From being popularized as the base layer for Bitcoin to being touted as one of the most important technological advances of the last decade, blockchain has had its ups and downs – but mostly ups. The key value proposition of blockchain is the ability for multiple parties to coordinate with each other in a verifiable manner, eradicating the need for trust and reducing the scope to act on malicious intent. As blockchain comes closer to enabling trustless processes, 2020 could shape up to be a key year for real-world implementation.
Coordination as a Service
There’s a common theme across notable corporations that have started blockchain pilots across the world: they all integrate one or more external partners. At its very heart, blockchain is meant to be a data layer with no special treatment for any entity participating in the network.
As expected, the corporate world caught onto the legitimate merits of using a blockchain before most individuals and analysts in the space did. J.P. Morgan set up a private cryptocurrency network to enable better coordination, albeit their network is not completely trustless and permissionless. Other large companies working on blockchain range from retail giant Walmart to airlines like Etihad.
When a blockchain is built, developed, and maintained by a single entity as the J.P. Morgan network is, it doesn’t offer the same level of verifiable coordination when compared to a network jointly set up by two or more partners. Of course, every corporate citizen probably inherently trust J.P. Morgan because there’s nothing you can really do if they decide to bury you under 10 feet of dirt.
Realizing the Potential of Blockchain
Now that the potential of blockchain has been recognized, the time is ripe to loft it into orbit, reaping the benefits it has to offer. In 2020, it is likely that successful corporate blockchain initiatives will boil down to verifiability.
The hype behind blockchain is slowly wearing off. What was once a sophisticated buzzword for the average “tech bro” has become a piece of technology that companies, decentralized projects, and governments are all looking to utilize.
Chains that offer a unilateral advantage to one party should logically gain minimal traction relative to those that bring true equality of treatment and accessibility to all network participants. But then again, markets are neither logical nor rational, so its time to sit back and see what this year of blockchain unravels.