In a Trough – Are the Masses Ready for Blockchain?

Blockchain has been hyped as one of the most important developments for carrying out failsafe transactions over recent years  Blockchain suddenly became the new mantra, beyond question, the universal solution. So far, many have been awaiting the day when blockchain will gain mass adoption. But is this the right question to ask?

Beyond the hype cycle, technology industry experts have expressed their views and concerns about blockchain. What if the new technology, as on so many other occasions, followed the familiar pattern of the hype cycle and, after scaling the peak of inflated expectations, it turns out that it falls into the trough of disillusionment?

Vint Cerf’s July 2018 tweet with its simple flow diagram showing that nobody needs blockchain should prompt some serious reflection, and not just about the fallacy of argument from authority. Vint was merely raising concerns that he had been analyzing for quite some time.

On February 6, another legendary figure, in this case in the field of cybersecurity, Bruce Schneier, published an article in Wired entitled “There is no good reason to trust blockchain technology”, which went into much more detail than Vint, with a much clearer separation between the technological foundation as such, blockchain, and some of its specific implementations such as bitcoin. According to Schneier, the idea of trust in a blockchain was not as crystal clear as some argued, while the consensus algorithm was definitely the most expensive and inefficient ever seen.

Indeed, the uses of public blockchains so far have led to energy aberrations like the one underlying the speculative explosions in popularity of cryptocurrencies, where practically the only hopeful scenario relates to Vitalik Buterin and the possibility — or better, the need — to reduce the energy consumption of transactional mechanisms of Ethereum by no less than 99%. But beyond energy consumption, which in itself would already be a major brake on…

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