Web3 Innovators

Blockchain Innovators - Conor Svensson and Yorke Rhodes

September 15, 2021 Season 1 Episode 10
Web3 Innovators
Blockchain Innovators - Conor Svensson and Yorke Rhodes
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Blockchain Innovators, Conor Svensson - founder and CEO of Web3 Labs, talks to Yorke Rhodes - Director Digital Transformation, Blockchain, Cloud Supply Chain at Microsoft.

Yorke explains the path that led him to blockchain and how he co-founded blockchain at Microsoft. Conor and Yorke also talk about Yorke's work using blockchain in supply chains and digital identity and how NFTs have finally crossed the chasm!

Yorke is on the board for the Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition and is also an Adjunct Professor at NYU where he has taught Digital Marketing and Intrapreneurship and currently teaches Ecommerce with a healthy dose of blockchain.

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Hi, it's Conor Svensson here, founder and CEO at Web3 Labs. This is a conversation I had with  Yorke Rhodes. Yorke is a Director of Digital Transformation of Blockchain and Cloud Supply  Chain at Microsoft. In this discussion, we talk about the path that led him to blockchain and  how he co-founded blockchain at Microsoft. We also talked about his work using blockchain in supply  chains and digital identity and how NFTs have now crossed the chasm. Yorke is also on the board for  the Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition and an adjunct professor of digital and e-commerce  marketing at New York University, so he brings a great depth of perspective and knowledge to the  discussion. Yorke, it's awesome to have you here. Yeah, great to be here, too bad we couldn't be in  person. Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So what I wanted to start with was kind of what pulled  you into blockchain in the first place and learn a bit more about that. Especially because you're one  of the people who really made blockchain a thing within Microsoft as one of the co-founders of the  initiatives there. So, I'd love to hear more about how that came to be and your journey around that.  Sure, so I've been on a pretty much innovation journey throughout my career, always on the  leading edge of various technologies. Actually, going all the way back to when I started in  computers in the first place, I basically started making these sort of decisions about what I would  do and what I didn't want to do. The first one was after I took my first Computer Science  class in college. It was on the mainframe and I was like 'I'm not doing that again!'  and I was very fortunate to be at the cusp and the beginning of the IBM PC and the Apple era  and so basically decided that I was going to spend all my time on PCs because they were very  accessible and open and as sort of a standard, if you want to call it that. So that's what I've  been sort of doing throughout my career, just looking at the next wave of technology. I was  pretty deliberately, I would say in the late 2010s you know for the next couple years looking  at what were the emerging trending technologies going on obviously commerce. Everything about  e-commerce was was quite big by that time and mobile, which is where I was working,  was quite big so it was always looking at like what's on the cutting edge of what we should be  thinking about from a technical perspective that's relevant to brands and consumers and that will be  transformative. So, I was quite fortunate to be doing regular listening and research and  basically coming across my social feeds in early 2015 were all these weird computer science terms  that we know and love in the blockchain space but, sort of intrigued me - why  I'm hearing about all of these very technical protocol terms that I heard and dealt with in  college. That kind of woke me up. Eventually, I realized that this was because of blockchain,  right? The distributed technology we're dealing with and from there convinced myself over a period  of study that this was a transformative technology that had many different types of applications  and in particular could have massive,  what I would call, sort of a humanitarian or consumer or constituent centric value propositions  around the world depending on the particular plate or thrive of a particular consumer constituent.  So, I happen to then also in 2015 be introduced to my co-founder Marley Gray, who was on a similar  journey very specifically looking at the financial services applications of blockchain technology.  So I was in the partner team. We basically split up the work where I took on all the partner work  and he continued to focus on his client base essentially. That was really the beginning  of our journey, very informally formed with relatively new leadership under Satya Nadella,  really with an empowering statement from the beginning of his journey about having a growth  mindset about what we think we should do as as employees and really embrace that quite hard.  