“The next generation of blockchain will be focused on scalability and consumer adoption”
Since its introduction, blockchain has been in a constant state of transformation. It is now at a critical stage of development and on the cusp of mainstream adoption. For this to occur, however, the sector needs to continue to work hard to make sure its platforms mature appropriately.
The first uses of blockchain served a singular purpose – the creation of an immutable ledger used to securely transfer funds between parties. This started the cryptocurrency era.
The next iteration of blockchain technology enabled the creation of smart contracts – programmable business agreements executed in code and built on the immutable, trustless nature of blockchains. This revolutionary development birthed a wide array of new disruptive business models by removing the need for trusted middlemen. Instead, the blockchain software became the middleman, executing coded agreements in the form of smart contracts between parties and facilitating business operations.
This generation of the technology had more extensive real-world utility. For example, smart contracts can be used to underwrite a blockchain-based ticketing system and reduce the influence of secondary markets, keeping prices reasonable and eliminating scalpers (middlemen).
Next-Generation Blockchain Technology
In the past year, we have seen the rise of so-called ‘next generation’ blockchain platforms which seek to solve the issues of scalability and speed by building on the technology’s existing foundation.
In the same way that web browsers revolutionized the internet by making shopping and digital communications easily accessible to people across the globe, the next generation of blockchain will be focused on scalability and consumer adoption.
Blockchain as a consumer grade technology is still in its early phases, but it has reached a critical stage of development this year, paving the way for adoption as a mainstream technology.
A key component to the success of this next-generation technology is solving performance issues that previously made it impossible for large-scale businesses to build “on-chain” – particularly in respect to transaction speeds and operating costs. Solving these problems, and others, will enable blockchain to go the “next level” and be adopted by the masses.
The speed and scalability issues are already being addressed. Platforms such as EOSIO are already achieving enterprise-grade transaction speeds and reliability and providing the infrastructure that will create the future of the internet.
What is Needed for Blockchain to go Mainstream?
The next challenge for the industry will be to continue to build on the existing foundations to enable the technology to fully reach enterprise grade. This requires even faster transaction speeds and reliability, large-scale organizational implementation of blockchain, a new generation of engineering talent, and a robust investment ecosystem to drive creation of new blockchain projects.
Next-generation platforms such as EOSIO are constructed to follow more familiar development patterns and include commonly used tools like accounts, authentication, databases and asynchronous communication. This allows for quick and easy deployment and maintenance of blockchain applications in a user-friendly way, thus making blockchain more accessible to the global developer community, and further encouraging broader adoption.
Large scale adoption by businesses will take time. As blockchain continues to develop, it will become more apparent how it can deliver value, reduce costs and create efficiencies for businesses. CIOs will then naturally adopt it, as with any technology.
It’s the responsibility of leading blockchain companies to provide job opportunities, training, and support to the developer ecosystem, removing obstacles to adoption for developers interested in learning new platforms. Blockchains have global reach and potential, and global developer initiatives and awareness-building can be beneficial to the ecosystem.
One of the greatest challenges for any new technology is attracting the right talent, and this is true of blockchain as well. Blockchain development languages are still in their infancy and must attract the interest of developers before they become mainstream.
At Block.one, we aim to help developers to adopt the technology through events such as the EOS Global Hackathon Series – a five-event global competition that encourages developers to explore real world use-cases for blockchain and will award more than US$1.5 million in prizes by the end of 2018.
The blockchain ecosystem also needs new businesses and ideas to grow and thrive, and outside investment is an important channel for this. VCs, hedge funds and other investment groups are increasingly deploying capital into blockchain technologies with the aim of helping businesses in the space to scale. A proponent of this, Block.one has created a US$1 billion VC unit, EOS VC, which focuses on investing in projects and entrepreneurs related to the EOSIO protocol.
Beyond the Horizon
As with any burgeoning technology, blockchain continues to evolve and change, with new obstacles emerging constantly. As a community, we are hard at work to solve these challenges, and are optimistic that when we do, we will have succeeded in creating a more secure and connected world.