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It’s hard to say which technology stack is going to be the ‘3.0’ generation until it actually happens, though I have my suspicions on what those could be.
Before diving in, here’s a bit of terminology: Looking back, people have started to put each blockchain iterations into the 1.0/2.0/3.0 framework. Blockchain 1.0 was Bitcoin and the simple alt-coins (like Litecoin) that were just cryptocurrencies. This went on from 2009 until roughly 2013/14. Blockchain 2.0 was the extension of blockchain 1.0 into privacy, smart contracts and the emergence of non-native asset blockchain tokens and capabilities (considered 2014 until present).
The reason this break was created was because the blockchains that defined blockchain 2.0 offered significantly different markets and opportunities than the previous generation. Dapps like Auger or Cryptokitties were not possible with a blockchain 1.0 protocol. ICO’s and DAO’s weren’t possible under blockchain 1.0. Blockchain 2.0 offered different capabilities that opened new markets and changed the landscape significantly.
Extending this logic to the next generation, blockchain 3.0 would have to offer as significant of a change. Not just offering better capabilities, but doing so in such a way that they enable new markets and opportunities. What those markets are is up to history, but here are some of the biggest contenders (in my view):
- Layer 2 services allowing for instantaneous, cheap transactions on the blockchain (Lightning, Raiden, etc)
- The emergence of M2M blockchain applications (Byteball and IOTA via Tangle)
- The combined set of compute protocols built on top of blockchains (Storage, Compute, Utility, etc) that allow for truly decentralized autonomous organizations (many organizations here)
Or it could be something we don’t even have a concept of yet. Just because the first phase of blockchain took four years does not mean this phase will take four years as well. It could be a long time before we see blockchain 3.0.
One more thought: we have defined blockchain 1.0 and 2.0 by today’s standards. Smart contracts seem a lot different than Bitcoin, but only because we don’t know what the next generation looks like. It’s very possible that whatever comes next is so dramatically different from today that blockchain 1.0 and 2.0 get re-categorized as 1.0. At the end of the day, it’s just a label that’s easy to remove and morph if the situation fits.
Originally published at www.quora.com.