests. They are often accompanied by scenes controlled by a third party. No matter how information technology changes, the carrier of the scene will always be people in the real world, Therefore, effective data controllers of deep services have no motivation to put value data in a public database without access.
However, as explained above, due to the Internet’s demand for higher information efficiency, it is inevitable for technology development to exchange and interact high-value data.
Since 2015, only a small number of projects have passed through the bull and bear, and always adhere to the “blockchain enabled real economy”. As one of them, only chain has made a lot of exploration in the application field. Lu Yang, its CEO, believes that blockchain is not a separate solution, but will cooperate with Internet of things, AI and other technologies to form the infrastructure of the next generation Internet.
Similar to the TCP / IP protocols in the Internet technology stack, blockchain is positioned as an “invisible service”: ubiquitous and invisible to users. Like most SaaS services, although they do not directly interact with the C-end, the enterprise level data exchanged on the chain will greatly improve the feedback efficiency of business information, and ultimately create more value for users at the upper level.
Since Ethereum’s ICO boom, a kind of “political correctness” which “is not a blockchain outside the public chain” has become the mainstream in the industry. But today, after the decline of many King level public chains, people find that it is not a rational design thinking to deliberately pursue the state of full openness and no access. Teams focusing on the implementation of blockchain, such as Weilian, return to the center of the stage, and some classic concepts are once again concerned by people: the goal of blockchain should be “cost reduction and efficiency enhancement”, rather than pursuing some kind of “decentralized” formalism.
“We don’t deliberately distinguish between public chain and alliance chain. What we do is focus on the commercial implementation of blockchain. The technology form conducive to commercial implementation is a good one.” Lu Yang, CEO of Weilian, explained his understanding of blockchain technology.
In form, blockchain architecture is a multi-party check and balance semi trust common data storage scheme, which has the advantage of simplifying the database permission management model through cryptography. When one’s own data has value to the other, and the other’s data also has value to one’s own, the business scenario is established. No matter how open the database is, it is just a solution to make high value information flow efficiently.
In recent years, tob track has been frequently mentioned in China’s Internet industry. In the era of mobile Internet, because of the huge traffic dividend, tob is not the best choice for capital. But it can be predicted that any story that exists in developed business will repeat itself in developing regions. When the growth comes to an end, the tob of China’s Internet is inevitable.
In the United States, enterprise service providers such as salesforce, sap, Oracle and Ge occupy a trillion market value, but enterprise software still accounts for less than 10% of China’s Internet market. We can already see that Taobao, pinduoduo and other e-commerce companies are trying to reform the supply side of the b-end, and the hot concept of middle platform has also attracted a lot of capital.
The original blockchain enterprises headed by Weilian and Qulian, as well as traditional Internet enterprises such as ant financial services, are trying to break through the limitation of traditional tob business which only provides standardized services for enterprises, and use blockchain to try the possibility of a cross agency general information platform. Among them, as Libra brings the blockchain design of “node audit and join” into our vision, people find that Weilian, a native team with old qualifications, has been working on this road for a long time.
Can the “access mechanism” open up a new pattern of blockchain consensus design in the future? It’s going to take time.
Consensus beyond technology
Since the birth of bitcoin, the development of the industry has been around the infrastructure construction of the protocol layer. Consensus algorithm and economic model are the two most important topics. But since last year, a large number of empty transfers of high TPS public chains, people realized that the underlying performance of blockchain has actually overflowed.
The bottleneck of blockchain implementation is not in the protocol layer, but in the scenarios and related supporting facilities.
At the Shanghai blockchain week in September last year, Lu Yang, CEO of Weilian, first proposed three stages of blockchain implementation, namely, technical consensus, commercial consensus and governance consensus. These three stages are progressive and intersect with each other. In his speech, Lu Yang mentioned that we are in the middle of technical consensus and the starting point of commercial consensus. The existing basic design has been enough to support some upper level scenarios. While the underlying technology continues to develop, the promotion of upper level applications is a top priority.
Some people may ask: the concept of enterprise level blockchain is not a new concept for a long time. Why is it mentioned again today?
“We have talked with dozens of large enterprises. Although the situation is much better than a few years ago, the maturity is far from enough. The supporting facilities before the large-scale implementation of blockchain are not perfect. ” Lu Yang said in an interview For example, in the process of landing e-commerce, Taobao has completed logistics, customer service and payment, but these are still blank for blockchain. “
“Basically speaking, there is a lack of a set of standardized things. Enterprises are very rational. They will be interested in blockchain, but whether they do it or not depends on the input-output ratio of this technology. “
As the foundation of profit, “standardization” is an unavoidable topic in any business. However, due to the complexity of response scenarios, blockchain is often considered to lack the potential of standardization.
