“Our approach, as it turns out, echoes others in the field who question whether the benefits of Blockchain add value above and beyond existing technologies, or accrue to stakeholders beyond the donors that fund them.”
This article on ICTworks really brought all the feelings I’ve been having about distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) to the fore.
I’ve been struggling in recent times to see where Blockchain has demonstrated its immensely promised value, delivered true market or stakeholder value, or disrupted an existing ecosystem. And thus far, what I keep coming up with is that “Blockchain is a solution searching for a problem.” Most of all, many of its enthusiasts and proponents are generally conceptual thinkers and snake oil salespersons who have little to no experience delivering secure, integrated, complex systems.
My confidence in Blockchain is not low because Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) started with so much promise as an innovative way to secure capital for startups, but quickly morphed into get rich quick scams that relieved thousands of ill-informed crypto enthusiasts of their collective wealth. My skepticism about Blockchain isn’t at an all-time high because Bitcoin seems like nothing more than a vastly inferior way to consume massive amounts of electricity in pursuit of an energy-wasting, climate changing, speculative investment commodity (and one which fails spectacularly as a payment system). I am actually willing to concede that the combination of immense capital and technical effort will ultimately yield results. At present, the space is just really noisy and solutions are painfully slow in coming.
I am not saying that Blockchain doesn’t potentially have real, valuable use cases. As previously stated, there some extremely bright individuals working on developing Blockchain solutions and oodles of capital funding their work. Hopefully while I still have breath in my lungs, I will see a Blockchain product or service that is truly life-altering. But so far, there’s enough evidence to state with confidence that Blockchain has been mostly bluster and little benefit. More specifically, 10 years in there is no industry where this technology has rendered its competitors obsolete. There have been thousands of great ideas (and thousands more that have been not so great), but where the rubber hits the road, execution has been poor.