Doubt Cast Over Viability Of Blockchain Technology, Eight Blockchain Entrepreneurs Respond

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An article yesterday in Bloomberg has cast doubt on the future viability of the blockchain industry, suggesting that many US firms will halt blockchain testing this year, and also predicts that 90% of Blockchain Initiatives by US firms will never become operational.

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Eight blockchain entrepreneurs provide their reaction statements:

Manuel Martin, CEO and Co-Founder of Orvium, the new open source decentralised platform that aims to revolutionize the academic publishing sector said:

"I strongly disagree with the view that private blockchain initiatives and the development of blockchain applications has slowed down in recent months. On the contrary, blockchain capabilities are being assessed and applied today in more fields and industries than ever before but there is still a long way to go until some of these initiatives become operational.

Having pioneered Big Data initiatives at CERN and advised a large number of enterprises in that domain, I understand how the development process can sometimes take longer than desired. However, the path towards true innovation is never straight forward, and patience is key. Clearly, blockchain is following the same path followed by Big Data a few years ago. Institutions are deeply immersed in the process in order to understand the technology and its potential while attempting to cope with high expectations. We just need time. Big Data applications are ubiquitous today, as will blockchain applications in the near future."

Thomas Schouten, Head of Marketing at Lisk, the decentralized blockchain application platform said:

“Despite the concept being nearly 10 years old, blockchain is a cutting edge and futuristic technology. Incredible developments are being made in every aspect of blockchain on a monthly basis, and we can see the technology becoming more responsive, agile and gradually catching up with traditional, centralised competitors.

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Unlike the startup model of releasing a beta app and making improvements over time, many blockchain networks hold vast sums of value and data in a never before seen decentralized manner, so every release needs to be of the highest quality and carefully thought out. There have been some recent incidents that demonstrate what can happen when blockchain networks are carelessly designed, further underlining the need for a gradual, methodical approach to development. This can feel like a very drawn out process, but ultimately services the sustainability of the industry.

Last year has definitely illustrated the disconnect between speculation and reality within the blockchain industry. While the excitement stemming from rising token prices plays a significant role in securing the influx of capital needed for continued technological development within the space, the priorities of investors and speculators are often not aligned with the realities of our industry.

While global blockchain disruption might not take place this year, the future version of blockchain that has gone through this extensive research and development process will not only be a no brainer for the majority of businesses to implement, but will also open up whole new business models and perhaps even new industries.”

Philip Young, Marketing Director at the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange said:

“Blockchain adoption is growing. The GSX Group continues to develop and advance in both the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange and the Gibraltar Stock Exchange. It would appear that the hype and the “wild west” noise has certainly died down, but that’s a good thing. Solid projects are busy working on development and implementation, whilst bad projects are no longer taking off due to a higher level of scrutiny from potential participants. The market is maturing and that’s a good thing.”

Joseph Thompson, CEO and Co-founder of digital identity provider AID:Tech, said:

“We are now seeing a clear separation of winners and losers in the blockchain space. A lot of people put bets on blockchain technology that was either immature, or didn’t suit the needs of the use case involved. For example, large amounts of firms invested in public ledger technology when private ledgers were more applicable, and in most cases, a traditional database would have been suitable.

We believe that trust and transparency are the key use cases for the future of blockchain. Applications which take advantage of the permanency, immutability and traceability that blockchain affords will emerge as the winners.”

Vlad Dramaliev, Head of Digital Marketing at aeternity, said:

“It is important to note that "blockchain adoption" usually refers to primarily centralized systems -Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs). When one creates a DLT they are creating a standard which needs to be attractive to others in order for it to gain traction. DLT can also be incorporated internally in a company, but generally including third-parties is the most "disruptive" option.

Creating a standard is never easy and companies might actually be adopting a "wait and see" approach to blockchain tech - waiting to see if a specific platform will start building a network effect. Doing this is harder when it comes to "closed standards" which DLTs are. Open, public blockchain platforms have a better chance of gaining popular support. They are “open standards”. However, the problem there is primarily scalability, together with the lack of user-friendliness, privacy and security. The industry is still in its infancy.

Nonetheless, all blockchain platforms are trying to address these issues in parallel, through R&D, and public blockchain platforms will become the go-to places for most applications in the next three to five years. A slow down in momentum could also be due to a shortage of talent, which is a problem being addressed by current projects through rapid hiring, as well as partnerships with educators and incubator programs.

In addition to the above, I think generally at this point the mainstream industry, and by that I mean legacy companies, that are used to doing business in a specific way and feel comfortable with centralized databases and computing, are starting to realize that blockchain is not suitable for everything. Only certain use-cases make sense at this nascent point, others will appear in the future as the technology matures.

There is a hugely apparent disconnect between the hype of blockchain and the reality, similar to the DotCom bubble. With time however, blockchain technology will transform the way information is generated, secured, shared, and monetized, creating a whole new commercially viable and valuable industry.

This industry will be based on open, public blockchain technology, not on DLT.”

Nicolas Gilot, Co-CEO of blockchain-powered gaming distribution platform Ultra said:

“Over the last 12 months, we have seen a significant shift in the maturity of the blockchain-based projects that are emerging within the space. Financial behemoths such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are testing the waters with blockchain and cryptocurrency, which is a strong indicator that this isn’t just a passing fad.

It is important to note that the adoption of new technology takes time. Historically, we have seen the switch from physical to digital purchase and the move from landline phones to mobile phones take years and, even today, companies are still adapting to the internet. With each of these new technologies, we have seen adoption become increasingly faster but it still takes time. The same can be said for blockchain, and businesses and people simply need more time to understand and adopt this new technology.”

Gabriele Giancola, CEO and co-founder of qiibee, the Swiss loyalty token protocol helping brands around the world run their loyalty programs on the blockchain, said:

“Blockchain and cryptocurrency are hot topics at the moment and this certainly fuels the hype surrounding the industry, but beyond this it’s important to remember that this is a powerful technology with the ability to disrupt a myriad of industries including banking, healthcare, education, and loyalty markets for example.

I equate blockchain to what the hype surrounding the internet was like in the 1990’s. As we have seen, the internet stood the test of time and I am confident blockchain technology will too.”

Carlos Grenoir, CEO of Olyseum a collaborative and specialized, blockchain-based, social network created by sport leaders for sport lovers, said:

“Blockchain is a technological phenomenon that now underpins some of the most innovative projects, and these projects are being developed at a speed three to four times faster than that of traditional industries. All of these companies are trying to build powerful platforms at high-speed and while some will succeed and go on to found incredible businesses, others will crash and burn. This is no different to what happens in traditional industries, however all eyes are on blockchain as it is still very much in its nascent stages.

With this in mind, I think it is fair to suggest that there can be a disconnect between hype and reality within the blockchain space, but as more and more real-life use cases and proof-of-concepts begin to emerge, I believe blockchain’s ability to transform various industries will ultimately prevail.”

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