Within the office, a debate has been struck up in recent weeks that continues to rage on. Certain (older) members of the staff are adamant that blockchain technology is the game-changing aspect in the world of the future, much like the internet. Those of us on the younger side (and I use that term loosely) are of the opinion that Bitcoin is king and blockchain is perhaps slightly over-hyped at this moment in time.
Blockchain, of course, is the underpinning technology that helps the Bitcoin network run. Since then though, blockchain has become the key buzzword throughout the FinTech world. Never a day passes without news about new companies investigating its use cases. Healthcare, insurance, gaming—the list is endless in supposed ways blockchains can be utilised. However, Bitcoin and Ethereum have already shown that there are underlying issues with blockchain technology.
Both have suffered from scaling issues, even with minimal adoption, and both are working on solving these currently. How companies expect to use such blockchains to underpin their business remains to be seen. One option that’s being pushed is to use private blockchains. However, this then means that they are not decentralised. Much of the cryptocurrency space aims to remove a central authority, but under a private blockchain, nothing much changes. If such companies do choose to pursue private blockchains, what they will essentially end up with is a rather fancy database, not the great technological advancement that they’re craving.
There are other benefits, however. Traceability is a key element for those investigating blockchain technology. For both fraud and trade, this may be an improvement on our current systems, as fraud is still prevalent in the traditional financial institutions themselves. As I type, news has just broken of Deutsche Bank being raided for suspected money laundering crimes. Despite financial institutions investigating blockchain technology, whether they will want to embrace it fully is questionable.
The debate over Bitcoin and blockchain will continue to rumble on in the office I’m sure. If you have your own opinions, let us know—you might help a side win this office debate.