Samantha Radocchia, co-founder at Chronicles answered this question, originally posted on Quora: What are the biggest obstacles to creating blockchain companies ?
Here is her response:
“When we first started Chronicled, it was a very unique time for blockchain-based businesses. No one really knew about blockchain, so our biggest challenge was just educating people about what it was, why they needed it, and how it could change their industry.
I used to open most of my conversations with, “Do you know what Bitcoin is?”
And if they did, I’d work to explain blockchain to them.
Now, there are different challenges we face as blockchain companies are evolving. We’re beyond basic vocabulary lessons, but we’re not yet to the point where people fully understand the technicalities or know how to spot misinformation.
That’s a problem, because there’s a lot of misinformation out there. But that’s just one of the many challenges new blockchain companies have to face.
1. Battling Misinformation
So, enemy number one is misinformation. This is partly because the market has been flooded by enthusiasts, and there’s a lot of incorrect information floating around. It’s being consumed by people just getting into the market.
Even common concepts like ICOs have been misunderstood in serious ways. People immediately started saying, “It’s like an IPO,” because the two acronyms are one letter away from each other. But in reality, ICOs are closer to crowdsourcing than anything else.
These misconceptions hurt both businesses and investors. I recently overheard a friend talking to his brother about which ICOs to buy tokens from, but his brother had only been involved in the trading space for about six months. When I pushed for how he chose tokens to invest in, I found he was just going with his gut.
As people within the industry, we know this is not a great idea. There are plenty of companies that put out white papers and hold ICOs for ideas that aren’t technologically feasible.
Any new blockchain company has to battle different types of misinformation and make sure their customers understand what they do—and what sets them apart from the scams.
2. Reaffirming Your Market Position
We’re facing this challenge at Chronicled right now. We’ve been around since 2014, and we’ve proven ourselves to be a legitimate company. We’ve built real software. We have solutions in production.
Last year, there was a flood of companies into our market. But consumers don’t always know which companies are the best, or are even legitimate. “Consumers,” in our case, means business executives who evaluate blockchain-based solutions for their companies.
These VPs of organizations are tasked with finding blockchain technology partners, and they’re faced with a variety of options—some viable, some not.
As a blockchain company, your challenge is to continually reaffirm your legitimacy and your market position. The first step to this is establishing a track record and building a team with real experience and strong technical skills.
3. Getting Brand Recognition
We’re at the point where blockchain companies—new or established—need to focus on brand recognition. At the moment, the best way to build brand recognition is through thought leadership. Whether it’s writing syndicated blog posts, contributing op-eds and quotes, or participating in education and commercial conferences, companies have to find way to get themselves in front of as many eyes as possible.
At Chronicled, we get inbound business requests that reference the educational panel we held or the podcast we contributed to. And they want to work with us because of it.
There’s still little awareness about the space, and so much misinformation, that there’s a need for thought leaders and people who are willing to spread their knowledge and their ideas. Your business has to step up, take that responsibility, and fill the knowledge gap. The returns are absolutely worth it.
4. Understanding Cost, Timing, And Ease Of Implementation
People always ask me about the technical challenges involved in a blockchain business, and those are certainly important considerations. But so much of building a successful solution comes down to the cost, timing, and ease of implementation.
It’s great to think about the more exciting, visionary use cases of the future. The reality is, rolling out a new solution is incremental. And it’s likely going to be based on an existing software platform.
Don’t underestimate the power of existing processes or the difficulty involved in building a network. The companies who’ve succeeded in doing so—think Facebook and Amazon—are few and far between. To leverage the benefits of blockchain, you need to build a network. It’s unrealistic to expect thousands of incredibly innovative companies popping up.
Instead, focus on solving real problems in the market. You have to give people a reason to use blockchain instead of the existing process. And you have to be willing to work hard to develop a strong team and viable solutions. If you can do that, you’ll have a shot at success.”