Minimal Viable Blockchain Ecosystem

Speaking with Diana Adachi on what is a MVE - a minimal viable ecosystem for a blockchain company. What do you need to assemble to succeed?

Any startup technology company is in business of building a MVP - a minimal viable product. You often talk about the need for a focus on MVE - a minimal viable ecosystem. We all know that MVEs are important, if not essential for a company to consider as they position themselves for success.
What is an MVE in the blockchain and why is it relevant to a blockchain startup?
Blockchain based networks/ecosystems are transactional in nature. For these networks to be viable, they require various stakeholders to participate and execute transactions, a platform, a business model, rules and governance at a minimum; hence Minimal Viable Ecosystem. So while early stage companies who are creating products/services as an offering need an MVP whereas a company who is building a blockchain or distributed ledger solution needs to focus on the community they are serving.
What is the tipping point of an MVE? What is the magic moment that you know that the MVE that you have created for your blockchain solution | company is working?
The tipping point of an MVE is when multiple stakeholders are able to consistently exchange assets and not just test transactions on a platform. There are established fundamental rules and a governance structure in which the stakeholders will operate under. Essentially they will have proven the ecosystem is operational. The next level is to begin to scale operationally, with additional stakeholders, increase volumes and enhance the platform.
What is an example of an MVE?
When you consider any network today regardless of the technology utilized, they all had an MVE at some stage. If you consider a blockchain, or distributed or shared ledgers then there is Bitcoin, Ripple (cross border money movement), B3i (insurers and re-insurers), and several others underway e.g. energy trading, digital rights management. Given you need multiple parties to come together this can take many years. Additionally, various regulators in each industry are also beginning to voice their opinions across jurisdictions. This adds another level of complexity and reduces time to market.
So as the blockchain ecosystem matures, what is most important for a company to consider to reach an MVE? What is the absolute “minimal” part of MVE? (Given that you need a balance or Venn diagram between what is minimum and what is “viable” to make for a good product and good ecosystem.)
At minimum a company needs to have a few key stakeholders (these are typically market makers for the ecosystem) transacting with each other and a platform to conduct transactions. Until they have this, it is still in a prototype phase.
Diana, Finally, what is the elephant in the MVE room? Why would a company fail to reach the MVE stage? Do you have any examples?
Companies generally fail because the ecosystem is not compelling enough to attract the market makers nor have the funds to sustain the business. To be compelling, a company has to solve an issue that isn’t resolved today. Having a better mousetrap generally is not good enough nor having a solution based on blockchain is not a reason for companies to participate in that solution/ecosystem/network. While there are many prototypes that are stymied because of this, there are also many who have either re-branded themselves or found a new niche to pursue. We are still early in the maturity cycle with blockchain enabled eco-systems so ask again in 18 months as it should become clearer who is on the path to MVE and those that have abandoned their efforts.
Let’s speak again then in 18 months to see how the market matures and how we move to a killer-app (or DApp) from simply building “better mousetraps”. Thanks.