So that started our sort of as I said, informal journey that became more and more crystallized  over time. Now we were very fortunate to be working early on with ConsenSys in 2015 and  sort of trying to figure out what could we do together that was productizable or meaningful  and this was when we fell into well, logically where the market is, it needs developer tools  and we want to encourage more developers to come in. So, this is when we basically started working  on the visual studio plug-in for Solidity along with ConsenSys and Juan Blanco and others to  sort of get a Microsoft stamp so to speak, on that capability. Bring it into the developer audience  of visual studio and this is actually before VS code, right? Before Visual Studio code, so  fairly early in that journey as well but we were able to essentially ship that plug-in  in march of 2016. So very early in our journey we had something that we put into the market  as a statement, as a tool without yet a proper engineering team,  right? We're still very early in the journey. So, at that point, being so early on, as you said,  there was kind of this innovation remit that was coming from the top of the company under  Satya's leadership but at the same time, it must have been challenging to get people on board with  this thing that's happening, this decentralized world? How did those conversations go because they  can't have been straightforward? Well I think I'm grounded having been on many innovation journeys.  I'm very grounded by what an innovation journey is and what that means for any technology regardless  of what it is, right, including blockchain and decentralized technologies. So, on a journey  like that our, at least my perspective on what does this mean for the next n years in terms of  what I will do at Microsoft, it was recognizing that the ecosystem in which I was playing was a  Microsoft ecosystem, right? That in an innovation journey, whether I was running an external startup  and or an internal startup, basically the proxy for the external consumer adoption  and believers was the Microsoft community, right, the Microsoft executives. So that  grounded me, knowing that like 95% of the conversations were going to be not very positive,  right? And that literally is any innovation journey, right? It's like you have  a small percentage of believers and a high percentage of disbelievers.  Yeah. Is my video still running for you by the way? Yeah, yeah it's all good I'll let  you know if there's any problems and obviously we'll get this section cut out as well. Great.  So in those early days, I mean, the focus there was on really empowering developers and  to build on it which I guess, is slightly reflective of where blockchain was in 2016 in that  Ethereum was there but even before that point where you'd had the ICO mania started bubbling  up that year and subsequently. But in terms of the recognition and acknowledgement of where the  good use cases were and so on, prior to that there were well-known things around like elimination of  reconciliations and things like settlements and various other ones, but at that point in your  experience were there some clear applications that you were really excited about? Or, has it been  gradual over the last few years that you've really started to see these are the killer things that  are really going to work well? Which obviously is reflected in the recent successes. So I identified  really I think from my perspective two areas that were obvious for this type of technology early on.  One was consumer identity and how that could have an impact in the humanitarian space. The other was  what does the supply chain look like and how do supply chains touch the developing world and  therefore what could we do from a decentralized technology perspective to enhance what's going on,  not from not just from an enterprise perspective but also from a contractor and  a worker perspective in the very far upstream of the supply chain. So those two areas really were,  in fact, I wrote about both of those in 2016/ 2017 because I think they were  quite obvious for this technical approach and that really began the journey of Microsoft's work,  along with others and the identity team, to understand that there's something remarkable about  using a distributed public key infrastructure that's not owned by any institution or  individual to actually be a root of trust. Microsoft's Identity Team, which is a  entire engineering team that's focused on all of our identity products including active directory  and authorization services and Windows Hello and everything that you see from a Microsoft,  multi-factor sign-on capability exists within the context of the identity engineering group.  So that's where basically the identity work was landed  and really stewarded within that group through product release cycles. Going a bit deeper on the  identity piece, that's something that this year there's been some big announcements coming from  Microsoft and the whole decentralized identity initiative. Active directory being such a  foundational there and for so many organizations as well when it comes to identifying all the  different parts of the business as well as the individuals working within it,  where do you see we are right now versus where we need to get to? Because of course,  there's this notion of being able to remove these centralized platforms but it's something that's  going to take time. Also you need the right organizations there who are providing like  the claims verification and the... sorry, providing the trust element of these credentials  that get issued to blockchains and so on. Yeah, so the work both in blockchain as well as in identity  started out in Microsoft as incubations basically explorations within an engineering group about the  technology, understanding it, what could be things that are relevant to Microsoft to do.  In the identity space, I think it was probably even harder than it was in the blockchain space to  understand where Microsoft had a role to play and then also there's always a pressure  at some point for revenue so the question always is 'why are we doing this? Is this a strategic  initiative? Is this a standards initiative? How is this going to generate revenue on a product  basis? Or, Is this just something that is a game changer and we need to do it?'  