If you doubt the wonders of blockchain technology, then you are not the first. With grandiose promises of the technology’s potential and a generally slow movement in that direction, many are starting to wonder if blockchain technology is one big flop. However, if we really want to look at what the future of this new tech looks like, then take a glance into the past for inspiration. Some of history’s most brilliant innovations started out as the laughing stocks of society. Will blockchain follow the same trajectory?
The World Doubted Steve Jobs Once Upon a Time
Most of us remember Steve Jobs as an icon of innovation, but even he had his doubts in the early stages of success. In a 1985 interview for Playboy Magazine, Jobs was asked why anyone would consider buying a computer: “Aren’t you asking home-computer buyers to invest $3000 in what is essentially an act of faith?” Jobs firmly responded, “In the future, it won’t be an act of faith… A hundred years ago, if somebody had asked Alexander Graham Bell, ‘What are you going to be able to do with the telephone?’ he wouldn’t have been able to tell him the ways the telephone would affect the world.” Today, naysayers would be shocked to learn that both computers are combined into one product that someone could carry in a pocket.
Fast forward to a 1998 article about the pitfalls of making technological predictions. In this article, Nobel Prize-winning economist stated, “By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine.” We do not have to go into detail about how wrong Krugman was on that statement. The point is that technology’s potential has always been doubted, due to a simple lack of foresight. Today, we are seeing the same pattern with blockchain.
Blockchain’s Benefits Are Still Unclear to Many
For the true blockchain technology supporters (including companies that are using it innovatively), there are few doubts that the tech will affect the world someday. However, the common person still cannot visualize it. Take a South Burlington City Clerk, for example. The City Clerk of South Burlington, Vermont, was approached by real estate startup Propy with a unique idea to put the city’s land records on the blockchain. At first, Kinville was open to the new tech but later admitted, “I’m having a hard time understanding how blockchain is going to really positively affect my citizens.” Kinville then continued, “We Vermonters are cautious. We like paper; you can always go back to it.” Indeed, you can always go back to paper, unless there is a fire or flood that destroys paper documents.
General Public is Not Ready For Blockchain Yet
So, it seems for now that the general public is having a hard time visualizing a decentralized future. Yet, as we have outlined in this article, doubt does not mean failure. Global finance, real estate, and a wealth of other industries need a more transparent and efficient way to store and send data instantly. Blockchain technology offers a solution, but, perhaps, it is just not ready for its time in the spotlight.
As we saw in the past and as we see in the present, there is a gamut of ambivalent feelings expressed by society regarding new technology. As the slope of enlightenment gets more clear, we can expect to see the late majority joining the community of innovators and early adopters.