Although Blockchain was advertised as the answer to everything, a study of 43 advanced solutions in the field of international development found no proof of success.
Three practitioners, including a former blockchain enthusiast, John Burg, Fellow at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), examined the instances of the distributed crypto-register used in a wide range of situations by NGOs, contractors and agencies. But they have drawn a complete emptiness.
"We found a proliferation of press releases, white papers and articles written in a persuasive way," wrote Burg et al. "However, we did not find any documentation or proof of the results that the blockchain would have obtained in these statements, but we did not find lessons learned or practical insights, as they are available for other technologies under development."
Blockchain producers were keen to express the advantages of technology, but when the three asked for proof of success on the field, everything became very quiet.
"We did not get any better when we contacted several blockchain companies directly, via e-mail, phone and in person, and nobody was willing to share data on the results of the program, MERL [monitoring, evaluation, research and learning] processes, or adaptive management for potential scalability. Despite all the clamor about how the blockchain will bring unprecedented transparency to processes and operations in low-trust environments, the sector itself is opaque. "
Burg was a keen supporter of the blockchain until recently – as he explained in this post of Medium.
"Blockchain is like a frame that can weave together multiple threads of separate things … in an integrated fabric where you can see what data means and adjust resources in response," he fainted.
Blockchain has been sold abnormally, but below is a database with performance and scalability issues and a lot of baggage. Any complaint made for blockchain could be done by database, or simply publish contract or transaction data collected in another form.
Its adoption by non-technical supporters is based on faith, and the demands of sellers and consultants are taken for their face value, as Eddie Hughes MP has confidently confessed (Con, Walsall North) FT recently.
"I'm just a Brummie guy who went on talking about blockchain, he read a little bit about it and thought: this is an interesting thing, so I came up with this idea: blockchain for Bloxwich," Hughes said .
As in any bubble, whether it's Tulip Mania or the California Gold Rush, most investors lose their shirts while a fortune is produced by associated services: consultants and market players can cash their money, even if there is no gold in the river.
For example, Fujitsu offers quick consulting services starting at £ 9,900 to tell you if blockchain is appropriate for your project (it's something we can safely say to you at all: no, it's not).
And the magic word enabled has enabled Digital quartz Digital Catapult to conduct a Houdini-like escape.
This is magic.
A modest proposal
Perhaps technology consulting and marketing should be regulated as tightly as financial advice, where abusive sales can (in theory) lead to a lifelong prohibition of industry, something the US Securities and Exchange Commission it can do for people who violate the title law, like Michael Milken.
Surely if you advertise "blockchain" or "artificial intelligence" (this report reports a 95% error rate to Monsanto) and would not work well, surely it is not distinguishable from fraud. One could therefore impose a graduated series of sentences ranging from a five-year ban to a durability ban. ®