We have seen the rise and fall of thousands of blockchain projects over the last couple of years. Some have prospered and gained traction and support to prove the viability of their product offering for a considerable period of time. For others, not short enough it was. Despite the fact that the blockchain market still resembles the Wild West, in-depth analysis of the newfangled industry proves that some factors seem to be universal for projects willing to survive both financially and socially in an increasingly competitive and demanding market.

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Lay Of The Land

The slump of the crypto market has proven that interest in speculative coins has plummeted. The bitter experience of the last few years has irrevocably tied boastful promises with scams, and shown that ill reputational image is not easy to erase.

On the other hand, mass adoption is being fostered by the proverbial giants of the world as China has eased its stand on blockchain’s status. Chinese state powerhouses, such as the Agricultural Bank of China, the Commercial Bank of China and the China Construction Bank, are incorporating blockchain solutions from IBM for verifying transactions.

Speaking of IT giants, Microsoft, among other major players, is also developing a decentralized solution. And retail companies like Walmart are implementing blockchain for logistics operations. Such heightened interest in blockchain is not surprising, considering that the industry is predicted to reach $23 billion by 2023 (subscription required).

Community First

Data reported on by CCN states that a blockchain project’s average life is less than two years. The blockchain market has reached maturity as those who had started out as holders, newbies and hamsters have gradually evolved from that derogative bestiary to become hardened specialists capable of identifying real potential and financial viability among projects.

Personally, I’ve been immersed in the blockchain technology universe since 2013, launching Blockchance and its annual Blockchance Conference in 2018. In that time, I have witnessed the blockchain market’s maturity. Having a sprawling white paper loaded onto a fancy website incensed with “shock and awe” vocabulary all on the wheels of a moot road map is no longer enough to attract a following of users, much less the attention of serious investors.

The trend being observed now is one of “community first,” under which the project focuses on the opinions of its community members in development matters, rather than their own vision. The feedback of the community becomes a kind of democratic instrument in project traction and popularization as a product tailored for the users, and not for the founders alone.

Social media is playing a key role in fostering such a community-oriented approach, as it is becoming the key communication instrument in spreading the word about a project and garnering support. By resorting to the community-first business model, recent projects have been able to attract significant numbers of followers for product testing and application, which has also raised awareness about the project in investor circles.

The GLBrain project, for instance, leveraged blockchain to offer a social media platform akin to Facebook. The project has handed over the reins entirely to the community, along with ownership and control of personal data, making a far more decentralized and libertarian platform. Another decentralized social media platform following the community-first model is Dreamr — a platform on which users declare their dreams and find like-minded individuals for crowdfunding and development. Prior to the product launch, the project built an Instagram community of more than 13,000 individuals.

The user-focused approach to project development has also helped Ethereum Express, another blockchain project that took a stance in favor of the community-first model, to attract a strong community. The members are actively engaged in product testing and deciding the direction of project development in terms of future areas of application.

Blockchain international events like World Blockchain Summit and my own company’s Blockchance Conference are still gaining momentum, with the potential to create a powerful community and strengthen ties between its participants. At the last BlockShow in Singapore, cryptocurrency leaders revealed the most fruitful interaction: face-to-face communication. Thanks to conferences at this level, hundreds of people have the opportunity to share experiences and spend time networking and enjoying small talk.

Community Is A Gold Of The 21st Century

The opinions and data of users online make up the new gold of the 21st century, and companies worldwide are engaged in a battle for control over it. The blockchain market is one of the most affected by this struggle, as it has turned out that the opinions of the community will mean the difference between life or death for a project and its idea.

It is the crypto community that chooses trends for each upcoming season. And to reach a new development stage, projects and their founders must take into account the opinion and desire of society. However, we need something stronger than chats and forums — users’ dialogues can be easily faked. Perhaps projects should implement a blockchain-based feedback system in their products.

The opinion of the crypto community may become the new gold that global companies hunt for, since — no matter how you say it — any success depends on people. And not only those people who stand at its base. Ahead of us, obviously, is another unresolved problem: how to ensure the integrity of all users’ opinions. If everything is clear with transactions and finances, then how do we understand what is going on in the minds of billions of people? Over time, humanity will certainly solve this issue, possibly even with the help of blockchain technology.

This article was first released on Forbes Communication Council

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