Some applications of blockchain technology might be overhyped, but they won’t matter in the long run. Blockchain technology offers new ways to realize innovative ideas. That’s what we should focus on.

As a news geek and writer, I have been observing the media landscape for quite a long time.

It’s funny how quickly people’s feelings can change sometimes.

At first sight, new technologies are always fascinating. That’s when the hype cycle starts.

After a while, people get tired of all the positivity and start bashing instead. That’s just how we are, including me. But sometimes, I wish we could look at innovations through a more practical lens.

Anyway, the pondering question seems to be, “Is Blockchain Overhyped?”  – Just typed it into Google, 133.000 hits. Clearly, “Blockchain is overhyped” has become its own subset of hype.

Some applications are overhyped, others are not

According to Gartner, blockchain technology will add $176 billion in business value by 2025, and more than $3 trillion by the year 2030. That’s massive.

But then in another report, the same Gartner also found that just 1 per cent of corporate IT leaders are already using blockchain and 8 per cent are planning to experiment with it. That, Gartner says, shows “the massively hyped state of blockchain adoption and deployment.”

Even Gartner analysts don’t really know what’s the deal with blockchain. Now what?

Some applications of blockchain technology are surely overhyped, but others are not. Bitcoin was overhyped in 2017. CryptoKitties and the JesusCoin were overhyped as well.

But multiple major tech corporations, like Samsung, IBM, Apple, and many players in other industries are already making use of the technology. So, it can’t be completely useless, right?

I wouldn’t expect blockchain to save the world within the next two years, but I would certainly expect to see some game-changing blockchain-applications within the next decade.

How do we use the technology?

“There are a lot of discussions around the overall phenomenon [blockchain] – but very little interest in new fields that the technology can be applied in,” says Richard Ma, founder of Quantstamp.

That’s a healthy perspective.

Instead of talking about the underlying technology – which most people don’t understand anyway – we should talk about ways how we can use it.

When Facebook was launched, did anyone talk about how amazing it is to create a frontend based on Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP?

Nope, people were amazed by the idea to be globally connected and share updates with friends via the internet.

Same goes for blockchain.

It would be great if we could trade in digital currencies, borderless, without having to pay bankers and other intermediaries.

It would also be amazing if we had a digital identity system that allows us to store our credentials and identities independent from governments.

And wouldn’t it be awesome if we could trade renewable energy via a P2P platform, directly, without the involvement of large energy corporations?

Those are brilliant ideas. It’s not important which technology is being used.

If you have a better technology at hand to accomplish any of this, then by all means, let us know. However, at least for now, blockchain technology is the most promising attempt to realize such ideas.

“Some aspects of the blockchain are overhyped, some are underhyped. What’s really a much more interesting story is the amount of talented people who are just starting to identify and work on huge societal problems that the blockchain can help disrupt—like healthcare,” says Kat Kuzmeskas, founder, SimplyVital Health. Well said.

Let’s get away from blockchain being “overhyped” or “underhyped” and let’s instead look at how the technology can be applied to change the world. The question whether it was overhyped or not can only be answered in hindsight anyway. We can talk about this again in 2028.

 

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