Scepticism with regards to blockchain technology is not unheard of. At one end of the spectrum are those who do not deny its revolutionary potential but do call into question its widespread applicability. At the other end, some go further by saying that the entire blockchain phenomenon is nothing more than a mass delusion.
These sentiments are, in some sense, understandable – the Blockchain is still waiting for its own equivalent of a Yahoo moment. Whilst email had been around as a concept since at least the mid-1960’s, and the SMPT protocol from as early as 1982 – and even with Lotus Notes rolled out in the late 80’s – it wasn’t until Yahoo released its web-based email client technology in 1997, along with Hotmail following very shortly after, that email as a mass phenomenon finally took off.
Knowledge Economy ICOs Multiply
The question, however, is who or what will spearhead the eventual wider adoption of blockchain technology that most analysts agree is now coming. The leading contender for ‘mainstreaming’ the Blockchain, according to one analyst, will be projects that hail from the so-called knowledge economy.
“The Knowledge Economy is likely a leading contender as key driver of mass adoption,” explains ICO market analyst Ali Yazbek.
The argument being put forward by Yazbek is that the eventual blockchain-to-the-masses race winner will be the project which is first to achieve the required network effect to go viral. “And the one key feature that knowledge economy projects often carry is that the nodes for these networks are in place already; it is now up to Blockchain technology to join up those dots,” he adds.
A quick browse of the ICO terrain seems to offer no shortage of examples. Experty, a Polish-based ICO which concluded back in February, is releasing its on-the-fly knowledge consultancy platform in just under two months. The many hundreds of thousands of individuals out there with bite-size expertise to offer but no infrastructure to facilitate its sharing is simply staggering. An entirely new industry – micro-consulting – managed by the blockchain’s ability to secure smart contracts and process micro-payments in real time looks set to emerge as a result. The Ternio ICO is an almost identical project but which is running on the Stellar platform as opposed to Ethereum.
Connecty, a French project, is also looking to do something similar, at least conceptually, but in a manner which also throws artificial intelligence into the mix. By incorporating machine-learning mechanisms to match up knowledge seekers with knowledge providers, the project is seeking to create a blockchain-based economy which allows for “cross-sectional knowledge sharing” as opposed to what it describes as the “vertical knowledge silo model” that predominates within both industry and academia today.
With a ready-made audience in place within a market that is crying out for reform, it is another example of where the scene appears to be set for some major disruption. Only time itself, of course, can tell which projects exactly will bring the blockchain to a mainstream audience. What appears sure to most, however, is that this time is coming.
“One thing which is almost certain,” Yazbek concludes, “is that the first blockchain technology to achieve mass adoption will be almost entirely invisible to its users. Like the Internet’s most successful platforms – Amazon, Tinder, Uber – the best Blockchain technologies will offer nothing more than point-and-click interfaces.”