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When you hear (or read) “blockchain,” what do you think of?
Cipher? Bitcoin? A terrifyingly complex technology?
Mrinal Manohar, CEO and co-founder of Casper Labs, says these are all misconceptions.
But even with all this confusion and a broad base of knowledge lagging behind, it presents its own conundrum. Interest in blockchain adoption is at an all-time high, according to a study released today by the company.
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“There is a huge misconception about what blockchain really does,” said Manohar. “This is more than cryptocurrency.”
Definition of Blockchain and Benefits
In simple terms, blockchain is a ledger of information stored in a traceable and tamper-proof manner across a distributed network of computers.
“Blockchain will finally offer the best version of copy protection and digital authentication we have ever seen,” said Manohar.
Both of these, he explained, are essential to the “almost infinite” pool of business applications. And yes, the first use case was digital money like Bitcoin, but copy protection can be applied to anything.
For example, supply chain. Blockchain technology allows organizations to track the life cycle of a product, from the time the product is created, to the time it is authenticated, to the time it is sold or transferred (which may eventually be sold or transferred multiple times). can manage Not only that, but at any point along the way from point A to point B, you can check its condition (such as temperature).
Manohar gave other examples such as patents, degree certificates, and home ownership. “The list goes on”.
Persistent knowledge gaps, steep learning curves
Yet, despite these wide-ranging benefits, business leaders and developers continue to lack basic blockchain knowledge.
- More than half of respondents (54%) still see “blockchain” and “crypto” as interchangeable terms.
- Nearly all respondents (98%) said they would be more likely to adopt blockchain if they learned more about the technology and how their peers are using it.
Moreover, it is steep for developers to master during or after implementing a blockchain. More than half of respondents (52%) cited this as the most common challenge to hiring (25%). This is followed by lack of viable tools (24%), interoperability concerns (20%) and anti-blockchain cynicism (18%).
“Today’s volatile digital asset market is limiting the public’s perception of what blockchain is and how it can positively impact businesses.” Mr Manoher said.
He pointed out that the term and technology remain (erroneously) lumped together under “crypto,” although the latter is really just a simple application of blockchain.
He pointed out that this masks the reality that many organizations are meaningfully adopting blockchain technology today.
Survey respondents reported using blockchain to meet security requirements (42%) and manage copy protection (42%). We also leverage this technology to support operational improvements and innovations in:
- Build an internal operational workflow (40%)
- Supply chain efficiency (34%)
- Developing software applications (30%)
- Contract management (21%)
- Employment and Recruitment (11%)
“Blockchain is a proven way to reduce costs and open up new revenue streams,” said Manohar.
Ignorance but strong interest
Still, ignorance is not bliss. Respondents surveyed have expressed a strong interest in blockchain adoption, with nearly 90% in the US, UK and China beginning to use some form of blockchain. Also:
- 87% are likely to invest in a blockchain solution within the next 12 months. This is especially true in China, where more than half say they are “very likely” to invest.
- 81% expect technology budgets to increase in 2023, even in an expected recession.
In fact, the global blockchain technology market size is expected to achieve a whopping compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 85.9% between 2022 and 2030.
“Enthusiasm about the potential of blockchain is still very strong, with a desire for more dedicated educational resources being expressed,” said Manohar.
And even in regions like China, where adoption is high, there remains a general consensus that more education is needed for successful adoption.
“It’s by no means a one-size-fits-all solution, but with the right use case, it’s a very powerful tool that can be added to an organization’s IT tool belt,” said Manohar.
At this point, Casper Labs, which calls Casper Network the first live proof-of-stake blockchain built from the Casper CBC specification designed by Ethereum developers, first asks prospective customers: May I help you?
“We always want to make sure companies understand what blockchain can and cannot do,” Manohar explained.
But where do you start?
For a successful implementation, organizations should start researching the right blockchain for their needs, Manohar advises. There is a lot of material online, including White’s papers and Casper’s own e-books, Everything you want to know about blockchain.
In short, organizations “should look for blockchains that are focused on interoperability with their existing tech stacks, so they don’t have to overhaul their infrastructure,” said Manohar.
It’s also important to look for blockchains written in languages familiar to mainstream developers and compatible with the organization’s existing toolkits, he said. It’s also important to look for tools such as smart he contracts that can be upgraded. It brings software development best practices such as continuous deployment and continuous integration to the blockchain.
Finally, organizations need to be able to find partners who provide the dedicated professional services needed to “keep the lights on” when something breaks (say, 2am).
Ultimately, Manohar said, “We are at a very pivotal moment for both blockchain and enterprise technology.”
Companies, governments, and Wall Street are beginning to realize that blockchain isn’t for “dismantling and replacing the current tech stack,” but for helping it operate more efficiently within existing infrastructure.
As he puts it, “Blockchain is enterprise ready, enterprise is blockchain ready. All you need is the right knowledge and tools.”
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