Maybe your startup idea had impact when you first thought about it – but times are moving fast, and is your idea moving with them? Time to catch up with the Blockchain revolution says @miss_blockchain editor Akasha Konkoly. 

If you’re a startup, and blockchain technology isn’t already in your scope, you’re prime for disruption before your business even reaches launch.

More than $800,000,000 USD worth of ICO tokens were bought in September alone. That’s $800 million that went straight into the pockets of new startups in one month. By the end of 2017, the total will be $3.5 Billion, if not more.

These startups have the prerogative, backed by hard currency, to develop their products and services exactly how they like. Gone is the traditional need to build customer and brand loyalty over time, or push for private venture capital or government funding. (Although, as we can see through the case of Bancor and Tezos, you still need to deliver on your promises.)

This change to the startup playing field gives recent ICOs a huge market advantage in developing their product. They can deliver the products that they think customers will buy, rather than the ones VCs will fund, or the ones that shareholders will approve. The world’s visionaries have, all of a sudden, also become some of the world’s most prosperous women and men – and what the impact of that is on the future of technology and the economy we will have to wait and see.

Australian author David Fagan, in his book Wake Up -The nine h#shtags of Digital Disruption, lists in the chapter called ‘#RealityBites’ how established companies are often the least able to identify and adopt new technology as it becomes relevant to their industry, citing how Blockbuster turned down ownership of Netflix, and News Corporation lost out as a trusted news source to Facebook and on the job advertisement market to Seek because of its emphasis on print media.

We live in an information age intimately connected by h#shtags and @twitter tags, and it’s reasonable to see how, just like communications around the world have been disrupted by social media in less than a decade, just about every other industry is poised for disruption by blockchain, too. In fact, with so much money now in the hands of tech-visionaries, the rate of acceleration of change will just get faster.

Bitcoin prices peaked over $14,000 USD this week, and the more money that flows into Bitcoin, the more interest that flows out to these blockchain startups and their tokens. And what industries are in their sights? It’s more a question of what industries aren’t? A quick look at https://www.icoalert.com/ and you will get a massive wake-up call that the blockchain revolution is nigh and no industry sacred.

Australian ideas of what a contemporary startup looks like are finally catching up to this global trend. Melbourne’s Peter Caruana is founder of Bata, a Barter Blockchain ICO founded on Litecoin. He aims to create a new system of commerce that will create new jobs for an information based economy, and to help break away from the current system of debt based money.

Another Australian startup is Horizon State founded by Jamie Skella. Horizon State is leveraging blockchain technology to redesign the way that opinion is solicited, votes are cast, and decisions are made. Building atop of distributed ledger technology, they’ve created a digital ballot box which cannot be hacked, and is many multiples cheaper to run than traditional voting processes. Their latest news is a partnership with the United Nations to help the UN stamp out corruption and bribery.

It’s this sort of technology that means that questions such as whether the $122 million AUD cost of the Australian same-sex postal vote was truly worth it become moot (the outcome certainly was!). Voting on civil issues suddenly becomes as complicated or as easy as a blockchain, a push-notification and an App. That sure makes more sense than a few million Australian same-sex postal votes being lost in a pile of junk-mail of ambivalent voters (not that it changed the outcome). In a blockchain world, even politicians will be out of a job.

So, if you’ve been thinking that blockchain has nothing to do with you or with your business, there’s probably already an ICO out there ready to dominate your market space. And whilst your business might be struggling to attract customers, venture capital, or government funding, these new competitors may already have the cash flow to bring their complete vision for a new standard in your industry into full-blossomed reality.

That’s something to think about next time you’re taking a look at the five-year business plan.

And, for the rest of us, thinking we won’t be using blockchain in our business is a bit like thinking that Facebook was just for sharing baby photos back in 2007… It won’t just be a matter of which blockchain technology we use in our business, but how many. Just like with social media, we’ll be applying a whole suite of blockchain solutions in everyday business, from cloud storage and record keeping, to identity and payment.