Editorial

Bitcoin is 10 years old – but Blockchain is still more hype than substance, says BBC

‘All the people selling magical flying unicorn ponies, and writing in detail about the measurements of the wing feathers, are ignoring that unicorns don’t exist’ is just one quote from useful round-up of just where we are – and aren’t – with distributed ledger

Posted 24 October 2018 by

There have been some very “grandiose claims” made about Blockchain – but under all hype, froth around the cryptocurrency gold rush centred on Bitcoin, which celebrates its tenth anniversary next week, the promise of things like smart contracts means the tech is still worth looking at.

That’s the verdict, at least, of a round-up of current thinking about where the hype starts and real business applications end around the tech just published by BBC News Online.

We probably don’t really need to be reminded there have been a lot for questionable claims made, with the author’s article, Tom Espiner, quoting David Gerard, author of anti-hype text Attack of the 50-Foot Blockchain.

Tech vendors and consultants have been trying to cash in on the mania, Gerard warns, adding that, “It’s magic beans, but it turns out magic doesn’t happen. All the people selling magical flying unicorn ponies, and writing in detail about the measurements of the wing feathers, are ignoring that unicorns don’t exist.”

The article also quotes a recent Capgemini study that found a mere 3% of enterprises it contacted had large-scale Blockchain use, 10% were piloting it, while 87% had only tested Blockchain proofs of concept.

But x quotes Gartner analyst Rajesh Kandaswamy saying that even though speculators mostly see blockchain as “a mechanism to make money, that doesn’t invalidate the technology” and that a way for two parties to interact directly without a middleman is a “fascinating concept” and that smart contracts – self-executing agreements between buyers and sellers recorded on a blockchain – are “really powerful”, he says, as is the idea of a decentralised Digital Identity.

And as we reported last week, IBM is working with retail giant Walmart and IBM claims other companies are equally advanced in their planned deployment of the stuff, in use cases like trade finance and banking, and Chinese retail giant Alibaba is using blockchain with its subsidiary payment platform Alipay, while JD.com is already selling Blockchain services to other firms, says the article.