Blockchain: A Passing Fad Or The Greatest Invention Of The Century?

The flight from fad to fancy to the necessity

After only 11 years, blockchain technology has been riding high with the success mainly of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. But it is not as if it is the latest of the Internet of Things, a phone, or tablet, or a gadget that you can physically see or hold at least at the front end. It is a backend technology that is the structural engine of a system of operation. This underlying protocol enables the seamless transactional exchange of something or things of value worth storing.

Blockchain’s aim is to eliminate the middleman by promoting direct peer-to-peer transaction on a universal ledger based on smart contracts which are transparent, secure, and immutable. With all the hype that went with it, blockchain is now thought to be the digital solution to anything traditional for the safe storage of data and information, and the speedy delivery of products, assets, and services across all sectors of society, from finance to shipping to food chain to government. It was the answer to everything needing change. Blockchain was to be called the greatest invention of the century.

Or is it?

The hype generated by the blockchain technology caused many to jump blindly into the bandwagon without nary a research and development protocol to start with. As with many new technologies that were met with enthusiasm, dangers lurked at the curve. CAICT (China Academy of Information and Communications Technology) has claimed that of the 80,000 blockchain projects launched, only 8% survived to this day. Nevertheless, the massive failure of these blockchain projects cannot be attributed to a blockchain failure but the lack of knowledge, vision, strategy, and fitness of the project to a blockchain augmentation that caused a collapse.

Many have not thrown in the towel, though. Referring to Bitcoin as blockchain’s first successful use case, many governments of countries have begun exploring the many possibilities blockchain applications can be expanded to accelerate the much-needed delivery of services to improve the lives of people. Service slowdown has been marked by decades of bureaucratic and commercial red tapes. The world, as we know, it is dependently reliant on intermediaries such as banks, financial institutions, legal firms, government, media, and other industries to keep a high level of trust in the economy. These middlemen engage the public in all kinds of business transactions, beginning with the identification and authentication of individuals. Byways of clearing and settling and record-keeping, our sensitive personal data are captured, rendering us powerless to keep our right to privacy and the power to monetize it. Blockchain will have these provided with value through a distributed ledger transparent to any transacting party across the globe, in which, every kind of asset imaginable from fiat to digital, from real estate to data, could be kept and stored, transferred or exchanged, moved or managed, all through smart contracts, without costly mediating third-parties.

Smart contracts in themselves serve as killer apps on the blockchain operating system. It automates the traditional contract management system and digitizes payment. Smart contracts execute data exchanges and program governing rules covering the execution of agreements.

Smart contracts can be used in a variety of ways such as digital identity, records, securities, trade finance, derivatives, financial data recording, mortgages, land title recording, supply chain, auto insurance, clinical trials, cancer research, voting system, and certain aspects of legal obligations, including the mobility and transportation industry. Though smart contracts are decentralized, it seems likely that a regulatory insight should be in place for the sake of interpretation.

Disruptive, augmentative, or whatever they may call it, blockchain technology has graduated from a fad to a fancy to a necessity. Seeing open-source, self-executing contracts improving on an ever-strengthening blockchain superhighway, whatever the Internet has done to one (publishing), blockchain will do to hundreds and hundreds of industries.

Just give it time.

And a chance.

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