What is holding blockchain back from widespread adoption?

It has long been said that blockchain technology has the same transformative power as the internet did in the early 90’s. 

This is true not just in terms of its potential, but also due to the fact that at the moment blockchain technology is slow, not fully understood, and bogged down with complicated processes that make widespread adoption difficult. Just as the internet was sorely underrated and no one realised its full potential 30 years ago, blockchain and DLT is suffering the same fate- for now.

Stakeholders, enthusiasts, techies, and observers are all just waiting for the moment that the technology will hit its tipping point and truly burst into the mainstream. In other words, when is the blockchain revolution going to occur?

Legislation

Definitive legislation is needed to lay the proper foundations for the establishment of blockchain technology. At the moment, despite its popularity increasing as more and more big companies put their names behind it, blockchain still suffers from a lack of trust. 

Reports are still circulating about fraudulent ICOs and the debate over the legitimacy of Bitcoin still rages. As a result, many assume that blockchain is worthy of their scepticism despite the fact that it is built on the principles of freedom, autonomy, and transparency.

Supportive regulation is needed globally that will define grey areas and provide higher trust levels, leading to an acceleration in mass adoption. There is little doubt that the industry is in need of some common standards as well as the public needed education in the hope of bringing the two together in harmony.

So far, Malta, France, 17 US States, Curacao, Singapore, South Korea, and Costa Rica are just some of the countries that have legislated the crypto and blockchain space, and others are set to follow their lead. 

Ease of use and speed

If you want to buy cryptocurrency at the moment, you need to have a specialist wallet and go through a number of steps that the less tech-savvy amongst us may find off putting. When you compare it to existing cross-border payment processes, blockchain apps are a bit too complicated for your average user.

In addition to this, current transaction speeds are slow, especially Ethereum which can only handle 15TPS and Bitcoin which can only handle 7TPS. This combined with obstacles for developers who want to create blockchain apps means that it is hard for people to get used to using and developing blockchain apps.

There is a big need to create plug-andplay, easy to use interface whilst significantly speeding up performance so that users can appreciate the non-technical value that blockchain has to offer. The industry will hit a tipping point when people can use and benefit from blockchain tech every day without even being aware of the technology behind it.

Invisibility

The widespread adoption of blockchain technology does not depend on whether people understand how it works. Furthermore, humans are generally resistant to change and the need to learn new ideas therefore subtle changes will make it much more likely that they will adopt the idea.

Essentially, the day that blockchain usage explodes is the day that people stop mentioning the word “blockchain”. Just as users don’t need to understand TCP/IP protocols when they use the internet, they don’t need to know what powers the blockchain- after all it is a back-end technology.

There are of course other challenges that blockchain faces- energy efficiency, interoperability, and established standards for collaboration to name just a few. 

One thing is for sure- the time of the ICOs of old has long passed and now we will continue to see real projects with real uses that add real value to people’s lives. The key to the mass adoption of blockchain is forgetting the hype and providing real substance to everyday people. Only then will the public’s faith in blockchain begin to flourish and it will truly transition into the mainstream.

Written by Ron Mendelson, Director Fast Offshore