A lack of industry consensus as to what constitutes a blockchain solution and overzealous attempts to apply the technology is creating blockchain fatigue, according to Gartner.
At the 2018 Gartner Symposium, Gartner’s David Mahdi discussed blockchain’s biggest security challenges.
Blockchain, as a technology, is often treated as a solution to every potential business or computing problem. Companies keep throwing money at it, with spending expected to total $2.9 billion this year. Successful deployments of blockchain projects are limited, with “initiatives failing to match the initial market exuberance that will lead to disillusionment and buyer fatigue,” according to Gartner’s Predicts 2019: Future of Supply Chain Operations report. Gartner also predicts that by 2023, “90% of blockchain-based supply chain initiatives will suffer blockchain fatigue for lack of strong use cases.”
Depending on where you stand, the report has a quite realistic-or bleak-outlook for the blockchain market, noting that “companies struggle to identify how blockchain will be a better offering and provide higher value over conventional technology.” Despite years of enthusiasm, “most organizations continue to struggle to understand what blockchain is, the capabilities it offers, what these might mean to their business, and what problems blockchain could or should solve,” the report noted.
Perhaps most damning was this assertion: “Many companies at this point in time are pursuing blockchain projects due to intense pressure to be seen as having blockchain competency or due to pressure from the C-suite, rather than investing for specific purposes where blockchain is proven the best technology.”
SEE: Special report: How blockchain will disrupt business (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Telling software developers to build a solution using a specific technology for no other reason than giving the appearance of being “high tech” is a fantastic way to destroy team morale, to say nothing of wasting money. Certainly, blockchain jobs are in high demand, and they pay well, though job security for a fad industry is fleeting, and lacking success to point to on a resume when job hunting can be detrimental.
Gartner noted that most blockchain projects revolve around either “verifying authenticity of goods, improving supply chain traceability and visibility, and improving transactional trust through immutability and cybersecurity.” However, the report also noted that most blockchain projects have not progressed beyond the pilot phase, due to “technological immaturity, lack of standards, overly ambitious scope and a general misunderstanding of blockchain’s ability to support the complex requirements and challenges of a physical supply chain.”
Lack of a turn-key blockchain solution-or industry consensus of what actually constitutes a blockchain solution-makes adoption more difficult for the enterprise, according to the report. “Without a vibrant market for commercial blockchain applications, the majority of companies don’t know how to evaluate, assess and benchmark solutions,” the report stated, adding that “current creations offered by solution providers are convoluted hybrids that include a loose assortment of various conventional and blockchain technologies.”
Organizations have attempted to apply blockchain to situations such as ethical sourcing of conflict minerals, and farm-to-shelf traceability of produce, though these proposals fall flat against thousands of years of evidence that people are willing to falsify information in exchange for money.