With Blockchain technology receiving an increasing amount of attention in business circles for its potential to disrupt industry norms and create widespread change, levels of scrutiny surrounding the viability and longevity of the technology inevitably increase as well. OnTheBlock sat down with Stacey Mankoff, Managing Principal at the Mankoff Company to discuss the viability and scope of Blockchain as well as future opportunities for its use. The Mankoff Company is a marketing consultancy business specializing in the FinTech market, while Stacey herself has accumulated over 13 years of sales and marketing experience across a range of fields including Pharmaceuticals, IT and Financial Services. She now combines her work at the Mankoff Company with a role as an Advisory Board member at QuantsGiveBack and active membership in Women on Wall Street and the Silver Shield Foundation.
When asked about the staying power of Blockchain technology, Stacey was confident in Blockchain’s ability to remain in the longer term. “I do believe it has staying power. However, like the tech bubble several years ago, I believe there will be a shaking out and a consolidation of these projects that can really work”. When considering the impact and changeability in the nature of investment in Blockchain technology, Stacey had the following to say: “There’s been a huge amount of investment and while before investors were just throwing their money at blockchain projects, the investor has become savvier and really looks at the plan before investing. I also see an impact from the volatility in the cryptocurrency market – financial firms are historically risk-averse and this sends up some red flags”. Stacey also referenced the current lack of regulation surrounding cryptocurrency, but suggested this could change in the future, potentially affecting the mindset of investors seeking to find lucractive opportunities in disrupting technologies.
We then moved on to talk about pharma and healthcare, considering Stacey’s strong background in the area. When asked if Blockchain could potentially grow within this field, referencing drug provenance and medical data record integrity as two focus areas for Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology adoption, Stacey concurred these areas offered potential opportunities, but emphasized the need for security and regulation. “Blockchain applications can be utilized in many areas of the drug process – from development in sharing data of clinical trials to supply chain and deliverability of the drug. Again, the possibilities are there but the execution is what is key.”
The United States and United Kingdom, as technologically adept countries of course have significant hands-on experience with Blockchain technologies by now, and we were interested to get Stacey’s thoughts on the differing attitudes towards Blockchain between the two countries. “My personal opinion is that the US is a bit more cautious – we’re used to so much regulation, not that the UK isn’t, but especially in the financial sector”. Stacey attributes the different mindset at least partially to the composition of US-based entrepreneurs within the sector. “Many of the entrepreneurs who are working on blockchain applications in the US are from overseas so there is a different mentality there. I think that both sides of the Atlantic see the opportunities and I’m seeing more and more incubators in the US working to achieve that “next big thing”.
Finally, we looked to the future and asked what the next milestone for Blockchain might be, Stacey had this to say: “Going beyond pilot programs and proofs of concepts into real applications and assessing real results. As I mentioned, there has been a lot of money invested and I believe that people will start to begin to want a return on their investment. This will also cause a shakeout in the industry not just in the US or UK but globally”.
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