“It depends on how much effort you are willing to make. There must be a need for data interchange. Only by constantly and practically going deep into each scene and understanding the needs of enterprises, can we accumulate experience. This is a long-term process and needs to be done seriously. ” Lu Yang said when talking about the business logic of Weilian.
From the beginning of tracing the origin of luxury goods, weichain has completed many practical landing in energy, automobile, agriculture, liquor and other industries. There are food safety traceability platform projects in cooperation with PwC and Wal Mart China, and new energy vehicle emission reduction certification projects based on Internet of things. The most important of these experiences is that only chain abstracts a set called vechain toolchain ™ The standardized blockchain data service platform reduces the cost of enterprise deployment, and also gets rid of the unnecessary of repeated development.
“Blockchain will one day become a common infrastructure similar to windows and Oracle.” Blockchain plays an important role in judging the evolution of software technology stack in the future.
On the road to business consensus, the fundamental difference between blockchain and traditional enterprise services is that it often involves the coordination between multiple business entities, and the coordination difficulty between entities is naturally much greater than that of each department of a single enterprise. Therefore, higher requirements are put forward for service providers in terms of information integration.
On the road of blockchain enterprise service, the competition between traditional Internet companies and original blockchain enterprises is inevitable.
“Dachang does have their advantages, but blockchain is an internal skill. It is not only a technology, but also a complete set of services in the process of technology landing. It is a solution. The experience accumulated in solving practical problems over the years is the biggest advantage of Weilian: we know more about the needs of different enterprises. ” For what is the most important, only the chain has its own understanding.
Traditional large factories have more government and commercial resources, which is undoubtedly conducive to the development of business. However, due to the inherent inter enterprise business nature of blockchain, the giants who are used to leading may not be able to adapt to this semi trust cooperation framework. On the other hand, the original blockchain entrepreneurs have the first mover advantage on this track, and the long-term experience accumulation can not be ignored.
Lu Yang believes that the key to business consensus lies in the effective competition between enterprises maintaining the common network under the rules of mutual benefit, fairness and transparency, which is essentially a “competition and cooperation game”.
By observing the development history of enterprise software in Europe and the United States, we can find that tob business does not have the absolute network effect like TOC, because it is a low dividend “cost reduction and efficiency” industry, Therefore, the winner in the general direction will not have an overwhelming comparative advantage in the process of verticalization – every subdivision will have room for further specialization, so it can accommodate more service providers. There can be giants like Oracle and IBM, or there can be a lot of “small and beautiful” like slack.
With the improvement of people’s participation in the Internet, spam information on the Internet is increasing. Invalid information hinders people’s access to effective information. No matter in wechat or twitter, what we expect at a glance is always a lot of inflammatory and subjective content. When people have no channel to know the truth, or only a part of the source of the truth, a lot of speculation and rumors will occur.
The recent epidemic has made all sectors of the society pay attention to the transparency and efficiency of public facilities operation, and blockchain is expected to solve such problems. Cross agency distributed ledger is considered to be a technology that can realize the transparency of the whole process and reduce the possible consequences caused by information asymmetry. For any possible process of public facilities, it unifies a series of single point sources in a process into a high-quality source with no possibility of collusion and mutual supervision.
This scenario of completely interworking commercial institutions and government departments with different attributes is the “governance consensus” in the three-stage consensus proposed by Weilian. The framework of governance consensus puts forward higher requirements for service providers, that is, how to coordinate more complex interests and non interests, how to maximize the protection of all parties’ demands, and how to reduce costs and increase efficiency for the whole society.
The business adage is to do what seems simple and troublesome ten thousand times. When you look back, you will find that you have gone beyond the imagination of others.
“The implementation of blockchain technology is our only goal, and all work will be carried out around the implementation.” Lu Yang summed up what Weilian was doing with such a sentence.
It’s only four or five years since the exploration of blockchain enterprise application. In the future, there will be a lot of time to bow and pull, rather than the wind and light behind the stage. Given the lack of infrastructure and the short history of the industry, this mediocrity is normal.
But being down-to-earth is not wishful thinking and ignorance of current affairs, but accepting reality after understanding common sense and doing right after understanding duty. When we try to stand outside the blockchain industry and look at the whole industry, we will find that many things become very simple and bizarre, which is just a replay of business history.
Only by believing in long-term value and doing something beneficial to users can we have a place in the second half of the Internet.
Today’s blockchain is still very young. But one day, it will get its own opportunity.
Responsible editor; zl