This is the first part of a two-part series that analyzes how the blockchain can enter the mainstream. This story originally appeared on Blockchain Tech News, a sister publication of Mobile Payments Today.
Blockchain has made great strides recently, as big banks and retailers have experimented with it. The technology, however, has not yet hit the mainstream and many people still do not understand its true purpose.
There are three main problems that are keeping the blockchain out of the mainstream: poor reputation; lack of education; and lack of complete solutions.
Although blockchain has many cases of use outside the bitcoin, many companies and individuals still associate it with virtual currency, which continues to struggle with a poor public image, as many associate bitcoin with criminal activity.
"The biggest misconceptions about blockchain are that it is used for drugs and money laundering," Horizen co-founder and CEO Rob Viglione said in an interview. "Many mainstream media articles in the last 10 years have been distorted, with implications or direct accusations that bitcoin and blockchain technology are about money laundering and online drug markets."
Charles Manning, CEO of Kochava, also stressed that since the blockchain is so closely associated with virtual currencies, it can be difficult to show people how it can be used for other purposes.
Lack of education
Very few people understand the blockchain and even less try to explain its true purpose.
Viglione stresses that this "lack of education about what blockchain innovations really are" leads to "a broad negative opinion".
There are several reasons for this problem. One is that there is a great deal of mass speculation with blockchain.
"We are at a very early stage of applying the blockchain to old and outdated systems, which drive the huge amount of speculation," Manning said in an interview.
Another problem is that many blockchain solutions are not built with an easy user experience in mind, which increases the perception that the blockchain is too complex and arcane.
"As an industry, we need to improve the way we educate the public, companies and regulators about technology and its vast promise, and we need to do a better job by creating great products that people want to use," said Viglione.
Lack of complete solutions
The biggest problem that holds large-scale adoption of blockchain is that there are no important fully developed solutions based on the concept. While there are many startups that develop various blockchain solutions, none of them has yet reached the mainstream.
"Adoption is hampered by the lack of fully developed solutions and an understanding of the benefits," said Manning. "Just like any new technology, it takes time to migrate from old technologies or platforms to new ones: this technology is not something that can be produced from one day to the other, if done correctly, distributed systems are very complex and processed. "
Moreover, according to Riksh Tapa, CTO of Blockparty, some companies are simply trying to use blockchain as a tool for "an extreme high frequency transaction system", even though blockchain has many other potential uses in retail, financial services, real estate, etc. Focusing on this particular case of use, the industry is not reaching its full potential with fully developed solutions, he said.
"We need to shift the focus of the tunnel vision onto the broader scope of the blockchain rather than be fixed on the fact that we can not use the blockchain to do multimillion-dollar exchanges in a nanosecond."
The second part of this article will examine possible solutions to these problems.
Bradley Cooper is a technology editor for DigitalSignageToday.com and BlockchainTechNews.com. His background is in information technology, advertising and writing.