Is Blockchain the Next Betamax Tape?
In 1975, Sony released its latest analog video tape cassette. This was the beginning of a war to have the best recording format in the newly created video industry. JVC countered with VHS and Phillips reacted with the then advanced LaserDisc technology which seemed at the time, to be the most advanced technology. I distinctly remember the new technology of this time because I was a teenager asking my parents to buy me a VCR. Which one though?
Today, at every event I attend when I’m asked about which Blockchain technology I think will prevail I’m reminded of the video recording industry war, and I want to present a different view. My answer to the question of which DLT will win, is "that isn’t necessarily the right question". I personally see DLT as a very nice advancement in database synchronization workflows. This solution could and will provide much needed relief for major problems in the industry that are caused by the lack of agreement on trade and counterparty details. So, I am all for DLT. Which one will prevail is not important in my opinion because I do expect good inter-operable solutions to emerge as the technology gets adopted across the industry.
What is the threat though to this technology? The answer is quantum computing!
When you ask the average person about quantum computing, they immediately nod their head in agreement. Agreement to what? Most people know or think that quantum computing means fast and powerful computing powers that will change the world’s ability to analyze huge amounts of data and other computations that will break the average 128 bit encryption or even higher levels of sophisticated encryption. However, that's just a general description of its capabilities. The true secret to quantum computing is the newly found ability to observe quantum-mechanic changes which creates computational abilities that are based on atomic changes, not on predefined database tables and network governance. If you can run a laser through an atom and observe its minute atomic changes and assign 01 01 bites to these changes, the world of quantum computing will dramatically change everything we know; database synchronization at the speed of light, infinite storage capabilities, and more importantly, an unhackable network of communication are just some of the top benefits of such technology. If we could use these observation methods to randomly select unbreakable keys for our encryption, we could create long distance networks that are synchronized, efficient and able to process large amounts of secure data. The big question is WHEN?
The adoption of DLT is dependent on many different factors. Performance issues and even data governance issues are solvable with the right mindset from the participants in a certain industry. The catalyst for such adoption however, is centralized with several big players. The timing of mass adoption is therefore more difficult to estimate. In the meantime, the fascinating and clandestine war around the world to control and lead the creation of quantum computing technology is raging. I believe we will see big leaps in this technology in the next 5 years.
This notion of course, begs the question we first asked- is DLT just like Betamax?
Although it’s a nonstandard answer, I think it might be. What's needed is a way to provide a bridge between these fast-changing technologies. We need to give the industry a chance to hedge their bets and not put all of their eggs in the same basket.
Published: 04 April 2018
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