There are conferences and foundations and consortia and keynotes; it’s the new hotness! But I looked into blockchain technologies carefully and I’ve ended up thinking it’s an overpromoted niche sideshow.
First off, I should say that I like blockchain, conceptually. Provably-immutable append-only data log with transaction validation based on asymmetric crypto, and (optionally) a Byzantine-generals solution too! What’s not to like? But I still don’t think the world needs it.
I’m not stuck on the technical objections, for example the laughably slow transactions-per-second of most real-world blockchain implementations. Where I work, scaling out horizontally to support a million TPS is table stakes.
I could maybe get past the socio-political issues, the misguided notion that in civilized countries, you can route around the legal system with “smart contracts” (in ad-hoc procedural languages) and algorithmic cryptography.
I could even skate around the huge business contra-indicator: Something on the order of a billion dollars of venture-capital money has flowed into the blockchain startup scene. And, what’s come out? I’m not talking about platforms that are “ready for business” or “proven enterprise-grade” or “approved by regulatory authorities”, I’m talking about blockchain in production with jobs depending on it.
But here’s the thing. I’m an old guy: I’ve seen wave after wave of landscape-shifting technology sweep through the IT space: Personal computers, Unix, C, the Internet and Web, Java, REST, mobile, public cloud. And without exception, I observed that they were initially loaded in the back door by geeks, without asking permission, because they got shit done and helped people with their jobs.
That’s not happening with blockchain. Not in the slightest. Which is why I don’t believe in it.