A new report by Forrester Research states that the buzz of blockchain, a technology that creates tamper-resistant records on multiple computers, is so exaggerated that some companies are abandoning the word altogether.
According to Forrester, companies abandon the b-word in favor of "DLT", which is a shortcut for distributed ledger technology, a more descriptive, though less engaging, term.
The report comes at a time when blockchain marketing is everywhere, even during the recent World Series, when IBM advertised its blockchain services in TV commercials.
While blockchain is an important new technology, some companies are over-exploiting its usefulness or simply repackaging existing services: a relationship practice, which endorses the use of "DLT", described as "blockchain washing".
"Networks that are alive or under development vary greatly and often lack key features that many consider essential components of a blockchain," the report states, adding the term blockchain can also carry "negative wild west" connotations of cryptocurrency.
The relationship, however, is not declining on blockchain / DLT altogether, predicting that a "winter blockchain" may loom, but that technology is moving forward.
"On the instruments and services side, we will see steady but cautious progress." Cautious "because DLT has not proven to be a significant and reliable revenue stream for software and service providers and 2019 will not be different," says relationship.
The emerging birth of the blockchain is similar to that of other revolutionary technologies such as online shopping and cloud computing, both of which have been the subject of an unrealistic advertising campaign before becoming mainstream.
Marsha Bennett, a Forrester analyst and co-author of the report, warned that the parallel is not perfect as the blockchain requires a level of cooperation between companies that other technologies do not.
"There are parallels with the Internet, but what is different is that with the Internet, a single company like Amazon or eBay can aspire to do something and create a big change." Blockchain is different because if a company says I'm going doing something, it does not matter.This is an ecosystem work. "
The report also predicts that, in the near future, the most innovative blockchain work will focus on the tokenisation of resources. This tokenization, which does not involve cryptocurrency, is already gaining ground in real estate, where companies such as Harbor use generalized accounting technology to divide ownership in new ways.
As for the term "blockchain", supporters of "DLT" face an uphill battle. A search on Google for "blockchain" returns 215 million websites, while the "distributed ledger technology" returns only 1.3 million.