The blockchain/crypto space has more than its fair share of critics, who dismiss it as ‘all hype, no substance’. But if anything blockchain technology has been underhyped, says Alastair Johnson, Founder and CEO of UK-based e-commerce payments and ID platform, Nuggets.
In an interview with Coin Rivet, he comments: “Of course there is a lot of hype surrounding the blockchain. It’s a similar story to the dot-com boom of the late 1990s when people around the world were dreaming up new use cases and business ideas based on the internet. A lot of these failed and the bubble burst. But among the startups of that time were companies like eBay and Amazon.”
The internet, he continues, has changed the world in more dramatic ways than anyone could have imagined. “I have no doubt blockchain technology is going to do the same. It’s going to give everyone in the world the ability to exchange value without the help of intermediaries. In itself, this is huge.”
“The internet has become incredibly centralised. A few players extract the lion’s share of the value of people’s data. The blockchain could change this status quo. I don’t think the world has grasped the democratising implications of the blockchain – so in many ways we could say it is underhyped.”
There are problems in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, Johnson concedes. Many people are investing in companies that clearly don’t have a future. The key is to work out whether a startup is actually solving a problem by leveraging blockchain technology.
It’s also worth noting that the web 3.0 era isn’t just about the blockchain. It’s about a number of technologies and trends coming together, from biometrics, to IOT, to AI. Blockchain-based solutions tend to leverage many different technologies and this is why we’re going to see exciting progress.
“Imagine a future where you walk into a coffee shop and facial recognition identifies you, orders your usual coffee and pings you for confirmation, all before you reach the counter. Nowadays we worry about the privacy implications of this type of scenario. But imagine if the biometric information is owned by the individual, and they decide how it can be used – not the retailer,” Johnson comments.
He concludes: “What I am particularly excited about in terms of the potential of technologies such as biometrics and blockchain is the opportunity to spur progress and quality of life in the developing world. As a provider of trust, transparency and certainty, the blockchain can help facilitate the distribution of rights and assets in countries that lack robust administrative infrastructures and systems. When we see the potential of solutions like Nuggets realised in those markets, we will have made a huge difference to society and people.”