The rise of blockchain: Overpowering the critics
- Posted on September 4, 2018
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Just like any groundbreaking innovation, there are going to be skeptics and some resistance until the innovation has proven trustworthy. Think back to when “remote” shopping first came about. Many critics said that people would never give up a brick and mortar store for an online shopping experience, but, look where we are today with online commerce. It was the same thing when Apple introduced the iPad; many experts said consumers would never use them, yet a projected 80.9 million people will use an iPad this year.
It comes as no surprise then that many of the new technologies driving today’s enterprise IT discussions are met with criticism saying these innovations won’t take off. Look no further than the cloud for an innovation success story that has laid the groundwork for many future discussions. Blockchain is another technology innovation in the enterprise hot seat and there are a few lessons that those looking to adopt blockchain can learn from the experiences created by the cloud.
A brief history of the cloud
The cloud is here to stay and there are few who would disagree with that statement. Though many companies and executives may still be evaluating the benefits it can bring to their specific business, the $5.11 billion in revenue that Amazon Web Services generated in Q4 2017 is a clear indicator that cloud isn’t going anywhere.
The concept of cloud computing has been around since the 1960s, but didn’t gain widespread traction until about 2006, when then Google CEO Eric Schmidt introduced the term at an industry conference. Schmidt introduced the concept as an emergent new model and a “premise that data services and architecture should be on servers.” No one knew how big of a deal the cloud would be, but by the looks of the current revenue numbers, it has met, or most certainly exceeded expectations.
Learning from the cloud
So, where does blockchain fit into this? Will we see the same success rate as the cloud? Many experts say yes. Bitcoin made its public debut in 2008 with the publishing of Satoshi Nakamato’s white paper titled “Bitcoin, a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” Nakamato described a peer-to-peer digital currency that utilized blockchain technology and created the foundation for today’s blockchain industry.
Blockchain may be considered more of a quiet revolution than the cloud, and probably has garnered more criticism, but some of that has to do with the fact that people have a harder time understanding the blockchain technology and certainly have a hard time seeing past bitcoin has being the only thing that blockchain technology offers. This is probably the most important lesson that blockchain early adopters can take from the cloud industry – widespread adoption is based on viable and understandable use cases with provable ROI.
At its core, blockchain is a transparent, decentralized ledger that records transactions that are permanent and cannot be altered, creating a high state of digital trust with its users.
Blockchain technology has the potential to impact all industries from financial and manufacturing to healthcare. It is currently making the most substantial change with foreign currency transactions – making them faster and more secure; supply chain management, e-commerce and identity management.
Gartner has projected blockchain value-add to grow to $176 billion by 2025. There are clearly a number of use cases and potential use cases that blockchain can support to drive additional value and revenue. It’s up to those leading enterprise technology conversations to ensure those use cases are discussed so it can be best determined if, when and how to bring blockchain technology to your organization.