Of Yanislav Malahov, founder of æternity
The development and roadmap of the blockchain space are often compared to the beginnings of the web, a comparison that has led to many speculations about when the blockchain will achieve traditional adoption. As in any nascent technology, there are pioneers and critics, each with their own opinions about what will make the blockchain a key player in the future of society, or simply a point of discussion without concrete use cases. Throughout 2018, the blockchain space has witnessed a number of important developments and, approaching 2019, the time has come to examine some of the problems currently facing the technology and even to predict what will come next for the industry.
With the development of the blockchain, scalability issues will be addressed by a number of next-generation blockchain platforms that have already started their operations as minimum implementable products (MVPs) or will soon start operating. In 2019, the full potential of these key players will be revealed and they will become infrastructure providers for a new wave of decentralized applications.
We can predict that older blockchain platforms will continue to struggle with scalability and ease of use, despite continuing to appreciate the positive sides of network effects. In addition, Layer 2 scalability solutions will make these platforms even more complicated and expensive for developers to use. As a result, their usefulness will diminish, or will rotate in a specific sphere, like the corporate blockchain, as opposed to general use.
While the blockchain innovation continues to develop, the focus will be on improving scalability, efficiency, operational costs, security, privacy and ease of use. The main challenge will continue to achieve all these aspects, while keeping the platform as decentralized as possible, and without introducing controversial governance mechanisms, such as the Proof-of-Stake with 21 delegates.
The industry is slowly realizing that the volatility of coins and tokens inhibits the usefulness and usability of decentralized applications. This is why we can expect that stablecoin and security token will increasingly be considered solutions in this regard.
The lack of ease of use and mobile support are two significant obstacles that hinder the mass adoption of blockchain technology by the public. For this reason, we expect that more efforts will be focused on improving these aspects of decentralized applications and on convincing potential mass market users that decentralized applications are simple to use and easily accessible. However, the utility of decentralized applications for the average user is not yet clear. Other ways to earn and spend coins and tokens will begin to emerge, which will allow users to generate value by participating in more complex digital and decentralized economies.
The fragmentation of platforms, coins and tokens is a problem. For this reason, we can expect to see atomic swaps, decentralized exchange services integrated into portfolios and decentralized apps that will be developed as solutions and will allow users to exchange their coins or tokens earned for any other coin or token they prefer, such as one that has value in their locality.
What can we expect
Looking ahead, we expect further maturation of the industry in terms of technology, business cases and regulation. There will also be a greater focus on #build than speculation, at least in the case of decentralized infrastructure projects and services; the pioneers in space will continue to concentrate their efforts on developing blockchain offerings and pave the way for mass adoption.