2018 Will Be Boring For Blockchain.

The amazingly exciting future for blockchain – replacing banking, overhauling government, and other exciting concepts – is far off.

For now and for the next 12-18 months there are real-life uses of blockchain to consider.

And they are boring.

No change the world impacts to drive headlines and buzz.

That is totally cool with me.

These boring blockchain solutions are making a big difference and forcing folks to learn the hard lessons that need to be learned before broad adoption of new technology.

Boring cases:

  • Not full supply chain solutions – just tracking raw materials like mango origins and lot numbers (IBM and Walmart).
  • Not deep KYC & AML – just Utilities and Banks sharing the most basic of information (please confirm address and that they’ve been a customer for N years).
  • Sharing of index data – automating a paper process .
  • Not full digital identity documents – but digital versions of driver licenses are being looked at.

These cases have some simple patterns:

  • Hard to run right now – multiple players are involved and/or the processes are very paper driven now.
  • Simple to start with because they only need two parties to begin – and the others benefit from the learning.
  • The existing processes are well known and clearly flawed – so changing them doesn’t feel high risk.
  • The projects use basic blockchain technology that isn’t too bleeding edge and they aren’t looking for the impossible (e.g. blockchain that is faster than a database).

The teams that are doing this work are anything but boring though. They are cutting across domains – running from the board room to the deep technology teams. Business barriers,  They are juiced about what they are learning and applying – and thinking about the real change that is coming. The hardest part is making sure that your team is running well. Starting off on the right foot is crucial. I have a few resources to share if you want some guidance – it drives me nuts to see teams that had potential to succeed. Reach out if you have questions.

“The point of disruptive technology is not the market or the competitors that it destroys. It is the new markets and the new possibilities that it creates.” – Tim O’Reilly (Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss).

As for me? I’m excited as hell. These boring use cases make a massive impact while the full power of blockchain becomes better understood. As Tim O’Reilly also says:

“The secret to building a better future is to use technology to do things that were previously impossible.” (ibid.)


Also published on Medium.