The Forever Company

Technology can help us build things that last a long time

Will Murphy


Blockchain technologies are allowing us to create the first “forever companies”. Or a better term may be “forever ecosystems” or “forever networks”.

The lifetime of a centralized firm

Let’s set aside startups for a moment. We all know they are innovation machines that will likely burn brightly and often have short lifespans. Fortune 500 companies are our stable, bulwarks of dependability. So, let’s look at them.

According to Credit Suisse, the average lifespan of an S&P company has fallen from over 60 years to below 20 years today.

Average lifespan of an S&P 500 company

Source: Technology killing off corporate America: Average life span of companies under 20 years

Decentralized lifespans

Now, let’s speculate on the potential lifetime a digital commons blockchain solution. As long as company partners and nodes exist, the blockchain solution can live on. The partners and nodes may be switched out and it doesn’t matter. So, in the future we may have blockchains solutions that last over 100 years. They can contain canonical date that lives within an industry for a long time. With no individual firm as a point of failure, it’s theoretically possible.


I’m a fan of the clock of the long now, the 10,000 year clock. It’s an interesting project that is designed to make you stop and think about time. We should work on things that last. I think in order to find some of our most interesting blockchain opportunities over the next decade, we should think about forever solutions. Individual firms, they only last so long.

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