Having fallen out of favor in the circles of highly influential blockchain technology players, Bitcoin likely won’t see its widespread commercial adoption beyond the retail and speculation level. This is a long-term view, and not to minimize the usefulness and impact of what Bitcoin is and has inspired. But, as players like R3 CEV, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and a slew of other companies experiment with blockchain technologies, it’s clear to see that they’re looking to serve their clients, who perceive no uses for Bitcoin itself in their industry.
Mike Hearn, a Bitcoin developer privy to what’s taking place in the new commanding heights of the blockchain experience, predicted Bitcoin’s eventual downfall. Is his speculation coming true?
Bitcoin developers, in the view of a blockchain-forward financial technology company, are somewhat atavistic in the sense that, while Bitcoin will serve as future inspiration, it won’t serve as future medium. To that end project after project have been endeavored upon, looking to incorporate Bitcoin-inspired technology in whatever way desired. Examples include: a blockchain inspired nation-state; a blockchain inspired tax code and IRS; a blockchain inspired online banking platform; a blockchain inspired financial system; blockchain inspired criminal justice; blockchain inspired sports analytics, and so on.
Blockchains fall under three different categories: public, like Bitcoin; private, like Ripple, which runs open-source; and public-private, of which there is not exactly an example.
Platforms like Ethereum and Ripple have partnered with the above-mentioned legacy organizations who currently research blockchain technology. Ripple CEO Chris Larsen has been cited by banking industry workers as inspiring DAVOS banking participants to investigate the blockchain. Multiple blockchain projects have reached out to, and work in some capacity with, Microsoft Azure and its blockchain-as-a-service project.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin remains mired in a block size debate grounded largely in ideology, though that’s clouded with technological lingo. Bitcoin Core, the original wallet and client for the Bitcoin network, has its developers, who have one view. Bitcoin Classic, a new project wanting to adapt the Bitcoin network based on its software, as well as some other solutions, like BitPay’s work in the area. There’s been an absence of consensus.
While that transpires, the most influential organizations on the planet experiment with blockchain-inspired technology, all the while belittling bitcoin’s use for industry. There are only certain aspects of the bitcoin blockchain it seems they will adopt, including multi-signature configurations, as well as end-to-end encryption and distributed data transmission. While many security researchers remain skeptical of modern day encryption, the end-to-end encryption in Bitcoin seems to serve as a bright note.
With all this said, what’s the worth of a Bitcoin? One thing is for sure: Bitcoin is the only large-scale functional use-case of the blockchain technology. It’s completely open-source, meaning Bitcoin runs on a public blockchain. This is not in the interest of certain corporate participants of blockchain experiments, meaning it’s not likely bitcoin will have competition from financial institutions and financial technology giants, who are working on a technology different than Bitcoin.
Satoshi Nakamoto predicted Bitcoin would not last that long in the iteration he programmed. It seems it’s a prediction that still could come true. Somewhere between the speculation that Bitcoin will one day fail, and that which postulates it will fuel the world, there’s a middle road that likely holds the best prediction of all.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely that of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to CCN.
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