by JP Buntinx
It has become evident that successfully developing and deploying blockchain technology will require collaboration. One party embracing this technology will not have an immediate impact. This is why several consortiums and group initiatives have launched in the past, as it allows different parties to come together. Working together is the only viable approach to make this technology succeed in the long run.
Finding The Real World Use Cases Is Not Easy
Collaboration in the blockchain sector goes well beyond the technical side of things. Engineers can worry about the coding part and ensuring things run as efficiently as possible. But the first priority should be to identify use cases for this technology, as it is difficult to see a benefit to distributed ledgers without knowing what they will be used for.
Efforts such as the R3 Consortium are bringing together the world’s major banks to figure out use cases for this technology as we speak. In most cases, the financial sector seems to be the most prone the blockchain disruption in the coming years. Many financial processes can be streamlined, and there seems to be a smaller demand for human involvement in specific tasks.
But as we have come to learn in recent weeks, the blockchain will be making an impact in other sectors as well. The oil and gas sector, for example, may integrate the technology in the coming twelve months. That is rather surprising, considering no companies have officially announced such a project at this time.
For the financial sector, it is not hard to see the benefits distributed ledgers may bring to the table. Transactions will be sped up significantly, which will also help reduce overall costs associated with most financial processes. At the same time, blockchain technology would shape up the reconciliation sector as a whole, as there would be one record maintained by multiple parties in real-time.
Collaboration Applies To Open Technology Standards Too
Looking beyond the R3 blockchain consortium, there are multiple other initiatives taking place right now. The Hyperledger Project is focusing on using the blockchain for more technological reasons. It is not entirely surprising considering this project is backed by IBM, among other players. While some of the proofs of concept are also focusing on the trading and financial sector, for now, Hyperledger is a more hands-on approach to developing distributed ledger technology.
On top of that, there are multiple other blockchain projects. Individual concepts require usage of a proprietary blockchain, which may be private or permissionless. The former solution seems to be the preferred method of choice right now, as involved parties want to retain a sense of control over this technology.
All of these separate blockchain initiatives will hinder collaboration, though. Different implementations of the same technology will not necessarily be compatible. Embracing an open blockchain standard, such as the Bitcoin protocol, would have been the easier, and perhaps better, choice. Only time will tell if these “private chain” initiatives really hold value, or are nothing more than utopian ideas.