Is Blockchain a hype or a (the next) big thing? Many discussions, meet-ups and events are filled with speakers and worksession on solving this question. Let me help you on this item and introduce a bigger question related to Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).If you ask me Blockchain is both, hype and a technology that we can use to gain many benefits from it. That is what we have seen with previous technology developments and that is what we will see in the (near) future as well.
Curing the hype
If people do not understand the real potential of a technology there will be created a buzz of hype. This can be on several levels, for example on a conceptual phase where people think about what concept can we think about and how does this fit in our strategy? On the other hand this can be on a technical level where people do not have clear vision on to what extend a certain technology can help them improve. In this phase of Blockchain technology people are under- and overestimating of the potential of the DLT. What we need besides time is: common sense, research and experimentation which are most of the time the cure for this.
Bitcoin in, banks & governments out
The Guardian posted an article on their website Saturday the 10th of March 2018 titeled: “Does blockchain offer hype or hope?” In this article the stated the following:
“The blockchain was born as the digital scaffolding for cryptocurrency transactions. When devising bitcoin, pseudonymous inventor Satoshi Nakamoto’s aim was to create a stateless virtual currency, not controlled by any bank or government.”
If you ask me, it is good that there is the possibilities to connect with people on a P2P (Peer to Peer) basis to do transactions with. Over the past years we have ‘trusted’ parties with our money (banks), our insurance policies (insurance companies) our transactions (Notary) and other state related business (government on several levels). No or less involvement of these third parties can make lifes easier, more honest and realize more productivity. In special the last one of the most important benefits of what Blockchain technology could bring us. This movement can be increased in speed if these same parties facilitate this instead of (over)regulating it.
Trust transition: from the one institution to the other
But aren’t we forgetting one thing? Why are we so keen on getting away from banks, insurance companies and government institutions? The most commonly answer is: “I do not trust them” Fair enough. But do you trust technology? And more important the organizations who use this technology?
When we talk about corporate application of Blockchain they will mainly be in private and consortia Blockchains. Have you ever thought on who builds the chain, maintains it and is in charge of orchestrating the roles & rights in these environments. Based on what criteria these elements are provided by the authority of whom?
Blockchain is not the same as digital trust. Offcourse technology can enable and facilitate this partly. But if you do any form of business with an organization you also need to trust the Blockchain they (privatly) build or the consortia they are part of.
In whom we trust?
And this is exactly where I think we are missing a very big point. Stop shouting that you do not trust banks and governments. When using Blockchain related services you are also trusting parties that you most of the time do not trust. You are also trusting the way they give people and other parties rights and roles within the Blockchain ecosystem. So before getting trustless towards the current instutions, be consious on who owns your trust in the future…
Image source: GCN