There has been a lot of speculation around cryptocurrencies and this has in many ways obscured the fact the blockchain, the open-source and decentralized ledger that drives these digital currencies has the potential of radically transforming how ownership is verified.
Many people certainly pay little to no attention to it, the “blockchain” is beginning to become more of a buzzword amid all the wild cryptocurrency fluctuations that we have been seeing of late. In fact, a good number of companies are now able to use the blockchain as a magnet for funding.
“Blockchain is a foundational technology: It has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems,” the authors of The Truth About Blockchain, Marco Iansiti, and Karim R. Lakhani wrote for the Harvard Business Review. “But while the impact will be enormous, it will take decades for blockchain to seep into our economic and social infrastructure. The process of adoption will be gradual and steady, not sudden, as waves of technological and institutional change gain momentum.”
According to the authors, just like TCP/IP was adopted massively so as to optimize processes in all industries, so will blockchain technology. On the flip side, while the prospects of its industrial application are very exciting, just like TCP/IP, again, blockchain is certainly bound to make its rounds for a couple of years before it finally reaches its full potential. Fortunately, the process already kicked off with bitcoin which is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the potential of blockchain technology is concerned.
Massive Adoption and Innovative Applications.
Already, many of the world’s leading tech companies including IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, Alibaba, and Accenture are investing in blockchain startups, their own in-house blockchain projects as well as some cross-industry alliances such as Hyperledger.
These companies’ interest in blockchain is mainly driven by, among other things, the possibility of using the technology to dramatically reduce certain costs. For instance, in a complicated development environment where a number of databases are required, the blockchain could provide an outstanding solution in the form of a master ledger thus making data transfer much less prone to errors.
This year, blockchain was even used in to power presidential elections for the very first time in Sierra Leone. Developed by a startup known as Agora which was supported by the country’s government, the experimental move turned out to be very successful and proved to the world that blockchain technology could deliver on its promises of cutting expenses and ensuring free, verifiable and fair elections.
Finance is perhaps one of the sectors that will eventually go all in on the blockchain. This will be in the form of the introduction of blockchain technology in auctions and financial transactions so as to store data about the participants. Smart contracts are also being tested as a means of performing contract payments.
And then, of course, we have the gambling industry which is already implementing a number of blockchain-powered projects. Crypto-powered gambling sites are at the center of all these because they essentially solve most of the problems that are rife in the online gambling industry. A typical example is the Ethereum blockchain which has been used to implement the use of smart contracts that have made making payments much easier and safer than ever before. Transfers through the blockchain are insanely fast (nearly instant) and this makes accessing gambling sites more reliable than it has ever been while at the same time ensuring a near absolute certainty of trustworthiness.
This is just the tip of the iceberg though.
A Few Setbacks.
The benefits of blockchain have been made quite clear but there are also a number of barriers that are standing in the way of mainstream or mass adoption of the technology. In addition to this, some of the key concerns such as authorization, special privileges and credentialing still have a long way to go before they are properly implemented in the decentralized network.
So, to answer the question that started all this lobbying, no, the blockchain is certainly not dead. The complexities of blockchain will without a doubt slow down investment and the rollout process of the technology but it is still expected to reshape the way various industries handle various tasks right from interaction to transactions. In retrospective, during the process of adoption of all new technology, there is usually an assortment of challenges and changes that accompany the buzz and the same applies to the so-called blockchain fever.
Saying with absolute certainty that blockchain is here to stay is more of a gamble – everything will, however, become clearer as the world slowly adapts to it and its use eventually spread exponentially. The focus right now is on how the technology can be effectively integrated into existing systems with the best possible transition.
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