I think what the realization in the identity team was, it was pretty effectively a game changer,  right? You're basically flipping authentication and authorization right on its head and when  you do that and this is really the revelation is that, you unwind a whole bunch of very complicated  spaghetti federations that you don't need if you put the identity trust in the hands of  the consumer and then have essentially claims of what that consumer is allowed to do. And so  it's a fascinating area and Microsoft Identity Team basically looked at that and said 'Well  does that help our our core problem set around offer authorization? The answer was yes. Does it  do things that are remarkably different and better from that perspective? And yes was the answer. So  then you started to look at well, to your point, active directory is about in eighty percent of  institutions, government, private sector, not-for-profit, commercial entities alike  and that becomes a huge lever of a vehicle, essentially a ship vehicle, for capabilities  or features or whatever you want to call it where now we could take our newfound belief and start to  fuse it onto a ship vehicle. So what's actually launched now through a couple of years of  announcements and incubations is an ability for a customer to flip a switch on active directory  which allows them to issue DIDs to their employees and then verifiable claims that  say this is an employee and then this employee is active and has an authorization to do things  within the context of active directory which is your sort of your enterprise or your institutional  permissioning system and so that's where we are. The foundational  way that was laid down from a blockchain perspective was through the work we've done in  the decentralized identity foundation with all the different organizations, small and large, working  on this type of identity and verification systems is to say well we need to if we're going to  actually issue a DID and verifiable claims we need a way to do that, we need a way to do it at scale.  So that's where the ION project emerged out of. It's like how do we provide essentially a layer  to buffer for identity registration and lookup and ION's sort of counterpart is called Element.  One is a specific version for the decentralized bitcoin blockchain. The other is a  version for the decentralized Ethereum blockchain. It's not  necessarily personally the way I would have actually shipped the product. I  probably would have done it more with single code base with options whereas these are two  separate code bases entirely that may change over time. Then I think to the last point is that that  layer two, like any other layer two technology, has to be run by essentially validators  and so that journey is really, I would say, very quite nascent, getting people to run  those layer two nodes. But you know, everything is there from a technical perspective to actually  realize the vision of delivering, registering, creating DIDs at scale with verifiable claims,  leveraging the act directory asset as a way to sort of push the market into the space.  Then in terms of for organizations, this notion of having these identities linked to blockchains,  being decentralized in their nature and so you don't have those same single points of failure,  granted there are various kind of failover patterns and so on in enterprise architectures  that help kind of address some of this but then there's something incredibly powerful  though about that resilient unstoppable sort of infrastructure powering this.  Yeah, I mean if you look at the challenges that the internet has today, it's basically  challenges associated with centralized services and they might be slightly decentralized,  right? It might be three providers or five providers. But those types of services,  to your point, you build up massive fortresses to protect them because they are vulnerable points  of capability. DNS falls into this category as an example among other types of constrained service  provider environments. If you take this to the most logical sort of end state and you look at,  besides the example I just used which you could bring down the internet by attacking a small  number of parties essentially, and that overcoming that is obviously critical. Then secondly if you  take it to an even further end state which is - now I've been issued credentials by my government  and my government becomes overthrown and potentially a very bad regime comes into power and  can start to abuse the credentials and information they have about people for many, many horrific  humanitarian nightmares and so that's where these things sort of come together, right?  This is obviously a scaled-up technology but it's also a scaled-up humanitarian problem around the  world. So I think obviously we're a long way from adoption particularly on the second part of that,  but I think the tools that are in place and so it's very bullish for the future. Yeah,  absolutely. With you talking as well about the humanitarian angle, something that you're very  involved in, or on the board of, is the Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition that's been going for  a number of years. What is it that kind of pulled you in there because it's obviously something that  you care a lot about? Yeah, so the key thing that I was looking for was a place really to sort of  consolidate my efforts in around blockchain in the humanitarian space and so this was a vehicle to do  that. It was incubated inside of ConsenSys and once it actually emerged out of ConsenSys, then  it became a place where I could be a board member. I was already working quite closely with them and  really enjoyed the work that they were doing and I was supporting that. So becoming a board member,  there was logical from that perspective and then secondly, it gave me a very good  place to just consolidate my efforts around blockchain in the humanitarian sector.  