By George Beall
With an ICO frenzy and Bitcoin’s plunging valuation (and Bitcoin Cash’s soaring rates), attention on blockchain technology is growing increasingly fervent. Blockchain ledgers are (seemingly) on the precipice of moving into mainstream territory and facilitating the daily distribution of every type of data file, from financial contracts to individual records. But before blockchain has the opportunity to propel us into a decentralized data revolution, it has to first prove that it is not just hype.
Yes, despite blockchain technology’s superior efficiencies, there are skeptics who see all of this blockchain buzz as little more than a tech bubble. One of the most prominent factors driving persistent skepticism is the temptation to associate blockchain and Bitcoin into one entity. They are not one and the same (blockchain is a decentralized ledger that facilitates the uploading and sharing of smart contracts, including the distribution of cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin). But Bitcoin’s reputation preceeds blockchain, and as long as there is doubt swirling around the coin’s long-term viability to offer more than just speculation, some investors may prefer to stay at an arm’s length, away from anything associated with either blockchain or Bitcoin.
Blockchain’s inherent association with Bitcoin may be hindering its public perception, but that is not the only challenge that the blockchain arena, as a whole, must overcome; an even bigger issue for blockchain may be its inability to sustain momentum or support the scalability of blockchain-designed initiatives. A recent Deloitte report found that of the 26,000 new blockchain projects introduced in the last year on Github, only 8 percent are still active. Project abandonment is not a new concept; it’s easy to get excited by an idea and a new technology, but maintaining that drive and excitement during the grueling middle stages of a project is challenging.
If organizations looking to launch their own blockchain initiatives, they need to pay attention to this common trend if they, too, don’t want to join the overcrowded blockchain graveyard. The key to reversing this trend, is supporting the development of talent excited to build using blockchain.
There is a tremendous shortage of capable blockchain developers. So many companies are promising the revolutionary effects of a blockchain world where coins rule and information is decentralized and democratized, without the ability to deliver on those promises. For us to truly build out that potential, we need to offer developers the opportunities to build applications without constraints.
Blockchain up-and-comers, including Dispatch Labs, are creating foundations in which developers can bring infinitely scalable ideas to life. As a business-ready application, Dispatch represents the next evolution of blockchain. While Ethereum introduced smart contracts, Dispatch is introducing smart everything; their Dispatch protocol is designed to support the dissemination of any type of data, regardless of size or format. They have effectively eliminated a major pain point of developing on Ethereum and are giving developers the keys to the kingdom. Now it’s up to the blockchain industry, as a whole, to encourage the development of talent to bring the efficiencies of these ledgers into every market.
Dispatch intends to set the new standard of blockchain protocols by taking smart contracts to the next level; their ledger facilitates the upload and control of any type of data, regardless of size, and interoperability across platforms and datasets. Set to launch in early 2018, Dispatch Labs will offer decentralized encryption and programmability, giving developers and entrepreneurs the foundation to dream big and build applications that have been deemed impossible thus far. Dispatch will be the first truly scalable protocol, with the potential to revolutionize any and every vertical, ranging from finance to to healthcare to nonprofits.
Another key to ensuring sustainable growth of blockchain is demonstrating, on a global scale, the technology’s ability to improve quality of life. Financial organizations are coming to the blockchain table to enhance transactional processes, reducing friction and making it less expensive for banks to facilitate transactions and easier for consumers to access funds. But that is not the only use case for blockchain. For example, a distributed ledger, which facilitates the transfer of any type of data, could diminish food waste by increasing the transparency around where and when food is being sourced; and with less food wasted as a result of better shipping and storage communication processes, organizations have the opportunity to supply more food to areas in need.
But none of these use-cases will become viable realities unless the tech and fintech industries make concerted efforts to cultivate and support open-source development talent through educational programs, professional incentives, and communication that relays the positive role blockchain development can play in tackling global challenges.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily shared by TNW.