Microsoft’s vision for the future of blockchain technology

JUN 14, 2024


The advent of Web3 and blockchain technology promises to usher in a new era of digital transformation, one that could rival the impact of the internet itself. In a recent discussion, Roundtable anchor Rob Nelson and Yorke Rhodes, Microsoft's director of digital transformation, explored this shift and its implications for the future.

Nelson began the conversation with a compelling assertion: “I'd argue Web3 and everything around blockchain is a new operating system, but I think it's bigger than the one we had before.” Rhodes agreed, emphasizing that the current transformation encompasses much more than just a metaverse or a virtual space. “Ownership is a massive part of that," he said. "I would also argue that AI and inference is as well.”

Rhodes also elaborated on the evolution of the tech stack from the 1990s to the present. “Now you've got read, write, own, and infer as your tech stack,” he explained. This new stack is poised to drive innovation over the next 10 to 15 years, bringing applications that are currently unimaginable. He pointed out the distributed nature of this system, a stark contrast to the single PC and server-based systems of the past.

Nelson, pushing for clarity, asked, “What might they expect that they haven't thought of? How is it going to actually change what I have in my hands or on my desk or in my phone?” Rhodes responded by drawing a parallel to the early 2000s when the impact of the internet was still unfolding. He cited Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' foresight with Amazon and the advent of mobile commerce as examples of unforeseeable innovations that fundamentally changed daily life.

Rhodes emphasized that this new foundation will similarly lead to unforeseen advancements. “There will be unimaginable things that happen in the next 10 to 15 years,” he predicted. Nelson, pressing for specifics, pointed out Microsoft's significant role in this transformation. Rhodes acknowledged this, outlining some fundamental changes we might expect.

He highlighted the newfound ability to own digital assets, transforming our interaction with the internet. “Everything that we've seen on the internet from our entire lives is now different because you can own it,” Rhodes said. This shift alters how we transfer value and interact with digital projects. The concept of a digital identity, for instance, will evolve, bringing new dimensions to how we perceive and manage our online presence.