Can Private Permissioned Blockchains Be Successful?
One author with experience seems to think the answer is no. I think Angus drives a lot of valid insight at a very high level with anecdotal experience from the enterprise. He essentially gives us a bunch of reasons why he found private blockchain couldn’t work in a lot or most instances he found. I am not sure if he ever implemented a blockchain solution for the enterprise as he doesn’t mention this aspect.
But what I do find interesting is that it reads much like skeptical management and this is what I believe he ran into. You read about so many scams and hacks in cryptocurrency and a lot of traditional folk would be scared off at the talk of blockchain anything. You cannot train or teach your way around it if management doesn’t want to listen. So could it be his experience was a painful lesson in the perception of blockchain and change management? I am no way suggesting Angus wasn’t diligent with how he sold blockchain but rather the whole article reads like he found a lot of roadblocks.
Definition – how do you define blockchain vs storing stuff on Google docs?
Differentiation – how is blockchain different than a database?
Process impact – what if blockchain isn’t worth the investment or fizzles away in the future?
Some of his other reasoning is “why do we need blockchain can’t a database or solution be used?”. I think to really answer that we’d have to look at specific use cases but perhaps he wasn’t able to divulge a lot of that due to NDAs. Of course I’d agree there are many cases where a database can and does make the most sense but I would never generalize without looking at a particular situation. And yes it is largely true like any technology and business problem that there are multiple ways with pros and cons to solve the same issue. However, the inability of one technology to be suitable for some projects would not put me off it. It’s the whole idea of putting a round peg into a square hole. We just need the right tools for the right job and we rarely blame the tool for being the wrong fit.
However if there was no help or benefit would IBM have spent the big bucks to offer Hyperledger to their clients? Hyperledger itself has use cases for many industries which have been adopted: https://www.hyperledger.org/resources/industries
So perhaps it’s not so much that it is the technology rather than the typical “80%” issue of it being people preventing adoption of new technologies.
There was a lot of concern back in the 90’s that eCommerce was a fad because of all the issues of scams and other long-forgotten issues would make it a short-lived trend. But as we see today eCommerce continues to grow. While blockchain has a long-way to go in many respects I think what we have now is proof of concept and implementation that blockchain is here to stay and has relevant use cases in business. But of course adoption, education and trust in such technologies is where the real work will occur.