The Blockchain Adoption Problem
Adoption remains a challenge for the blockchain industry. “If you #BUIDL it, they will come” hasn’t been maximized as hoped… it’s built, but are they coming? The transformational role of blockchain in our society remains a powerful opportunity, but those who don’t share the vision point to this lack of adoption as a primary faultline in the blockchain – and we acknowledge it.
Let’s acknowledge that truth: Transformation of enterprises using blockchain has been successful in practice, but minimal in scope. Consumer-level adoption remains steady, but the disintermediation potential of blockchain technology is far from pervasive. Can blockchain achieve its promise? What would a future involving full adoption look like, and how do we get there?
DEIP Examines What Hinders Blockchain Adoption
Here at DEIP, we’ve noticed that many individuals and enterprises misunderstand what really hinders blockchain adoption, even companies at the forefront of the industry.
In order to drive blockchain adoption, it is crucial to understand the current challenges and limitations. We’ll shine some light on the topic in an upcoming series of articles. We will describe real challenges in the industry, what issues need to be solved immediately, and how it can be done.
Blockchain adoption interests every segment of the market, and we’ll share some of our experiences. We’ll also cover the most common misconceptions, challenges, and mistakes we’ve seen in the ecosystem.
What Constitutes ‘Adoption’
Blockchain is not bitcoin. Blockchain is not a cryptocurrency. These are just applications of blockchain technology, and because of their consumer-level nature and strong disintermediation potential, remain very much at the forefront of public consciousness. It’s not necessarily that these applications will be driving blockchain adoption in the near future, nor that they will be any less important to the overall advancement of the technology–but there are myriad use-cases beyond digital currencies.
Public (permissionless) blockchains, along with private/permissioned chains contribute immensely to general blockchain adoption. The main limitation facing public blockchain adoption is regulation – while the chains themselves are supra-regional, jurisdictions remain conflicted and inconsistent in their approach to access and use of blockchain technologies by citizens and enterprises under their authority.
Regulation is not always an issue, but until we have settled legislation on an international level, most adoption of blockchain technology will happen using private and permissioned blockchains – not public ones. We have no doubt that the adoption of public blockchain protocols has the most transformational potential for our society, but the risks, both perceived and actual, require additional scenarios, testing, and agreement.
Misconception: Blockchain Technology Isn’t Ready
One of the most common misconceptions is that technology is not yet ready. That not enough testing has been done, that it’s not scalable, not fast enough… We believe that this is the most harmful misperception in the industry, one which leads to unnecessary work tuning, optimizing, and experimenting with the tech and infrastructure.
Instead of driving adoption, much talent is buried in abstruse questions. We’re confident that blockchain tech is ready. It is fast, scalable, and secure. While incremental and iterative improvements are laudable and valuable, its time to create real use-cases and drive blockchain adoption beyond its current state.
The blockchain industry is driven by engineers. Claims the technology isn’t ready are technically correct. Perfection lies in some ever-future point, and always will. We can already run operations in state-channels, build smart contracts that execute cross-shard, perform inter-chain operations, integrate secure off-chain infrastructure –the current state of the technology is a monument to the possible. Tuning the technology will never cease. Throughput can always be faster, proof of stake, of work, of capacity, of whatever, can always be more accurate. Byzantine fault tolerance can always be made more agile and robust. Block production time can be reduced, the probability of forks can be minimized. The focus is on the technical aspects of a solution that applies not only to engineers, but investors, businesspeople, suppliers, auditors, regulators, investigators – essentially anyone who ever needed to agree with anyone else on anything can facilitate and verify their interaction free from the interference of bad actors, from agents who have their own agendas, from governments with less transparency or answerability to their constituents. The list of solutions is endless. The technology is ready. The time for adoption has come.
What’s Blockchain Got to do With it?
There’s already a positive trend in the industry: The realization that the technology is ready and that industry needs to pivot from #buidling to #adoption by working on use-cases, solutions, messaging, and integrating.
This will be a significant switch. From working on our vision, building the product we knew they’d come for, to working for end-users (customers) who will be receiving a significant value-added through the application of blockchain technology for their needs.
We all need to work on solving real problems for real customers. It’s easy to say, but hard to do.
The technology is ready, but the customers aren’t. Join us in educating the marketplace on the potential for solutions – not how we solve, but what we solve. We CAN solve it, cheaper, faster, and better! “It” is no longer how it works, but what the customer needs it to do. This is a challenge, no doubt, but we’re confident we can meet it with the right partners.
By Alex Shkor & Matt O'Neill