Today, on the tenth birthday of bitcoin, is blockchain fulfilling its promise?
John Velissarios, Accenture’s global blockchain technology lead, says YES.
Blockchain’s promise is to bring trust to transactions where it didn’t exist before. It is distributed and consensus-based, and security is woven into the data, so it cannot be tampered with.
The past 10 years of bitcoin have shown us how robust blockchain really is, but there are a host of new examples of the technology in action. Take the courier company DHL, testing it to trace medicine from the manufacturer all the way to the patient, or the UN, which is trialling a digital ID for refugees who don’t have legal documentation.
There’s still lots of work to be done, but barriers are being knocked down one by one. Last week, we found a way for blockchain to behave like a multilingual mind, allowing multiple platforms to inter-operate with one another.
The technology is already fulfilling its promise of bringing trust to transactions. The next challenge is getting businesses to agree on a common approach, so that this level of trust can be applied to more applications around the world.
Linda Wang, co-founder of Lendingblock, says NO.
From the point of view of someone who has moved from the realm of mainstream finance into to the brave new cryptocurrency world, I would argue that bitcoin and the underlying technology is still a long way from fulfilling its promise or its potential.
The current reality is that the vision of an anonymous, ungoverned and ubiquitous financial system for the masses is a long way off – and given the current direction of travel, it may never happen in the way originally described by bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
Gaining access to this financial nirvana for the broad population is still complex and risky, and for institutions the lack of regulated financial infrastructure prompts a degree of caution.
There is definitely good reason to be optimistic that the future for digital assets is bright and that real transformative uses of blockchain technology will emerge. However, in many ways the promised new financial system will be more an evolution rather than a revolution.