Beyond the Hype

All major technological advancements go through a hype cycle, offering bold promises for a brighter future that may or may not come to be. The internet revolutionized communication, but has yet to liberate us from gatekeepers and truly democratize knowledge. Machine Learning may improve our productivity, but we're a long ways from a generalized intelligence that would eliminate menial labor.

When considering the impact of blockchain technology, it's important to understand where we are in this cycle. Have we drank the Kool-Aid and oversold the potential impact? Will trillion dollar economies and traditional financial processes truly be transformed as software continues to eat the world, and on what timescale?

For one data point on this trajectory, read the Stanford's Graduate School of Business's study on blockchain impact. It includes primers on the value that blockchain technology provides to various industries, and examples of the ways in which it has proven its worth to each today. It also introduced me to what they refer to as "The Deloitte Blockchain Framework", a framework of preconditions for evaluating whether the blockchain is best suited for a problem:

  • Multiple parties generate transactions that change
    information in a shared repository
  • Parties need to trust that transactions are valid
  • Intermediaries are inefficient or not trusted as arbiters of truth
  • Enhanced security is needed

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