There are some essential ingredients to any successful blockchain network. First, there’s a transactional process built around an asset. Further, I would highlight the network effect too, where the value grows as the network grows. A consortium owner and a positive business case are also important. My client engagements have provided support for these findings.
How do blockchain platforms decide who should be the member and who the user? Let’s take the case of Hyperledger. This is for business networks. The business case and supporting architecture have to factor into who members are and what the value of the network is for them. A permissioned network like this ensures that members are known.
Understanding the Types of Users
The best way to understand the different types of users is to consider this example further. There’s a consortium owner, namely the organisation with the network’s vision, its benefits for business and how it will serve as a disruptive technology for improving agility. An entity needs to be responsible for making networks work. In my view, a single consortium owner serves to maintain the systems in place.
Members are part of the network. These have peers which means data can be stored, chain codes executed via smart contracts and participation in the consensus process, in case the consortium owner permits it.
Adding Substance to Blockchain
Members are known for bringing substance and validating the network. It is their intelligence and data which is shared. But as members move up the chain, and networks mature, they can become consortium owners too.
The natural progression of members to consortium owners means even users who can access and input data, yet not own it, can become members if they add value to the network.
Set For Success?
As B2B workflow tools, distributed ledgers demand collaboration for executing transactions or developing infrastructure. These consortia are, therefore, mechanisms through which different parties such as companies, regulators and governments are coordinating.
Companies seeking to increase operational efficiency, propose new business models and client solutions should consider being part of the consortium.
Central banks, regulators and policy makers can also join the blockchain consortium. There are business focused as well as technology focused consortia. While the former operate to solve specific business problems, technology focused consortia seek to develop reusable platforms based on technical standards like Hyperledger, which I discussed earlier. Some consortia cover both such as R3.
The value of consortia is that they promote commercialisation of blockchain technology and only industry