The Truth About Blockchain: 2 1/2 years later

This article by Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani came out in the January/February issue of the Harvard Business Review.

The authors outline an adaptation cycle for Blockchain, which they predict will closely follow the trajectory of TCP/IP adaptation.  TCP/IP began as a single use application for ARPAnet messaging.  Before that, computers had to be connected to each other in order to communicate.

From there, they define Blockchain as a foundational technology, as opposed to a disruptive one.  Their road to adaptation is shown in 4 quadrants which are cheap alternatives, localization in single use applications, substitution in the way Amazon initially was an alternative bookseller and finally, transformation, which changes everything.

The key statistic they point out is that Bitcoin (BTC) payments, for which Blockchain was devised, were projected to be worth 92 billion USD in 2016, which is small when measured in 411 trillion in total payments for the year.  They advise in favor of small uses first.  

Even in 2017, one could argue that 92 billion was substantial. Many strong companies are worth less.  

At this writing, 8.5 billion USD has been paid in BTC during the past 24 hours.

Bitcoins sent last 24h 817,469 BTC ($8,504,753,297 USD) 4.57% market cap

Click here for a current chart.


What does this imply?  Adaptation is clearly moving quickly.  While Blockchain is moving towards dominating the financial world, it still is not present everywhere.  While this could make a strong case for a big start, I suspect that libraries will have to follow the authors’ advice and begin with small projects.

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