Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Ethereum (ETH)–Despite the falling price of cryptocurrency, which has a hit a new low for the year as Bitcoin slips to $3700, the drive for companies to integrate blockchain into their services is still alive and strong.
However, the misappropriation and misaligned focus of pursuing blockchain has Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin finding fault with the race for technology’s latest hyped product. While EWN previously reported on the recent development of companies shifting from the language of “blockchain” to “distributed ledger technology,” the desire to offer the service as a technology or to improve upon existing framework has been a dominating discourse in the world of fintech and beyond. From Facebook, IBM and car manufacturers, to the more obvious industry of banking and global money remittance, blockchain has found a way to invigorate new projects despite its close association with the slumping marketplace of cryptocurrency.
For Ethereum co-founder and vocal crypto advocate Vitalik Buterin, the proverbial gold rush to implement blockchain in various industries is little more than a distraction or empty marketing attempt for companies that will not benefit from the technology. In an interview published by Quartz on Nov. 26, the young founder said that the misapplication of blockchain by companies looking to capitalize on the recent hype ultimately leads to “wasted time,” for the perpetrators.
“Sometimes it is for marketing hype. Sometimes it is just people who are genuinely excited about blockchains and want the thing they are personally excited about and their job to align more with each other, which is a totally legitimate, human thing to want to do.”
While some companies have little in the way to benefit from integrating blockchain, Buterin highlighted the obvious of transactional-based cryptocurrencies and cross-border payment programs as two industries which will stand to benefit the most from blockchain. However, other industries will need to wait before the technology can be sufficiently tested at scale or prove to have any direct benefit,
“All of the other ideas — whether we’re talking about products or the self-sovereign identity stuff — that’s clearly something that still needs much more time to be worked out before we can see [if it] makes sense at scale,”
Buterin also shared his opinion on the generation of blockchain by computing giant IBM and other large corporations, in particular the lack of decentralization promoted by regulated industry,
“I don’t understand this deeply, but the detail that jumped out at me is they’re saying ‘Hey, we own all the IP and this is basically our platform and you’re getting on it.’ And like, that’s… totally not the point….”
Long Blockchain Corp., the former drink maker turned Bitcoin miner, represents one of the more egregious and shameless examples of blockchain appropriators. However, there is room for some innovation in fields that would not previously seem apparent. In the case of Buterin, he finds the approach of authenticating university degrees through blockchain as an indication of the myriad and growing possibilities for the technology, even if some companies attempt to capitalize on the present hype.