In a recent round up of blockchain news, Deb Miller of CMS Wire listed down some of the significant signs that might reveal blockchain’s ultimate fate.
Blockchain could be the beacon of light for protocols all over the world
Many of us were first introduced to blockchain as the underlying distributed ledger technology enabling the digital currency Bitcoin. But blockchain has moved beyond its flashy cryptocurrency origins.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, describes blockchain as “a shared, programmable, cryptographically secure and therefore trusted ledger which no single user controls and which can be inspected by anyone.”
With blockchain, an asset has a record of origin and a history of ownership. And with blockchain, a current owner can authenticate a transaction that would cause an asset to be transferred to another owner.
Blockchain will be scalable and interoperable within any ecosystem
A complex and multi-layered vendor ecosystem is forming around blockchain as digital infrastructure. With all the differing platforms and tools, solution providers and enterprise adopters are demanding interoperability as they move from blockchain pilots to production. Yet efforts toward standards have just begun.
Groups like the Blockchain Interoperability Alliance are being created to collaborate on researching interchain transactions and communications. And the importance of standards and interoperability is reflected in other initiatives like the Linux Foundation-backed Hyperledger and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). The EEA has grown to over 200 members, including JPMorgan and Santander, as well as newer members like MasterCard, Intel and Microsoft.
The increasing pressure for interoperability, as well as the rising interest in standards, indicates that blockchain is moving toward business impact.
Industries Will Flock to Blockchain
Scientist and futurist Roy Amara coined what has come to be known as “Amara’s Law,” which states:
“We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”
Blockchain is currently making its way through the Gartner hype cycle, which tracks the course of new technologies from the peak of inflated expectations to the plateau of productivity that some, but not all, achieve. In a post on Smarter with Gartner, Gartner analyst Christy Pettey predicted that blockchain is poised to create a transformative impact.
With current experimentation happening across every industry, here are just a few examples of how blockchain is chasing potential long-term value, from enabling the traditional world of finance, to expanding insurance into developing markets, to changing how creative industries operate, and helping the healthcare and life sciences sector deliver better patient value.
In financial services, Swiss bank UBS and U.K.-based Barclays are both experimenting with blockchain as a way to expedite back-office functions and settlement, which some in the banking industry say could cut up to $20 billion in middleman costs, according to CB Insights.
Blockchain: Cowboy Town 2.0
McKinsey currently likens blockchain to the Wild West — “a place of recklessness and chaos and calamity.”
In fact, the biggest problems for blockchain adoption could well relate to risk control, policy and governance. There is still an element of uncertainty as we consider serious questions like how infusing blockchain with artificial intelligence will protect transactions, or what traditional off-chain mechanisms will be used to enforce owner rights.
So, let’s continue to watch the signs to see if blockchain gets run out of town by a new sheriff like “Hashgraph,” or finds its value destiny as killer tech.
What are some of your favourite blockchains? Comment below and let us know.
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