In 2018, Blockchain and cryptocurrency exploded across tech. We spoke to Packt author Harish Garg on what they see as the future of Blockchain in 2019 and beyond.
Harish Garg, founder of BignumWorks Software LLP, is a data scientist and lead software developer with 17 years’ software industry experience. BignumWorks is an India-based software consultancy that provides consultancy services in software development and technical training. Harish has worked for McAfee\Intel for 11+ years. He is an expert in creating data visualizations using R, Python, and web-based visualization libraries.
Find all of Harish Garg’s books for Packt here.
From early adopters to the enterprise
What do you think was the biggest development in blockchain during 2018?
The biggest development in Blockchain during 2018 was the explosion of Blockchain based digital currencies. We have now thousands of different coins and projects supported by these coins. 2018 was also the year when Blockchain really captured the imagination of public at large, beyond just technical savvy early adopters. 2018 also saw first a dramatic rise in the price of digital currencies, especially Bitcoin and then a similar dramatic fall in the last half of the year.
Do you think 2019 is the year that enterprise embraces blockchain? Why?
Absolutely. Early adoption of Enterprise blockchain is already underway in 2018. Companies like IBM have already released and matured their Blockchain offerings for enterprises. 2018 also saw the big behemoth of Cloud Services, Amazon Web Services launching their own Blockchain solutions. We are on the cusp of wider adoption of Blockchain in enterprises in 2019.
Key Blockchain challenges in 2019
What do you think the principle challenges in deploying blockchain technology are, and how might developers address them in 2019?
There have been two schools that have been emerging about the way blockchain is perceived. One one side, there are people who are pitching Blockchain as some kind of ultimate Utopia, the last solution to solve all of humanity’s problems. And on the other end of the spectrum are people who dismiss Blockchain as another fading trend with nothing substantial to offer. These two kind of schools pose the biggest challenge to the success of Blockchain technology. The truth is somewhere lies in between these two. Developers need to take the job of Blockchain evangelism in their own hands and make sure the right kind of expectations are set up for policy makers and customers.
Have the Bitcoin bubble and greater scrutiny from regulators made blockchain projects less feasible, or do they provide a more solid market footing for the technology? Why?
Bitcoin has invited lot of scrutiny from regulators and governments, without the bubble too. Bitcoin upends the notion of a nation state controlling the supply of money. So obviously different governments are reacting to it with a wide range of actions, ranging from outright ban from using the existing banking systems to buy and sell Bitcoin and other digital currencies to some countries putting a legal framework in place to securely let their citizens trade in them.
The biggest fear they have is the black money being pumped into digital currencies. With proper KYC procedures, these fears can be removed. However, governments and financial institutions are also realizing the advantages Blockchain offer in streamlining their banking and financial markets and are launching pilot projects to adopt Blockchain.
Blockchain and disruption in 2019
Will Ethereum continue to dominate the industry or are there new platforms that you think present a serious challenge? Why?
Ethereum do have an early mover advantage. However, we know that the early moved advantage is not such a big moat to cross for new competitors. There are likely to be competing and bigger platforms to emerge from the likes of Facebook, Amazon, and IBM that will solve the scalability issues Ethereum faces.
What industries do you think blockchain technology is most likely to disrupt in 2019, and why?
Finance and Banking are still the biggest industries that will see an explosion of creative products coming out due to the adoption of Blockchain technology. Products for Government use are going to be big especially wherever there is a need for immutable source of truth, like in the case of land records.
Do you have any other thoughts on the future of blockchain you’d like to share?
We are at a very early stage of Blockchain adoption. It’s very hard to predict right now what kind of killer apps will emerge few years down the line. Nobody predicted smartphones in 2007 will give rise to Apps like Uber. Important thing is to have the right mix of optimism and skepticism.