Blockchain - another solution looking for a problem

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Being a part of Natwest's Entrepreneurial Accelerator you get to meet all sorts of interesting people.

I met a chap recently who was starting a new business that was going to use blockchain to record a users personal data on their phone. I asked the obvious question,

"Why Blockchain?"

The reply was quite long and rambling and contained word such as "distributed", "consensus" and "Smart Contracts".

One word that was missing was "private".  Blockchain by its very nature is a puclic ledger which is shared and validated across multiple parties. Why would you want to put personal data on it?

The blockchain concept is a very interesting idea, but I get the feeling that it is a "solution looking for a problem" in much the same way that lasers were after they were first invented. Years/decades later, lasers are an integral part of some key technologies that we all use on a daily basis and I feel the same way about blockchain - eventually applications will be found which will make full use of its capabilities.

This article seems to hit the nail on the head for me: Blockchain startups are selling visions of the future, not technology

The article end with the following paragraphs:

Blockchain is an experiment

The creation of bitcoin and its blockchain brought to life a vision. It showed the possibility of a new future, that allowed for a deviation on to a different path of innovation. It didn’t just create a technology but opened the door to create a spreadable rhetoric.

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Currently, blockchain tech is constructing the tangible structure to make these visions a reality. It’s currently not much more than the first stages of an experiment. And given the massive interest in this “experiment,” it could have a significant impact on our future. Even if what actually materialises is very different from what we are being promised by the blockchain startups of today.