There’s so much hype about blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies to the extent that there are many that believe that there are limitless possibilities with it. This is obvious, not just among enthusiasts of the technology. But also among governments.
For instance, in the last four years, we have seen governments such as in China and India, clamp down on cryptocurrencies while simultaneously encouraging the use of blockchain technology and its applications. You would wonder if distributed ledger technology can find application in all industries and create possibilities that we are yet to imagine.
Vitalik Buterin the Ethereum co-founder, in a bid to put this issue in proper perspective stated that the concept of blockchain application development is a waste of time when people try to apply it to every industry.
He said it is of essence that stakeholders know this since the technology will not necessarily find use in every industry. Buterin made the statement during the Devcon4blockchain Conference while speaking in an interview with Quartz, a media outlet.
Every Industry Wants to Delve Into Blockchain
Buterin was making reference to the new rave of the moment which has made most industries invest a substantial fraction of their funds into research hoping to breakthrough with some blockchain applications that enhances their operations one way or the other.
“Sometimes it is for marketing hype. Sometimes it is just people who are genuinely excited about blockchains and want the thing they are personally excited about and their job to align more with each other, which is a totally legitimate, human thing to want to do” he said.
The Ethereum founder emphasized that most of the industries pushing towards having some sort of affinity with the technology should have no business with blockchain application development projects.
“All of the other ideas — whether we’re talking about products or the self-sovereign identity stuff — that’s clearly something that still needs much more time to be worked out before we can see [whether it] makes sense at scale,” Buterin added.
He is of the opinion that the hyped technology does not provide a solution to all challenges in real life as many would have you believe. Buterin reiterated the need to draw a line between what is practicable and all the wishful insinuations on the use of the technology.
Blockchain Projects Should Not Be Proprietary
He expressed criticism for the proprietary nature of blockchain projects by some corporate giants such as IBM:
“I don’t understand this deeply, but the detail that jumped out at me is they’re saying ‘Hey, we own all the IP and this is basically our platform and you’re getting on it.’ And like, that’s… totally not the point….”
IBM is one of the companies that have the most patents for blockchain related projects. The company’s “blockchain for food tracking” also came under criticism from Buterin who said that he is not confident that the company has what it takes to execute it.
Buterin who is known to be among the few vocal leaders in the industry said that among the few non cryptocurrency applications that he thinks worthwhile is the use of blockchain to authenticate documents such as university degrees.
Singapore is already at an advanced stage of implementation. With the launch of blockchain based degree certification, universities in the country will be able to issue degrees digitally on the blockchain to students.
These blockchain based degrees can be authenticated by anyone who has the right keys.
Is Buterin the Crypto Industry Guide?
Buterin is seen in the industry as one of the guides for his criticisms of excesses seen especially in the crypto community.
His jeremiads range from those issued about expensive blockchain conferences to ICO projects that have no practical usefulness to the society.
He is also known to adulate good projects in the cryptosphere. For instance, startup successes based on blockchain that didn’t rely on initial coin offerings such as Cryptokitties and EtherDelta are known to be admired by the Ethereum co-founder.
Cryptokitties was such an instantaneous success and one of the earliest non-fungible tokens (NFTs). It generated so much traffic on the platform that the Ethereum network was clogged for days during its launch in 2017.