The organization has focused on things, we did it on Earth Day last year,  we had already actually gone remote from an event perspective so we were well set up and planned  to hold a remote Earth Day event. This is early in the pandemic, Earth Day is in April.  That was a huge success, it's on our YouTube channel, all of the content that we  delivered there. Effectively we run incubators, coach startups, connect  the various communities in the humanitarian space around different types of initiatives with the  hardcore blockchain developer community to really create new interesting patterns and help companies  get founded and things like that. So it's really bringing together two communities, it's one of  the primary successes of the organization. It takes a lot of work. It's basically 100 volunteer  at this point and so we rely heavily on our volunteers and their interests really to drive  what the organization wants to do and focus on. So if we looked at one of this year's focus,  not surprisingly is what's going on in the NFT space and DeFi space. Last year we did  a lot around climate and Earth Day. I think this is one of the other things that often people don't  talk so much about is how big an opportunity DeFi presents as well for some of those nations  where there are significant numbers of unbanked or just they have currency, local currencies, and so  on that are subject to things like hyperinflation because of the regime that comes in and how it  levels the playing field for these people in that. Yes, there's regulation that needs to be put in  place around DeFi but there's also the equitable access it provides too in that if someone wants to  get a return on their, I don't know... whether it's like a USDC stablecoin for instance,  if they've got a hundred dollars worth of it or a hundred thousand dollars they still get the  same return. It's not like the existing financial markets where there's people that don't have that  global access to the same office and economies of scale serve people quite differently. I think  generally the crypto asset space and the payment space around crypto assets is  it's a hard to navigate space because you're dealing with different financial regulations  in different states in the United States for example and then at the Federal Government level,  different financial regulations in the European Union and across different parts of the world.  By definition, the underlying technology of crypto is a global phenomenon and I think the  closer that regulators get to understanding that and the value of that actually, I think the better  obviously. I think the work that a lot of people are doing in the crypto and DeFi  space is really trying to help educate and we've seen good examples of that.  In the United States, the pipeline hack which resulted in a cryptocurrency traceability  case study by the FBI is a great example of 'okay, it's not a a black market', right? You  can actually follow the transactions appropriately and then use tactics to coerce people who hold the  private keys to actually give them. That's a good thing. That means that the government is realizing  that they can track what's going on on this financial rail and I think to your point,  people have been looking at various methods of financial inclusion for many years  because of the potential humanitarian value propositions. I think the combination of,  to your point, DeFi and stable coins in emerging markets is a very powerful combination  along with a transaction and an economic transactional history for folks whether they're  smallhold farmers or other types of local economy transactors. This all will provide significant  value to those constituents and give them ways to have stable value independent of  potentially massive local currency fluctuations which is not necessarily a great statement  for central bankers but in some cases, it's a reality. Also to your point, look into various earning protocols around savings, earnings, whatever you want to call it, loan protocols  around that value is extremely important for those markets. One of the early examples that  I talked about in my blockchain journey in the humanitarian space was about smallhold farmers  and how smallhold farmers particularly in this case could benefit from an economic history and  the potential loans associated with that economic history to acquire equipment that would let them  actually be more efficient with their crops - therefore get more value for their crops,  therefore improve their economic situation.  