There has been widespread scepticism surrounding the Blockchain, with some calling into question its very usefulness. It has been ten years since the birth of Bitcoin, its first manifestation. And over the course of that decade, there has as yet been no blockchain-based application which has undergone mass adoption.
Bitcoin may qualify as the exception to that last statement, but even here the number of users worldwide is placed in the low millions, perhaps twenty according according to one estimate. There is as yet, however, no blockchain Facebook, no blockchain Amazon, no blockchain Uber.
But the scepticism surrounding blockchain technology can easily be dismissed through its closest analogous equivalent – the internet. More specifically, we can focus on the development of TCP/IP which underpins the vast majority of communications that pass around the world’s computer networks.
The truly revolutionary aspect of TCP/IP was its implicit quality of network neutrality – the idea that nodes sitting on the network should not discriminate about which packets to transmit. It was at that point that the world’s plethora of networks were slowly nudged away from closed systems towards a larger, globally connected eco-system.
Even at this stage, it was still difficult for most to conceive of the utility that TCP/IP offered up. Sure, there was now a protocol which allowed those sitting at the helm of this new innovation – usually in academia or in the US military – to exploit this new ability to communicate globally.
But communicate what exactly? TCP/IP was a protocol only, and it was left to the tech-savvy to figure out how they wanted to make use of it. But a subsequent breakthrough – HTML – changed everything. Suddenly, the world’s largest knowledge repository emerged: a brave new, hyper-linked world that was available to anyone with a terminal.
Blockchain Waiting for its CMS
Learning web languages, however, represents a high entry barrier – it is a specialist skill. So a further solution was found – and a new generation of innovators brought to market a suite of Content Management Systems: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla! etc. which reduced the creation and management of websites to simple click-and-drag procedures that democratised web development.
The Blockchain is waiting for WordPress-type democratisation
The Blockchain is currently in its pre-CMS phase. It is waiting for a WordPress-type democratisation to make the its capabilities accessible to the masses. And it is into this space that the likes of EOS, Waves and Cardano have stepped in a bit to assert themselves as the go-to platform of choice for the Blockchain era that sits ahead of us. No-one is in a position to guess which of these platforms will emerge as the ultimate winner – it is likely, in any case, that several of them will enjoy reasonable success.
But if money talks, then the most likely candidate to take that crown is EOS which has become the world’s most successful ICO, having so far raised in excess of $2 billion, according to some sources, to finance its development. It will likely be another three to five years before a winner will be called, but it will make for one of the most interesting tussles that the Blockchain phenomenon will offer up.