Oct 05 2022
In this blog post, our founder and Principal, Pratik Khivesara, sits down to share his thoughts and expertise about how blockchain has and will continue to impact the world of technology and our day-to-day lives.
Blockchain is a decentralized ledger (an open record of any transaction on a network) across a peer-to-peer network. Participants can use this technology to confirm transactions without needing a central clearing authority or a middleman. Potential blockchain applications can include fund transfers, settling trades, and voting, to name a few. OakTree Apps has been building projects in the blockchain space since 2019 and has since been named a leading blockchain development agency out of Virginia.
Blockchain is still widely considered an emerging technology. What sets blockchain apart from other emerging technologies that have grown in the past?
The primary differentiation for blockchain lies in its decentralized nature. When an enterprise company champions an emerging technology, they tend to monopolize and drive the market as such, which a wider audience may not necessarily agree to.
In your opinion, what is the impact of blockchain on the future of our everyday lives moving forward?
The assumption that blockchain will only revolutionize the tech industry is false. We’ve already seen many others adopt blockchain. For example, this technology could facilitate faster and cheaper money settlements across borders or manage fractional ownership of automobiles. Another well-known use case for blockchain is for voting purposes. In that example, by using blockchain as the base, constituents can vote via laptop, smartphone, or tablet, resulting in immediately verifiable results. Furthermore, this removes the element of possible tampering since all transactions on blockchain are verifiable and transparent.
What will support the longevity of blockchain technology? And, in your opinion, why do you believe it’s here to stay?
Admittedly, blockchain can sometimes have an unfriendly onboarding process. The longevity of blockchain as a technology is dependent on mass adoption, for which I feel the onboarding process could be simplified. However, the potential challenge of adoption has not necessarily stopped innovation in this space. I believe that adoption is perhaps just a minor bump in the road in the bigger realm of things. Web3 users understand that there will be some learning to do (as was the case during the dotcom boom), but companies that spend the time and effort helping their users onboard are most likely to be rewarded in the end.
With all that being said, there are tons of new products that help with user onboarding in web3 today. Coinbase, for example, has done a tremendous amount of work in bringing on a whole new generation of users. So the future does indeed look bright, albeit if it's still some ways ahead.
How can startups and established businesses leverage blockchain in their business plan or product idea?
Blockchain applications really depend on your business. For example, if your work is heavily ingrained in supply chain and logistics, you could potentially see many benefits from moving over to blockchain, especially for compliance and policy management initiatives. There are a host of options to choose from to help with cost as well, including other chains like Solana, Binance, and Avax that are backward compatible with Ethereum and are a good alternative.
Do you think every company should have blockchain on their radar? Is there an advantage to not jumping into the blockchain/web3 world?
Blockchain is definitely not a one size fits all solution. For example, blockchain might not be the ideal solution for a government organization that considers IP privacy of the utmost importance. Blockchain is not meant to replace the current web2, in my opinion, it is more to help us get to a ‘utopian’ state at a much faster rate. I definitely recommend exploring blockchain technology for any company on a case-by-case basis, keeping in mind that since this is an emerging tech, there will be a lot of upfront investment required.
“New things are happening every day in the blockchain world. Unlike mature technologies, teams that are constantly learning and adapting will be the winners in the end.”
In your experience working with many web3 businesses and startups, are there any qualities of a product idea that stand out to you that might make an app more successful?
At its current stage, any product within the web3 space that is helping users either with onboarding or security is a success. And I still notice a wide gap in the market in terms of consumer demand and supply. Another prime example of a niche that could be disrupted is the financial sector, specifically stock trading that is handled by ‘market makers’ and money remittance. Many people don’t understand how spreads and bid/ask function in the stock market's background or how much markup institutions add for moving money around. Cut out the middleman and pass the savings to the customer (and have transparency in the process). Take a look at uniswap as an example: Uniswap has given birth to a whole new ecosystem of products in the financial sector.
The most important message to understand is that you don't necessarily need a ‘coding’ background to succeed in web3. Community managers, product owners, and marketing people are all essential parts of helping spread the word about web3!
What’s your advice to new businesses and startups trying to identify and bridge a gap in the blockchain world through building an app?
Do not be afraid of technology. Blockchain sounds very confusing and daunting, and to an extent it certainly is. My biggest piece of advice is to trust the process and the team that you are working with. New things are happening every day in the blockchain world. Unlike mature technologies, teams that are constantly learning and adapting will be the winners in the end.
Have you noticed any blockchain trends within the app/software industry?
The trend has definitely moved away from doing NFT drops. It was all the rage last year, but now it has moved on to providing actual value to your users, rather than just having them hold a jpg image. The current trend is building products that have an open roadmap. When I say open, I mean where the core team actively involves the end users in the decision-making process, and guides their decisions accordingly. Web3 is all about empowering people, and what better way to do that than building your product in the public realm?!
How is the blockchain development process different than building an app with different technology?
That’s a great question. The development process is different from traditional software in one key area: Every single deployment or change in blockchain costs money. Unlike web2 (where if you ship out something broken, you can easily pull it down and rework it), web3 does not appreciate that. A broken deployment will cost you money (as in the actual deployment itself costs money, not counting what you can lose due to a bad deployment). Additionally, a poor-deployment cannot be pulled down either. As a result, the team has to be judicious with their deployment and triple-check their work.
What makes OakTree Apps a blockchain-first agency?
We have been in this space since 2019, and have been fortunate enough to work with a vast breadth of clients. We have worked with a host of NFT drops, Coin tokenomics, and multiplayer online role-playing games like CosmicUniverse. We have also worked on various chains besides Ethereum, such as Solana, polygon, and Canto, and have also launched Dexes.
We are quite active in helping the community with various public projects and spend a significant amount of time learning and keeping up with the latest web3 things. In the end, our goal is not just to take on projects but to learn and embrace the potential of blockchain technology while also having dialogues with people who have doubts. We will only succeed as a community if we all work together in the same direction!