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Those following the rollercoaster ride of cryptocurrency may come to the point where they ask, “Is it worth it?” “Does it and the the blockchain technology matter to our future?”. Feelings about cryptocurrencies may be understandably mixed.
Though cryptocurrency is always the most talked about, its underlying technology is even much more powerful. Blockchain is the bedrock on which we should concentrate our resources.
It is thought that we have not even seen a quater of what this technology has to offer.
According to Chmielinski “We will need to get comfortable thinking about progress regarding 10X, 50X, 100X, and 1000X increases in performance. The potential value is mind-blowing when you start to understand how it works“.
Gartner predicts that by 2030, the business value added by blockchain will grow to $3.1 trillion. However, looking at the increasing interest in the technology by traditional institutions, we can see even more growth.
Just as the true impact of the internet is still not fully realized, the effect that blockchain technology can — and will — have on the global economy won’t be felt or accounted for, for decades, if ever.
The blockchain technology has evolved through various phases with each face bringing something new to the technology. Below, we shall outline how the technology has evolved through blockchain 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0.
Blockchain 1.0 was, essentially “giving your money a brain,” as James Chmielinski of SourceCon says. Anonymity and a trustless technology via a shadow currency ushered in an alternative form of payment (altpayment) that made us rethink store of value. But Bitcoin, Ethereum and the like were just the beginning.
With Blockchain 2.0 we saw the expansion of smart contracts which became very popular for crowdfunding and property management. Ethereum is best known as the blockchain behind this great and revolutionary technology.
This was a big move as it opened up possibilities to use the distributed ledger for many different types of financial transactions such as crowd funding coupled with an increase in trust.
This has ever since lead to Fintech and financial services companies developing interest in blockchain as a way to increase efficiencies and reduce costs associated with financial transactions.
As for Blockchain 3.0 and the rise of the decentralized app, or Dapp as many call it (open-source mobile or web software applications that run blockchain technologies of different types).
By laveraging on existing blockchains (such as Ethereum), DAapps provide scalability, transparency, security and anonymity of the blockchain with reduced development time.
The impact of Blockchain across various industries.
Blockchain “packs the potential to change the way we live, work, consume and interact,” writes Qin Chen for CNBC.
The blockchain technology will affect several industries from the government, healthcare, education, manufacturing, energy right down to supply chain.
It will in fact be difficult to find an industry which will not be affected by this technology.
Two comparisons of the blockchain technology are the internet and the printing press. The printing press for example enabled the democratization of information and knowledge, ushering in a new economy and political system.
I expect to see nothing less from the widespread change and acceptance of blockchain.
Bringing information and inclusion of all kinds to the unbanked, democratizing markets, and enabling transparency at the highest level of the socio-political elite will drastically impact our world.
Blockchain as experts see it
In the short period that cryptos and its underlying technology have existed, we have witnessed over 1,000 projects come and go.
However, much like the Dot Com bubble of the late 1990’s and early 2000s, many experts believe the failed projects are part of the “boom and bust” cycle which is necessary as the Blockchain finds its footing on the larger economy.
With this in mind, let’s have a look at some predictions of what the future might hold for the blockchain according to these seven experts.
The Need For Credible Crypto Backing Will Grow – Claus Jepsen
Claus Jepsen believes that money, whether physical or virtual needs credible backing.
Considering that there is no trusted party when it comes to handling cryptocurrency transactions, then the role of the Blockchain becomes even more crucial.
So if in the future a cryptocurrency is to be an official currency, then in DLT the necessary tech exists. It will ensure transactional integrity that prohibits tampering with transactional data.
The Blockchain Will Continue to Mature and Strengthen – Allison Clift
Allison Clift believes that as the blockchain technology that supports not only virtual currencies but other types of businesses matures we will continue to see its real value emerge. He adds that the impact of the technology may be greater than any of us realize. It has the potential to impact business, economics, and society. According to him, we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible.
Increase in Blockchain Based Government Systems – Rohan Pinto
Rohan Pinto believes that the distributed ledger technology (DLT) is here to stay. Dubai is one city that has decided to take the lead when it comes to adopting emerging technologies.
The city has vowed to replace all government systems with Blockchain structures by the year 2020.
A move that shows that the DLT will just grow over time. The technology will provide the underlying trust, transparency, and immutability that such systems desperately need.
There will be Transparency across Different Industries – Antoni Altamirano
Antonio Altamirano believes that the DLT will ensure there is transparency across different industries. The use of a single publicly available digital ledger will make it easy to spot issues like hacking attempts.
It will also reduce the messiness that is associated with systems that contain multiple ledgers.
The above will be possible because the Blockchain is built as a distributed ledger which ensures complete privacy and control of data. Any changes to the system are visible to the public.
There will be Widespread Distributed Data Models – Billy Bosworth
According to Billy Bosworth, the Blockchain has already highlighted a critical aspect of how data will work in the coming decades. A world where data will increasingly be distributed.
He adds that any solutions for the next generation data problems will have to understand this fact. They will have to plan for a day where critical data will be distributed among many geographies and other platforms.
There will be More Standardization and Collaboration – Thiru Sivasubramania
Thiru Sivasubramanian believes one area that is likely to see advancement in Blockchain will be the standardization of interoperability among different blockchains.
What we are realizing now is that in the future there will be several blockchains with specific business purposes. True benefits for the enterprise or consumers will be realized when they are able to collaborate in an open standard.
There will be More DLT-Based Security Measures – Chalmers Brown
Chalmers Brown sees more focus being placed on the powerful potential of the distributed ledger technology for financial and non-financial applications.
Currently, we are witnessing more investment that is being put towards building out tools and platforms that are built on the Blockchain. Systems that will help with identity verification, contracts, payments, and other security measures.
In the early days of the internet, many saw the Web as a way to put static information online. Most people had no idea that it could and would spawn the rise of ancillary technologies such as mobile computing, AI, and social media.
They saw it as a cool way to present their company’s offerings online with brochure sites and animated gifs.
The same is true for blockchain as we have discussed above, blockchain’s potential is just being explored, with innovative applications growing daily.
As more people with and without technical backgrounds understand the application and the potential of distributed ledgers, innovative, transformational applications will come to light.
The past few years have seen cryptocurrencies and the Blockchain come to the attention of many.
There have been both positive and negative speculation about their future.