A pioneer in blockchain technologies, John Wolpert advised Bina Ramamurthy as she facilitated the UB-led Blockchain MOOC on Coursera. He also was a guest lecturer, sharing his extensive knowledge of the field.
Why your interest in blockchain and Ethereum? Are these truly disruptive technologies as many claim? Or have we moved beyond the frontier to mainstream and how so? What's the one thing that you wish everyone knew about blockchain and/or Ethereum?
I've always been interested in sophisticated incentive structures and economic systems.
The technology is ushering in a shift in the priorities of the community toward token economics and cross-company collaborative systems.The technology is important, but the shift in peoples' thinking is the real change. This is always the way it is in scientific and technological paradigm shift.
Still on the frontier. I know this because I'm a technology "mountain man." I'm a scout. I'll hang around a while as the pioneers move in, usually find me drinking in the saloon or staying at the hotel. But once the settlers show up with their churches and courthouses, I'm outta there. So the fact that I'm still around says we are still very early.
There is an important difference between privacy and confidentiality on blockchain. The former is about hiding transaction attributes, like the actual amount transferred. The latter is about smart contract execution segregation, so that only the parties involved in a contract ever see the code of the agreement...but still without letting any party change the code once committed.
John Wolpert leads ConsenSys’ product and venture lab in Washington DC, building a team of top developers, designers and product people to bootstrap projects on Ethereum and blockchain generally. The lab’s special focus is on innovative approaches to government, compliance and social impact.
ConsenSys is one of the largest and fastest-growing companies in the blockchain technology space, building developer tools, decentralized applications, and solutions that harness the power of Ethereum. Headquartered in New York, ConsenSys invests in and employs top entrepreneurs, computer scientists, software developers and experts in enterprise solution development and new venture creation worldwide.
John is a seasoned enterprise executive and serial entrepreneur with 30 years in business — a founder of IBM’s global blockchain organization, the open source Hyperledger Fabric project, the original taxi ride hailing service, Flywheel, and the international life science research consortium, IXC. He has created new lines of business for numerous Fortune 100 companies and government organizations. His writing on open source and open innovation have appeared in Harvard Business Review and publications by Harvard Business School Press.
Prior to joining ConsenSys, John was the global product executive for IBM Blockchain, with previous leadership roles serving Watson, IBM Cloud, Extreme Blue and alphaWorks.