The future of Blockchain

Emerging trends in the Blockchain sphere

It seems as if the realm of Blockchain is constantly evolving. No sooner has the bear gone into hibernation and the bull charging ahead before certain significant players have decided to further engage in the Blockchain sphere by for instance teasing about a launch of their own cryptocurrency. Change is also happening very quickly. DLT’s or Distributed Ledger Technologies are developing at the speed of lightning and if you want to make sure that you don’t miss out on the action, you have to move fast. The speed with which changes occur in Blockchain and subsequently in for instance cryptocurrencies alongside the technological aspect has made it difficult for many to engage with the sector. Perhaps one of the most intriguing questions that has risen in connection to Blockchain, in addition to its value for cryptocurrency, is if it has already outlived its purpose. Many companies in the tech industry, such as, view this as a very real concern. This without much of society having involved itself with the technology at all. What has reached the masses was and is information as to its existence, not actually dealing with Blockchain itself. Perhaps this is what has led to questions of its to be or not to be. When much of the general population is excluded, can something then really have a permanent hold?

The consensus mechanism

Some argue that it is the “consensus mechanism”, i.e. creating a verification mechanism when there is no centralized verification in a network, that is the main problem. In the case of Bitcoin, the general problem follows this line of questioning, how to create a secure ledger of transactions when there is no central organisation which holds the trust of its users? Instead what is relied upon is that each transaction is verified by each member before the transaction may be attributed to the ledger, i.e. a consensus. This equation is relevant to Blockchain itself as well. Here the consensus mechanism entails the network validating a set of transactions and then the transaction is added to the chain as a new block. Even though one of the issues mentioned here, i.e. that as long as the general public are not involved in the Blockchain it will never have a permanent hold, it also poses an issue. Meaning that when more and more people become involved in the process, the verification time will multiply and become sluggish. Alternatives to make this process more accommodating are rising, most notably the DAG, or the Directed Acyclic Graph. How successful the mathematical chart is going to be is yet to be determined.

Positive but uncertain

The future of Blockchain is positive but uncertain. There are many improvements being made as to make for instance the consensus mechanism more accommodating, but there are also many issues standing in the way of truly cementing Blockchain as an integral part of the new online economy. It is the paradox of needing more participants on the Blockchain while these for the moment being will slow down the process as well as the fact that many are excluded due to the technical nature of the phenomenon itself. Will then the chain remain? This is something only time will tell.

Graphic by Maiconfz