Yeah. Certainly, especially when you talk about these more remote regions,  things as well that are kind of crossing over and coming from big initiatives like Microsoft's  push to net zero for instance, and the whole offsetting carbon markets and creating these  technologies making use of IoT and blockchain to actually provide more accurate measurements of  where these initiatives are happening because often it is in these more remote or  smaller communities you might be planting whether it's trees or reducing the amount of  emissions they're doing through more efficient cookers, there's so much happening in these other  applications of the technology. Yeah and I think there's a great point. There's so many areas of  remote emerging economies, local regions that a large enterprise touches whether it's because of  the supply chain, in the fashion industry going down to cotton and other raw materials, in the  high-tech industry it's going down to the raw materials that make up silicon chips, right? So  the question then becomes, I mean, take a classic example problem set in the high tech community is  the origin of cobalt. About 20% of the origin of cobalt comes from what are identified as conflict  sources. This means that they're coming from mines which oddly enough are called artisanal mines,  which sounds like a cottage industry, but it's not, it's essentially small hole miners who  are mining without appropriate tooling protection and etc and then not getting the value out of the  goods that they're mining in the ground, not doing anything to protect the local environment which is  creating havoc in those regions. Then how does a company, a responsible company,  that is very involved in responsible mineral sourcing like Microsoft actually incentivize  change in that market, right? What can a global infrastructure of payment technology actually  do to allow a large enterprise to affect change in remote regions of the world? So I can clearly  see that there's obviously an incentive change needed in the local artisanal mining regions  of the world right to get children back into school and out of the mines, right? That's just  an incentive problem, but how can we do that at scale from large enterprise corporate headquarters  that today for Microsoft largely exists in Redmond, Washington? A technology like this  that is globally accessible with all types of payment and savings and earnings mechanisms  makes it quite easy assuming you have minimal technical capability in region. For example,  a mobile device that can hold those things, a wallet and applications, to actually impact change  in that market, this is very different than how you think about what's been going on for the last  n number of decades in the humanitarian sectors where you had to, and you still have today,  local NGOs who work on the ground , who work with the small farmers or the smallhold miners or what  have you, to help educate them about what's possible and what change could happen and  the tooling that would allow that to happen but the ability then to actually facilitate the scale  of that through a globally accessible technology that has globally accessible assets and protocols.  It's a remarkable difference to where we've been before and even just a classic example is  why did M-Pesa have such success in the region where it existed but didn't have success anywhere  else in the world, right? So that's a scale problem and it tells you that one, you're  dealing with a single provider problem and two, you're dealing with a local government problem and  so if you move those things out of the way you've effectively got global incentive rails.  You can then leverage. Yeah, it is an amazing thing in terms of that anyone really anywhere  if they just need a computer and internet access, they can create something that can have so much  impact. Or, in a lot of cases, just mobile now. Yeah. People are operating off of, primarily  off of, mobile in most regions of the world. Absolutely. So, moving on to supply chains because  this is an area obviously that you're passionate about. It's been a big year as well for Microsoft  in that respect because the company, and this was obviously something you were very involved in,  won the top award for supply chain breakthrough of the year as the sub category for process or  technology innovation of the year and that was from Gartner I believe? Yeah, so that's  an unexpected and remarkable milestone in the blockchain journey. To have the top award in a  category and supply chain obviously, but to have the top award going to this technology  which is still very much on the innovation curve and I think it's really about how the technology  was applied, what's the thinking behind what we've done, how are we looking at it from a  global scale perspective and what's the impact of the organization doing to work, right? So  if you summarize all those things, the Microsoft Cloud business is a $60 billion a year revenue  stream, it's a very large business for Microsoft, one of its largest and the reason for the  blockchain award was because we took blockchain, looked at the multi-company collaboration problem,  thought about the mining problems and the incentives that we were just talking about  in the cobalt mines, and thought about the end-to-end opportunity of creating genealogy for  essentially silicon-based products or any kind of high-tech products and then figured out how can we  actually step through that, how can we start to impact change in that category. So we selected,  and this is our high-value commodity supply chain and high value commodities in high tech space,  our things like CPUs, GPUs, SSD, DRAM hard drives, all of the expensive electronic components that go  into a consumer device like a surface or they go into a rack in a data center right and so it  makes up a very high percentage of the value that runs our cloud in terms of those products. It's a  relatively constrain... I don't say constrained, it's a relatively finite market. There's not  that many providers in CPU, GPU hard drive et cetera, et cetera and so you can quickly get to  a high percentage of penetration in that market which then drives other interesting opportunities.  