Even the most enthusiastic supporter of blockchain technology agrees that it needs time to reach its full potential as a registration system for global business transactions.
Blockchain got its start as a means of recording the bitcoin exchange, the first of thousands of cryptocurrencies to flood the market. And while many of the first to adopt the blockchain continue to rely on some form of coin or token to finance their initiatives, others are completely outlining it from the realm of cryptocurrency. Instead, they turn to more traditional sources to finance the creation of a distributed and immutable ledger run by multiple participants in a commercial transaction.
With or without the need for "coins", the blockchain is still at the dawn of development. John Paukulis, founder and CEO of Giftz, compared his stage of maturity to the invention of broadcast cameras before most of the people owned televisions. (Giftz offers a blockchain for loyalty rewards tokens).
Paukulis has been joined by dozens of other speakers and thousands of blockchain fans at the recent Crypto Invest Summit in Los Angeles. A panel of events examined what is needed for the blockchain to achieve traditional adoption.
From most accounts, quite a few. John Souza, founder and CEO of Kingsland University School of Blockchain, noted the lack of blockchain developers able to create the necessary standards and certifications for education and technology implementation. "It's the secret dirt that nobody wants to talk about," he said. "The number one risk in the whole ecosystem."
A Kingsland survey of 200 Fortune 500 companies found 180 projects to launch blockchain projects over the course of next year. But only 12 could identify the workforce needed to make it happen. "You can not build on toothpicks," he said.
The education – or lack of it – seems to be the biggest barrier to the widespread adoption of blockchain technology, or even tangible efforts towards that end.
"I'm ashamed when I hear about cryptography projects," said Randall Crowder, CEO of Phunware, creator of a mobile app development platform. "I do not invest in projects – I invest in society Awareness and distribution are the two things we miss".
Shiv Madan, CEO of Blockparty, a blockchain event ticketing company, said technology expects a "mass adoption turnaround" similar to the arrival of Hotmail at the end of the year & # 39. ; 90, when he transformed web-based e-mail.
"They had a product that was very sticky, an extremely solid technology and the marketing behind it," said Madan. "Once you have two or three of these things, you will be able to move in the same trajectory as that one was."
Obviously, the wave of technological innovation in that period has temporarily struck a wall with the dotcom crash of 2000. And the path to blockchain acceptance could prove to be just as rocky, especially if its fortunes are tied too tightly. to the success of cryptocurrencies. Many consider this last as the source of the next investment bubble that will surely break out.
The experts at the Crypto Invest Summit did not seem overly keen to separate the blockchain from its cryptocurrency origins. "Blockchain is a cryptographic technology," said Christopher Smith, a partner at Rootmont Research. "It's something you do when you want to be protected against forgery."
Of course, that desire should not involve the use of a token or coin. Global supply chains would be greatly improved by creating an immutable record of transactions that goes beyond financial affairs, to encompass all contractual terms in buyer-supplier relationships.
In the end, the panel on mainstream adoption of the blockchain spent more time discussing the value and future of cryptocurrencies, suggesting that the divorce between the two technologies is all but finalized. At the same time, substantial discussions have taken place at the top of global blockchain initiatives, including those led by governments. Malta, for example, has ambitions to become the blockchain center of the world – a "blockchain island" that would also draw on artificial intelligence to attract foreign investors to support the nation's financial, transportation and education sectors.
It remains to be seen if the blockchain can ever serve as an effective tool for complex global supply chains. But its value as an enabling factor for financial assets has not been questioned by the participants in the Crypto Invest Summit.
"This space is here to stay," said Anna Cox, chief compliance officer at Blackmoon, developer of a blockchain investment platform. "The blockchain industry will not go anywhere, it's the natural evolution of the financial world."