The combination of newly available technologies, new business ideas, and cultural transformation has seen the rise of companies such as Uber and Airbnb. They disrupted the status quo by questioning the traditional methods from before and are now relying on technology to connect demand. The simple truth is that these companies do not ‘own’ the inventory. Uber has become the biggest taxi company in the world without owning any cars. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company by transforming your apartment into an accommodation. It is software that has lead the change and in the next 5-10 years, it will likely disrupt most other traditional industries.
Consumers are quick to switch if new players are able to successfully target the market with more functionality and often a lower price. But there are downsides. The new frontiers are using a new currency. It’s called data. Think about it:
Facebook is NOT free. Instagram is NOT free. YouTube is NOT free. Twitter is NOT free. Google is NOT free.
You are paying by giving up your information. And your privacy. Yet when you are sharing photos on Instagram or search something on Google you don’t think about it. You just make use of their beloved services.
Yet, even beyond the big platforms, there are new possible disruptors. The unique characteristics of blockchains i.e. enable a more efficient way of distribution of assets, information, and trust. They enable a transaction between people, without the interference of platform intermediaries. Blockchain removes the uncertainty that people experience when they are part of a transaction between strangers. The nature of blockchain provides a powerful mechanism to disrupt traditional centralized models. With a shift to distributed ledgers, trust would change in massive ways. We draw a lot of trust from brands and institutions. But if consumers can trust decentralized blockchain networks, it could change the way we do business. Think distributed Airbnb or decentralized Youtube. It would be game-changing. For the first time, people would be able to interact without the need for a centralized company.