So for Microsoft, we chose a journey. We focused on a specific set of inventory, SSD and DRAM,  the inventory represents about 50 percent of the rack value  or the cost of a rack, so it is a very impactful place to start. It involved a set of nine  suppliers in our commodity supply chain including SSD and DRAM providers, manufacturers, as well as  our warehouse hub provider, as well as a set of systems integrators and most of those are actually  represented in the first blog that I wrote on the topic. So, you know, we've been on this journey,  the first conversation was February 2018. Yeah. So it's been a while on the journey but in terms  of like implementation, we are in production since last fall on some percentage of the  SSD and RAM volume that flows through from our manufacturers to the hub into our data centers  and we are now basically iterating on that journey for the next phase to bring on the  rest of the high value commodity supply chain and also to layer in financial controls in our  supply chain. That's basically the next 12 plus months of this particular journey  and so we have great partners on board that are quoted in the blog, Lenovo, Arrow, SK Hynix, CT Systems, Micron and others. I think from what's happening, what's the impact of it,  how have we thought through it, what's the technical approach,  you know all those things sort of went into 'okay well, clearly this is something that could win the  innovation award in a category'. We felt our chances were at least 50/50 in that category  and there's an interesting, a sort of what I would call collaborative judging process, where  Gartner weighs in, a set of industry judges weigh in, and then a set of Gartner (quote, unquote)  'community members' which are all the paying subscribers or partners weigh in and so from a  validation perspective there's something there for an innovative technology like blockchain.  It's really crossing through a number of different communities that I think is a  really important milestone for blockchain in any industry including supply chain. Also, just one of  the details there too is that it was two and a half years from inception to actually being in  production and serving the nine, well you're just nine, providers. That in itself is impressive  given that the historical complexity of getting these larger organizations to talk to one another  going from a prototype to production in within one organization typically can be looking at  a multi-year time horizon in some cases and so to actually achieve that degree of coordination  around them is a very impressive feat as well! Yeah, I mean effectively you're taking nine, and  nine large, enterprises on an IT transformation journey, not just one, right? So that is a huge  coordination problem and requires weekly calls with each supplier partner that we work with  to go through test development cycles on every sprint feature upgrade and so our partners have  been on this journey with us. Everyone has has worked really hard to achieve this, it's not  just Microsoft, it's nine parties working hard together to achieve this and some of the folks  in this particular supply chain have done other great work in blockchain like Lenovo has done  quite a bit of work in blockchain and others as well. So it also speaks to the technology  is beyond the proof of concept stage. People are actually doing things with it and this  is a great milestone to highlight that point and we're incredibly grateful to our partners  for being on this journey with us and from my personal perspective, I'm incredibly grateful to  the leaders in the cloud organization. Again, it's a $60 billion dollar revenue line to have belief  in what we were doing and belief in me to be able to achieve it. Yeah, absolutely, it's huge!  So, moving on to one of the other areas that has exploded this year but been around for a  couple of years, NFTs. Where do you see... well are you excited by them? What are the  areas that you see them having good potential? Yeah, so NFTs are just such a great example  of a technology crossing the chasm into the realm of zeitgeist consumer mindshare moments. Different types of consumers, consumers meaning  creators and artists and musicians to global brands, they're creating new assets,  interesting assets for campaigns and other reasons, to collectors and speculators, right?  If you look at all of those, the ones that are the most risk-averse are the brands,  right? Because the brands are always scared about their reputation, anything they do, how it  could impact their reputation and so the fact that we've gotten so far in such a short period of time  with this NFT phenomenon is a crossing the chasm moment, right? Yeah, yeah. Almost  all of the people that I just spoke about are not doing the type of due diligence that  you and I understand is necessary from a protocol perspective coming from the protocol space,  but brands generally are doing a better job of that because they have the reputational aspect,  right? So they're thinking hard about what is an NFT, right? What does that mean? What does it mean  for my books? What does it mean for my consumer and customer? How does that impact me from a  carbon footprint perspective? How do I communicate that in a way that makes sense? Am I giving the  true promise of NFTs to a consumer when I'm telling them I'm giving them an NFT, right?  And that's, certainly for our Microsoft brand, we've been approaching it. So I have to assume  that other large brands with similar size are probably approaching it with very similar lens.  