Blockchain Hub, Davos, Switzerland, 23rd – 25th May 2022


This week’s featured event is the Blockchain Hub which is part of the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland from 23rd-25th May 2022.  The three day event covers a range of topics related to blockchain and crypto.  The third day, dedicated to NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) seemed to be one of the more interesting sections:

The NFT market surged throughout 2021 as projects new and old accounted for billions of dollars worth of collective trading volume. Recent NFT trends include generative artwork, fractionalizing valuable collectibles, and participation from big brands in established communities. Join leading experts at the Blockchain Hub and learn why NFTs are seeing a ferocious resurgence.” [Read More]

The event takes place within the scope of the Davos World Economic Forum  and the topics covered include a number of sessions on governance and wider regulation with particular reference to the financial sector.  There is a somewhat conflicted perspective to the event, however.  On the one hand there are speakers discussing topics like ‘What’s Prompting the World’s Largest Institutions to Embrace Digital Assets?’, while on the other keynote speakers talk about ‘A flash Crash or the next Crypto Winter?’  Blockchain is a subject that is seems ‘nice people’ would prefer wasn’t currently as popular as it is, however, they now find themselves grudgingly obliged to acknowledge it.  To achieve this, they need to be able to talk about it in (what sounds like) an informed fashion, so they go out and buy themselves a second-hand opinion from one of the numerous commentators who are willing to supply them with one.

NFTs are an even more contentious topic.  This keynote session on the third day: “How to Securely Store NFTs – and Their Underlying Files” was especially interesting (to me, at least).  In particular the ‘and Their Underlying Files’ part.  There is a Pandora’s box full of implications and opportunities to all this, not least for Content DAM.

I have been sent some articles about NFTs and crypto by various people for DAM News, but ended up rejecting them for publication because they lack any relevance to Content DAM.  In all cases, the authors concerned have re-hashed other people’s opinions without actually being able to consider how to apply the technology to the subject of this journal, Digital Asset Management News (the clue’s in the title, as I often have to point out).  Either the viewpoint is wholly negative and Marxist (in the cultural theory rather than economic sense of that description) or there are some poorly informed ‘how to’ pieces which seek to explain how the latecomers can jump on the NFT bandwagon, just as the wheels are about to buckle.

My take is that in the medium term, NFT, crypto and Web 3.0 will radically transform Content DAM in a genuinely disruptive fashion, but in the short term it will be a complete car crash, of the type that has taken place recently (and on a much larger scale).  This process will make a mockery of those Intellectual Yet Idiot types (to use Nassim Taleb’s description) who are incapable of doing much in the way of critical thinking for themselves.  It’s my opinion that the Content DAM establishment is stuffed full of those individuals and to a far greater extent than other tech sectors.

Blockchain was becoming interesting four or five years ago (especially as the previous ‘Crypto Winter’ was getting going) and I suspect it will again, but only once the people involved in developing the technology behind it have been forced to go away and think about how to apply it to real world problems, i.e. when the ‘easy money’ from VCs etc. has evaporated .  The mechanics and economics behind the way NFTs work offers some far more interesting possibilities for the Content DAM software market than I have hitherto seen described very much elsewhere (with the exception of Paul Melcher, whose articles and links I always make a point of reading).  I plan to address this shortcoming with at least one future feature article.

In the meantime, if you happen to be around Davos next week, this event could be worth checking out.

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