Digital Currency Group sits down with Shroog Al Saquabi, a senior digital consultant and blockchain champion at IBM, to discuss the wide-ranging and sometimes complicated world of blockchain. She talks about learning about blockchain from the ground up, the power and transformative potential of blockchain technology, and how the complexity behind the industry and technology poses some of the biggest challenges in terms of education—but also presents some amazing opportunities. Click through to read all of her insights.
How did you first get introduced to the idea of blockchain technology?
I got introduced to Blockchain late 2015, I had heard the hype about this mysterious technology and I didn’t understand exactly what all the hype was about.
Early in 2016, I had a discussion with one of our IBM Middle East and Africa blockchain experts about what blockchain technology is and how it works. The first thing I understood was “it’s like a linked list data structure built on top of distributed database” and he gave me an example about how we can use it to track the provenance of luxury goods.
Then in Aug 2016, there were business and technical training courses held by IBM in Dubai, which were the first of its kind in the region as it was going very deep into the technology and included a day focused just on the writing of smart contracts. I was lucky enough to get a chance to attend them. These courses made things much clearer and understandable, but for some reason, I wasn’t convinced enough that we don’t have yet a technology that can provide the same solution and I started comparing it with some existing technologies. Since then, I’ve dedicated a lot of time learning about this technology and I’ve worked hard to understand it more and more and to differentiate it from existing technologies. Blockchain encompasses a broad category of technologies, every day I find myself discovering something new that makes me believe more that it has a critical role to play in the future of the business world. However, I have to remind myself we are still in its early stages.
At the beginning of 2017, I was appointed as IBM’s Blockchain Champion for Saudi Arabia, and have started teaching the local team about blockchain as well as engaging with IBM clients to help them understand how blockchain can transform their businesses.