Because that's all on the positive side, right? Interestingly by the way, I've been teaching about  blockchain and NFTs and supply chain in my e-commerce class that I teach at NYU. It's  a grad program specifically on e-commerce and I've been teaching about blockchain and have  often gotten flack about why am I teaching about blockchain in my e-commerce class. I'm  not teaching about protocols, I'm teaching about interesting things like NFTs and impact and how  you use the technology and this is such a great example. NFTs represent essentially the future of  e-commerce from a digital asset perspective for sure. I think that to me is fascinating. Now,  on the blockchain engineer, decentralization, euphoric protocol geeks, a lot of people sort of view these crossing the chasm moments as dumbing down the technology or  very dumbing down the audience of who's using the technology. It's inevitable. It's happened  in every technical revolution that's been out there, including the internet itself. So,  protocol engineers need to keep doing what they're doing and not worry about what the  consumers are doing with the technology so much. Yeah. This goes back to that whole saying that  people don't care about how things work, they care that they work right.  A great example of that is there's a great speaker who talks about the Steve Jobs  approach to the consumer value proposition. It's really exactly what you just said,  which is start with 'why?'. People don't care what you did, they care why you did it, right? Yeah,  I think that insight is alone this crossing the chasm moment where brands are actually looking  at NFTs, I think that's such a crucial insight. Something that I don't think people are talking  about as much as they should be because that has really enabled this technology to move into an  entirely different domain that I think a year ago, yes people would have appreciated that this was  possible but they didn't think it would have had so much impact just 12 months later. Yeah, I mean,  the value proposition there is huge. You cannot ask for a better motivator than brands seeing  the value proposition of the awareness campaigns that NFTs are driving and that's just scratching  the surface. There's a lot of marketing people who are just fascinated like, 'I want to do that  NFT thing', because it created a moment and I'm like 'that's awesome but you could also do this,  you could do that, you could do this', right? It's a programmable asset. There's so many things you  could do with it that you're not thinking about, the world is endless if you have the right brands  involved and it's a particularly interesting lever in large brands. Whether it's a brand in the music  space or entertainment space or a brand in the high-tech space like Microsoft or Apple or others.  Yeah. I mean, it'll be amazing to see really what happens in the future as the space grows  because I'm sure there's going to be so many more innovations that we just don't see coming. It'll  also drive the back end. What NFTs represent is not only crossing the chasm but scale problem  to this technology. So any large brand that gets engaged is gonna have to  understand what the scale problem is that they're going to create by just doing what they're doing.  So that then drives what they do from a technical approach perspective, which then drives the  market to provide the services necessary to that technical approach. One of the  most amazing things about NFTs is an NFT really doesn't meet the promise of what an NFT is if  it's not registered in a public blockchain that's decentralized enough. So I think there's pretty  wide recognition that one of those foundational technologies is Ethereum, that's decentralized  enough and therefore meets the promise. It's where 90% of the NFT work is being done anyway  and so that's both a risk for brands, as well as a risk for consumers and protocol engineers because  if you go back to the statement I made earlier, which is consumers purchasing goods are not  looking at the underlying protocol, you never do that, it doesn't doesn't happen generally when  you buy things off the shelf right which is what an NFT represents in the digital sphere. So  not knowing if it's really meeting the promise of what's on the label, it's an NFT, does it really  meet the promise of what an NFT is supposed to be? Is it an open ecosystem? Do you really own it?  Who are the central parties controlling it? Is it really decentralized such that there isn't  a central party? Those are all not questions that a consumer is asking and that actually  creates a risk to the underlying protocols because how do you communicate that message?  Frankly it's an opportunity for a lot of organizations to enter the market that  have not achieved the decentralization that Ethereum has achieved and say they are doing  registering NFTs but maybe not meeting the promise in the way that Ethereum meets the promise.  Yeah, yeah. Hopefully it will continue to stay that way and there will be  that recognition of the importance of staying true to that openness that we need to have there. Yeah,  Yorke it has been absolutely fantastic to talk today. If people want to  find you, I know that you're very active on Twitter and LinkedIn, are they the best ways  to reach out to you or just going to follow what you're up to or are there other ways? So those  would be the best ways. I've been toying with the idea of a reading list because I do a lot of  reading but right now, Twitter and LinkedIn and YouTube are places where you'll find  content and things that I'm interested in so that's the best place. There are a number of  Microsoft blogs that I've written but they don't get the coverage that you get on social media.  So it's great speaking Conor, thank you for hosting us. Yeah, awesome, see you soon, thanks.