You can hardly find a technology that would be blamed in being overhyped as often as blockchain is.
Whenever a security breach or malware attack occurs, there suddenly appear thousands of bricks flying towards blockchain with one word written on them all — Hype.
Blockchain is overrated, this is how the saying goes. Cryptocurrencies and ICOs are just one big bubble and blockchain itself is more of a tough talk than an actual change.
Could we presume that it might be true? Perhaps, instead of throwing bricks back to blockchain haters, developers and enthusiasts should ask: are the issues truly non-existent?
It’s about time we face it. Instead of going on some crazy rants trying to prove the innovation’s worth, let’s face the issue as it is. Blockchain is highlighted in media all the time, and it’s not always done right. Innovation’s advocates, with their loud statements and big words, contribute to this reputation more than haters do.
Why does blockchain have a reputation for being an overrated innovation?
Whenever a worthy technology appears, people start talking about it. Browsing through media headlines, we see no fewer articles about Artificial Intelligence or chatbots than about blockchain.
It’s not the issue of how much people talk. It’s the question of what they say. What are the reasons of blockchain getting this status — among all other technologies?
Reason #1 — Media does not know blockchain so well
When at the end of 2017 Bitcoin started growing like crazy, everyone was talking about it. Of course, media had to take the lead. The real madness started. The words ‘blockchain’ and ‘Bitcoin’ that you could firstly read on dedicated tech resources, started spreading to mass media.
Awareness, brought to the innovation, contributed greatly to its development but it also became its curse. Not only blockchain and Bitcoin were perceived almost like synonyms but also, neither some of the journalists, who highlighted the topic nor their readers, could properly understand the nature of the technology — and its risks.
CoinDesk has even a dedicated article about it, and we share a great quote here:
The Internet gives you the power to go directly to knowledgeable sources on most topics — the real experts — and leapfrog the info-gatekeepers. Every topic has a specialist news service and hard data. For bitcoin, there’s CoinDesk, Kaiko, Reddit and a bunch of others. If you want to go deeper than that, pretty much every bitcoin insider and expert has their own blog.
Reason #2 — Social media don’t know blockchain as well
Again, as soon as something walks the line of the mainstream, it’s evident that social media supports the hype, nevermind the absence of specific knowledge. When you go on Twitter, you see plenty of experts and just curious minds, willing to ‘explain blockchain’.
Sometimes there are some real gems from people who worked with the innovation from its beginning, but also those who have just heard a word “Bitcoin” and think that this is what blockchain is about.
We won’t give any particular examples (not to offend anyone) but you can find them on your own. It’s enough to go to Tweeter and search #blockchain — and enjoy.
Reason #3 — Blockchain is a funny word to pin in
As soon as innovation conquers the market and mass media along with it, it’s so tempting for businesses to keep their company up to date. For that, the latest innovation is picked up and hugely advertised.
Even if the development team is well-qualified and business owners made serious efforts to understand the technology, it often happens so that the mere use of blockchain is irrelevant for the business.
Innovation for the sake of innovation is not the best strategy. 92% of all Chinese BitCoin projects have already proven it, failing in less than a year.
Let’s not take this seriously
It’s easy to blame the technology when the reason for failures lies on the surface. Among actually ground-breaking blockchain projects, there are ones that wanted to ride the hype wave but could not survive the expenses of expensive blockchain development and maintenance.
The worst part is, most of the problems, solved by those businesses, could’ve been just as easily solved without blockchain.
Reason #4 — Blind praises
Blockchain enthusiasts are in love with the technology. Sacrificing it so much time, we are in love with technology and its impact seems apparent. Let’s not forget that blockchain, as any technology, has plenty of negative implications and critical technical issues, including security.
The example of such blind love is a smart contract. By putting it so high in our excitement, we forget that no matter how well the contract is written by the computer, the execution is still up to people in many ways.
Of course, the technology is developed towards cutting of mediation, yet it’s a real issue. By overlooking risks, blockchain enthusiasts put the innovation’s reputation in jeopardy.
Reason #5 — GAFA aren’t yet on board
We think one of the reasons why blockchain is being called overrated so massively is partially because it lacks the support of main tech innovators — Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon.
As recent history indicated, Google and Amazon start taking serious steps in contributing to the technology yet there is a long way to go till blockchain will be fully adopted by tech giants.
Why such weak interest? As The Next Web article rightfully suggests, blockchain platforms have a future potential of being a threat to big corporations, especially when it comes to collecting data and selling customer insights. For big corporations, contributing to the technology could mean playing with fire — although that might change soon.
Reason #6 — Scam
Here ICOs come to mind. There are just relatively recent news about some popular ICOs that turned out to be a fraud:
These cases do not contribute to ICO’s favorable reputation and hurt blockchain’s status overall. Such fraud businesses make it difficult for decent tokenization enterprises to prove their decency. Reputation proceeds.
Reason #7 — Not enough blockchain education
Because the technology is relatively new, there are very few educated blockchain experts. Most of blockchain developers are self-taught, one way or another, and there is no shame in that.
Even if you have taken classes from credible authorities of the field, it’s still difficult to find a program that lays a solid foundation to the full understanding of the technology on at least a very basic level.
This issue, however, appears to start resolving. Princeton University, Stanford University, and MIT are already known for a great blockchain community. That means, we can expect actual in-depth university blockchain programs in top American schools.
Reason #8 — Customers don’t know what they buy
Even legit blockchain platforms that are indeed an example of successful technology’s application do not spend much time to give their customers and users at least the basic understanding of the innovation. For those who work in the field for years, blockchain’s risks and benefits can seem apparent but for a regular John Doe — not so much.
Customers’ reactions when everyone started talking about BitCoin and blockchain
On May 2017, UK-based bank HSBC published a customer-survey which indicated that 59% of respondents doesn’t know what blockchain even is, and 80% don’t understand its fundamental principles. We think after the Bitcoin hype, the first number definitely had to change, but the second… we are not so sure.
Considering the broken-mirror media representation of blockchain, it’s naive to hope for customers to acquire the right understanding of the technology. That means the responsibility of communication and education falls on the shoulders of developers and business owners.
Reason #9 — Blockchain’s complexity
It would be a lie to say that blockchain is easy to understand. It’s not. Blockchain is evolving all the time, interesting thoughts and suggests grow like weed — and they might be difficult to follow. Even seasoned developers often engage in furious debates on Twitter or Reddit, discussing recently appeared startups, possible risks, and tendencies. It’s difficult to figure out, especially if you have no tech background.
That’s why both journalists and customers should not be hardly blamed for not having the fullest understanding of technology’s fundamentals.
The truth is, blockchain community can be aggressive (but it’s because of constant unreasonable attacks). Instead of strangling those who don’t understand crucial technical details, let’s take responsibility to explain blockchain. After all, not everyone is a developer and we can’t make people understand complex concepts in a few hours.
Instead of denying blockchain’s charges, let’s address them is a clear and comprehensive way. If people have questions about technology’s purpose, let’s answer them with real cases and surveys. We can start with own blogs — like this one.
When we launched Triggmine, a decentralized marketing automation platform, we knew why to use blockchain.
It solves the pressing problem with privacy and security, tightly connected to collecting customer insights, being not just ‘an innovation for innovation’ but an actual optimal solution.
If every company that adopts blockchain aims to produce a well-developed and tested product, addressing an actual customer’s need, there will be less hype talk and more successful projects.