The hype blockchain peaked, but IBM is still a believer – Quartz


Blockchain euphoria is giving way to blockchain fatigue: despite the hype, only 1% of survey executives reported having implemented the technology at their companies. And while corporate management remains bullish on distributed registers, "blockchain" mentions are declining during earnings conference calls.

But IBM, which has been around for over 100 years, still thinks that the technology behind bitcoin has unused potential.

Blockchain is a kind of tamper-proof database to keep track of anything. IBM has about 1,600 employees working on these projects and is leading other technology companies in terms of personnel and investments, according to Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM Blockchain. Armonk, a New York-based company, thinks that promising uses include supply chains and funding. And while the amorous public relationship with blockchain is showing signs of dissipation, Wieck continues to think that technology could be transformative for business processes as the Internet was for personal ones.

Companies are experimenting with blockchain technology, although 90% of these tests will fail to become part of their actual operations, according to Bloomberg, citing Forrester Research. Some companies are reducing ambitions for their pilot tests, while others will soon be closed. "We anticipate that we will see a serious pruning of projects in 2018," wrote Forrester last year.

Running in a blockchain project risks becoming a wasted investment, frustrating teams that could reject "revolutionary technology", according to Gartner analyst David Furlonger. One of the challenges is to find skilled engineers, and about three-quarters of key information managers have stated that their companies have no interest in general accounting technology or that they do not intend to develop or investigate such networks, according to a survey of Gartner.

But the adoption of technology takes time. The e-mails and the World Wide Web are based on the TCP / IP protocol invented in 1972, but they have not found widespread use until the Internet has taken hold with the public in the years & # 90; 39; Harvard Business Review. The publication wrote last year that, similarly, the transformation of Blockchain of the government and companies is many years away. But since it is a "fundamental technology" that creates the basis for other uses and applications, the impact could be immense in the coming decades.

Blockchain is a "team sport", says Wieck from IBM. A distributed ledger is essentially a shared and synchronized database on a computer network that certifies that the database is accurate. While it takes time to build an ecosystem, Wieck says engineers who get their hands dirty with technology can quickly see its value. Blockchain has grown from corporate "tourism" in 2016 to real live networks this year, although the turning point is still a few years away, he says.

However, not everything needs a blockchain – a simple old database will often be sufficient. Wieck claims that blockchain, which is like making a crossword puzzle in ink, may be a better option when it comes to keeping a historical record of data over time for things like shipping. Traceability is available in real time, without having to rely on a third party that could have a conflict of interest. The redundancy of the system can also provide greater security.

Although research companies have become more pessimistic about blockchain in the short term, they recognize the "Amara law" that people also tend to underestimate technology for longer periods. Gartner predicts that the blockchain technology will add $ 176 billion worth of trade by 2025 and more than $ 3.1 trillion by 2030.

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