Why it’s time to drop the dogma and become blockchain rationalists
In the past few years, the conversation about Cryptocurrency has taken on the tenor of a religious debate, with people either identifying as evangelists or skeptics, maximalists or minimalists.
Tipping one side of the scale are the maximalists — people such as venture capitalist and Blockchain industry influencer Tim Draper — who believe Bitcoin’s global impact will be more significant than technological developments in the Iron Age, the Renaissance, or the Industrial Revolution.
On the other side of the scale sit the minimalists, luminaries like former World Bank chief economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, who thinks the Cryptocurrency should be outlawed and that it “doesn’t serve any socially useful purpose.” The Oracle of Omaha, successful investor Warren Buffett, also sits in this minimalist camp, prophesying that Bitcoin “will come to a bad ending” and that it’s “rat poison squared.”
The debate between maximalists and minimalists has defined the Cryptocurrency space since Bitcoin was launched. A decade later, time has shown that extremists on both sides were wrong. Bitcoin isn’t going to replace fiat currency, but it’s also not going away.
Although all-or-nothing attitudes toward Cryptocurrency are often rooted in fallacies, wishful thinking and ignorance, they’ve leaked into the discourse, slowing other tech developments. Most importantly, skepticism about Cryptocurrency has discouraged widespread investment in its underlying technology platform — Blockchain — even when used for non-Cryptocurrency industries.
Gartner’s 2018 CIO survey, for example, showed that only 1 percent of CIOs were engaged in any form of Blockchain adoption, and 77 percent reported that their organization had no interest in the technology. Despite this lack of engagement among CIOs, 82 percent of Fortune 100 companies have either explored, implemented, or invested in Blockchain.
The sooner we integrate Blockchain with existing software, the faster we will spur its adoption and spread its many advantages around the world. To do this, we need to position ourselves not as minimalists or maximalists but as Blockchain rationalists who take the middle ground.
The case for coexistence
Blockchain maximalists believe that all ledger-based transactions, and even the internet itself, will soon be decentralized. But centralized software solutions aren’t going anywhere. To start, they represent a massive capital investment from businesses: Walmart alone spent $10.5 billion on information technology in 2015. Corporations aren’t likely to abandon such investments for an untested technology.
In addition, it’s simply easier to build centralized web solutions than decentralized Blockchain ones — in part because there’s more talent available. There are currently about 23 million web developers in the world, but only about 174,000 Blockchain developers in the US. This talent shortage is stunting b