"Most people overestimate the amount of change that will occur in two years and underestimate the change that will occur in 10 years" – Bill Gates
Much of the technology that is now deeply rooted in our daily lives was inscrutable a few decades ago, with many of these innovations going up in traditional society at a slow pace. We have the privilege of living in a time when science simplifies our life, improving so many aspects of human existence. The technology we are already exposed to every day is paving the way for continuous innovation that has the potential to change our lives even more. If we take a look around, it's a huge amount of creative thinking that occurs while people work to solve some of the biggest challenges that humanity faces.
There is really no limit to the future of innovation. The quoted quote by Bill Gates gives expression to the patience necessary to crystallize the real innovation: innovation that takes place in a marathon, not in a sprint. In the case of blockchain technology, we are in the early stages of a marathon.
So far, the 21st century has brought a wave of significant technological advances, with many of these leaps improving human communications. Using wireless technologies, people are able to connect with each other instantly, which has a profound impact on business, politics and society as a whole. For each successful blockchain application, there will be short-term projects that will fade as quickly as they emerge. The protracted and "hit-or-miss" nature of the technological journey has been well documented over time, with numerous examples of success illustrating the evolution of the use cases for a particular technology.
For example, the original purpose of Skype was to use the Internet to allow people to chat for free. Since then, it has evolved to change the way we work, through teleconferencing, and the way we learn through live webinars. And while the Blackberry was announced as the next big news in the telecommunications industry at the time of its launch, it has been incredibly improved, and barely there has been a new feature in the mobile phone landscape.
A few months ago, Bloomberg published an article highlighting a series of problems that were beginning to emerge in the application of blockchain technology. The piece suggested that the interest in adopting this technology was decreasing as a result. The article claimed that the uproar that had developed around the blockchain following a series of high-profile ICOs did not come close to what would have been expected in terms of production.
However, if history has taught us anything, it is that transformation technologies take time to develop. Consider the case of Big Data. When the term was coined for the first time by Roger Mougalas of O & # 39; Reilly Media in 2005, many considered it another 'passing fad' of the Internet era. But today, Big Data is widely used in health care to map outbreaks and test alternative treatments, in space exploration to map the universe, in cyber security to stop cybercrime and in the field of utilities to study customer behavior and avoid blackouts.
When the term "blockchain" emerged, so did the promise of a financial and industrial revolution. Several years have passed since then and although today we see many blockchain projects on the market, none of them has made significant progress and no one has completely revolutionized a sector. Yet. While this may seem disappointing to some, these projects are just the building blocks of the systems that will reshape tomorrow.
Recent isolated incidents have shown what can happen when blockchain networks are carelessly designed, further emphasizing the need for a gradual and methodical approach to development. The process may not be as fast as some would like, but eventually the sustainability of the sector is needed.
The most important journeys take place one step at a time and when it comes to adopting technology at the corporate level, it is a complex and slow process, due in part to the number of decision makers involved. While there have been important milestones along the blockchain voyage so far, the road ahead is long. The Blockchain innovation still needs to evolve after interesting prototypes, but we will soon see production systems that solve niche issues. Only then will the true potential of blockchain technology be released.
Important milestones of the blockchain have reached
Blockchain and Bitcoin are deeply connected. But while questions remain about the long-term profitability of Bitcoin, the underlying blockchain technology has potential applications that go far beyond the financial sector and has a greater chance of affecting our society sustainably. When we take a retrospective look at the significant milestones reached in the blockchain space, it becomes much easier to appreciate the progress made in a short space of time.
We must remember that since the Satoshi white paper, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, was published in November 2008, the terms bitcoin and blockchain have been inextricably linked to public consciousness for almost five years. During 2009 and 2010, while economies around the world were in the grip of a global recession, the first open source bitcoin client and online markets became operational.
Another important milestone in August 2010 was the first (and to date, the only) serious breach of bitcoin security, which led to an updated version of the protocol being updated within a few hours of the violation. .
A STRENGTH (DISTRUCTIVE) FOR GOOD
In 2011, bitcoin was becoming more important in society. There have been signs that widespread currency application could emerge when BitPay was launched in May of that year. He provided an online payment service for merchants who wanted to accept bitcoins and in 12 months reported more than 1,000 users of the platform accepting the currency. In addition, alternative cryptocurrencies began to emerge when Litecoin was launched in October of the same year, offering faster transactions and an alternative mining algorithm. Surely, what attracted investors' attention was the price of bitcoin which reached $ 31.91 in June, before falling by 93% in the next four months.
But while the titles focused on BTC's volatility, the likes of Ripple (launched in 2012) had begun to focus on interesting concepts such as integration with current banking models. The non-profit Bitcoin Foundation was also launched to promote bitcoin development and help restore currency image as a disruptive technology and not a crime facilitator.
The second bitcoin bubble in 2013 saw the price hit a new high of US $ 1,242, an impressive increase if we consider the price mentioned above two years earlier. While it was often the case of "one step forward, two steps back" in those early years of bitcoin, one thing that seemed certain was the rapid nature of progress.
It was only in 2014 that the true value and potential of blockchain technology began to be seriously considered as a whole. That year, after failing to agree with the Bitcoin community to update the original Bitcoin protocol, Vitalik Buterin developed a brand new blockchain protocol with intelligent contracts that allowed programmers to create scripts in its blockchain that act as chords. contractual and execute when certain conditions are met. This 2.0 blockchain is called Ethereum. The cases of use for smart contracts are incredibly different and it is likely that we do not fully understand their usefulness for many years to come.
In the last 12 months, blockchain technology has taken a significant step towards traditional recognition with hundreds of companies investing heavily in their infrastructure. Almost all leading consulting firms have publicly stated their upward trend on the potential impact of blockchain technology on a number of industries, including Accenture, Deloitte and PWC.
But it's not just industry heavyweights that tap into the potential of the blockchain. In the survey conducted by PwC in 2018 out of 600 executives from 15 territories, 84% said their organizations have at least some involvement with blockchain technology, while Gartner predicts that the blockchain will generate an annual business value of more than 3 billions of dollars by 2030. These reports give expression to the future profitability of this technology.
Like a distributed, tamper-proof ledger that reduces costs, accelerates processes and expands scope by providing transparency and traceability, the blockchain is ready to transform a myriad of industries. But this transformation will take time and we must be patient as the community of dedicated teams around the world builds projects that will bring new levels of innovation to society.
- The writer is CEO and co-founder of Orvium, a company that uses blockchain technology to create a decentralized and open source publishing platform for academic research.