(Photo by Attribution Engine user Namecoin, used under a Creative Commons license)
The biggest story in tech right now is the blockchain. Cryptocurrencies are the talk of the web, and developers are building apps on the blockchain that could remake our world.
But for all the promise of blockchain technology, what are its problems? What does it need to overcome in order to achieve its promise?
Earlier this month, we listed the 10 most promising blockchain startups in Brooklyn. We asked a bunch of those startups what they think the biggest hurdles for the technology are and, by and large, they had two answers: scalability and trust.
Alex Miller, cofounder of Grid+: “I think a lot of people interested in blockchain don’t understand its current constraints. It has become very expensive to use the Ethereum network because the network is awaiting scaling updates that may be 6–12 months away.”
Nathan Sexer, VariabL: “One of the biggest challenge for blockchain technology is probably scalability. We are focusing our strength on the Ethereum blockchain and it might be the main hurdle for further developments on that.”
Jake Brukhman, cofounder of CoinFund: “#1 is scalability — we need to get the tech to Internet scale to support the growth. Regulation — SEC will come down fairly hard on ICOs pretty shortly and then we’ll see if some tokens can be securities.”
Matt Coolidge, cofounder of Civil: “Mainstream adoption and trust. It can admittedly be a pretty complex topic on first glance — and again, the fact that Bitcoin is its first well known application has caused many to mistakenly think it’s just about cryptocurrency. As more blockchain-based offerings come to market, people will increasingly appreciate the major distinction between the two. We’re certainly focused on that approach with our efforts around journalism, and there are so many others that will bring blockchain to novel sectors — from real estate to healthcare to music, and — as is the case with any major technological advancement — porn! People will become increasingly comfortable with these concepts, but they’re going to need to see how they’re used in the wild first.”
Zach LeBeau, cofounder of SingularDTV: “The biggest challenge the blockchain sector faces is educating people about the potential of blockchain technology and the transformative power of decentralization. Right now it seems much of the cryptosphere is dominated by sociopathic behavior that generates the need for instant gratification and ignites a feverish greed to make money off of ‘this ICO or that coin.’ Providing people with financial independence is only scratching the surface of what blockchain technology is all about.”
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