Blockchain: Am I Missing Something?

Blockchain: Am I Missing Something?

The blockchain is the most revolutionary technology ever conceived by mankind, I guess. If you don’t see the power of the blockchain then you’re just thinking in the limited frame of reference of a person living in the pre-blockchain revolution world. After all, no one knew how incredible advancements in the development of the internet were until after they had already changed the world forever. By the way, did you know that the blockchain is the hottest stuff since the internet. We just haven’t finished polishing it and making it user friendly yet.

Well I guess I need to start thinking a little bit more outside the block because honestly I just don’t get it. I want to get it. I want to be excited. I’m a big fan of crypto currencies and I think there is some real potential if government agencies will just let it do its thing (more on that later). However, I just don’t see many more practical applications here beyond bitcoin and some very specific cases where smart contracts actually make sense.

The blockchain has been around for a while

Like the internet, no one can really pin down when or by whom the blockchain was born. It’s also hard to exactly pinpoint when bitcoin notoriously brought it into the spotlight, but it’s been a few years now since bitcoin started to make some serious noise. I’d say that if the blockchain had game changing attributes to revolutionize how deals are made for everyone across the globe we’d know by now. Nonetheless we have this:

The blockchain solves a problem that isn’t there

Enthusiasts like William Mougayar are everywhere. There are also tons of blockchain-centric startups and companies that are super vague about  what they do. It seems like everyone is excited for all of the capabilities and potential for this thing except for me, but the real kicker is that no one seems to know what these capabilities are or why anyone should care. They’ll just explain to you what the blockchain is and give some examples of how it shows agreement between several parties. If you don’t see the point then you probably just don’t get it.

Here’s the thing; centralized agreements and private databases are not problems. Do people break contracts on a regular basis? Even if they did would a decentralized chain of information really suffice as incriminating evidence? Furthermore, if you look at almost any application that uses a database it would make no sense at all for them to make all of that data public and viewable. A lot of people talk about manufacturing as a potential industry that could be disrupted by the blockchain. Well let’s think about what it would be like to be one of the many companies involved in the supply chain of a product. Would it really make sense for them to share the status of every item with every other company involved? It would make sense to record these things for their internal use (which they already do using regular databases) but otherwise it would only serve to give other parties a reason to complain when they mess up. Even if there was a need for this somewhere, these companies could just make a regular old web app for everyone to use (assuming everyone could agree on a platform). If these guys knew about the blockchain, then they’d probably already have a web developer or two to throw something together for recording fulfillment history. Again, that would have to be after all of the parties had tons of meetings to agree on a platform and then actually use them for no reason other than to make each other happy.

Everyone is caught up in the hype and no one knows what they’re talking about (including me)

Blockchain white papers are complicated and confusing and probably about 95% of people writing about the blockchain fully understand how it works. Most of those who do understand the computer science behind it probably don’t understand the implications of it or how it could be really used. No on understands legal stuff or company interaction stuff so I’d venture to say that probably all of these articles about the rise of the blockchain are bogus hype generator crap to get clicks. Still, it all leaves me wondering…

Am I missing something? I probably am. Contact me and let me know.

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