In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee developed an open system which did not require access and which enabled the exchange of information on a global scale unseen in human history. Back then, the World Wide Web had a small community of devout users, while others wondered what it was and generally remained skeptical.
Like any new technology in its infancy, the internet raised a lot of questions. But look at where we are now.
The story of blockchain technology has the same potential. Like the internet, blockchain is developing out of necessity. When the global economy crashed in 2008, the first blockchain was conceptualized to change the way finances function. And like the emergence of the first emails, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were developed to drive the development of blockchain technology forward.
But to quickly move forward, more people will have to use blockchain technology, and all of them will need answers to a lot of questions like these:
How to Get People to Adopt Blockchain?
When any new technology emerges, it is essential to emphasize how it solves people’s pain points and the benefit it can have to everyday life. There is no question about it, that blockchain technology has both of these qualities and more.
However, it lacks a simple and practical application which can increase the number of users. For the internet, this was email – a cheap alternative to phone calls and faxes. Cryptocurrency can be the killer app for blockchain, but it is yet to be developed since insecurities, and the fluctuating value of currencies like Bitcoin is currently doing more harm than good.
Two other features of blockchain technology might help it. The first is its ability to protect property rights, which might make it a favorite among artists, musicians, filmmakers, and actors who can all inspire people to start using blockchains. Plus, the technology systems can also provide free streaming of the art while remaining profitable for the artists.
The second option could be blockchains ability to decentralize existing systems. It can improve everything from how people use money and the previously mentioned ownership, to how it can lower expenses for them.
The final aspect that needs to be emphasized more is that the entire system is intended to be free. It gives developers of blockchain technology hope that it will be successful.
What Is the Resistance to It?
Current resistance to blockchain technology comes from multiple sides. Internally, blockchains are yet to develop a stable system which makes good on all its potentials which affects how people view it. Externally, its efforts to decentralize and remove intermediation comes with resistance from companies that benefit from the current system.
• Tech Giants
Blockchain technology uses a decentralized network. Among other things, this protects privacy, giving users complete control over their personal information.
Tech giants see this as a threat. It has the potential to disrupt how Google, Facebook, and similar companies sell the data they capture from us, or how Netflix and Amazon use data to filter and provide content. After the recent Facebook privacy scandals, it has shown exactly how vulnerable they are.
• Scalability and Group Dynamics
The biggest problem for blockchain developers are facing is how to develop systems and technologies that are used on a massive scale. While the number of blockchain transaction and users is rising each year, it still can’t match established financial systems.
To put it into perspective, Bitcoin’s Blockchain has 160 GB of stored transactions in its system, while US banks store their data on 1,931 TB. Until a unified blockchain is created and a significant number of users joins the network, people are not likely to change their financial habits because of group dynamics.
• Speed and Latency
Blockchains are envisioned to be faster at verifying, completing and storing transactions than the current Fintech systems. However, low scalability also means blockchain technology is very slow. The Bitcoin Blockchain can currently achieve three transactions per second (tps), while Visa can support 2000-10,000 tps.
Additionally, the infrastructure of blockchain systems and the frequency of transactions create latency issues. Currently, it takes ten minutes for information to form a block and store it into its chain, while it can take as much as a week to confirm a transaction.
Why Is It Difficult for People to See Its Benefits?
The mainstream adoption of blockchain technology is five to ten years; depicted by the Gartner hype cycle. However, it also shows that blockchain only recently crossed the peak of inflated expectations. It means there is still a high presence of blockchain in the media with greater emphasis on benefits and less on education and simplification.
The people who developed it created the language used in blockchain technology. For them, those phrases and terms are straightforward because it’s part of their profession. For regular people who need to accept the technology this kind of language is unrelateable and difficult.
Additionally, it doesn’t help either when experts in the field start explaining the benefits by comparing blockchain systems to financial systems or how the internet functions. People generally don’t know how either work, but they still know how to pay their taxes or shop for shoes on Amazon.
The first step for people seeing the benefits is to receive an education from people who are both experts on the subject of blockchain but also human behavior, like corporate anthropologists. Marketers, on the other hand, can simplify the language to make it understandable and more pleasing to the ear. It’s up to media to educate professionals on these concepts, so companies can start adopting them. Once blockchain infiltrates business, it will be easier for regular people to know what it is after they come into contact with it.
Ready To Drive Change Instead Of Being Driven By It?
As we tell our clients, blockchain is not coming, it's here. And although it's still in its infancy, now is the time to understand its potential for you and your business, because it's soon going to touch every corner of the business world. What to do? Seize the opportunity by rethinking your business strategy. At Simon Associates Management Consultants, we can help. We specialize in helping organizations like yours plan for the future to grow and scale your business. Contact us, and we'll help you create the kind of innovative solutions that will help you and your business soar.
From Observation to Innovation,
Andi Simon, Ph.D.
Corporate Anthropologist | President
Simon Associates Management Consultants
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