“Blockchain technology” continues to be one of the top buzzwords in the tech space over recent years. Ever since the meteoric rise — and subsequent fall— of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, companies across a wide array of industries have been looking for ways to implement the new disruptive tech.
However, even as companies explore their options with the new tech, there’s been a lot of talk and buzz about it without nearly as much utilization. So, what’s holding back blockchain adoption? One word: connectivity.
The Barrier to Entry
Including blockchain in your product or the way you do business is all well and good on paper, but what about actually making it happen? Unfortunately, there are a lot of discussions going on about blockchain, but many companies are finding it both difficult and expensive to find the talent necessary for their plans. Of course, that’s good news for blockchain developers.
Additionally, LinkedIn’s 2018 Emerging Jobs Report reported a 33x growth in blockchain developer jobs over the course of last year, beating out machine learning engineer jobs by more than double.
All of that translates to high demand and high salaries for companies attempting to attract skilled talent.
In addition, blockchain isn’t necessarily going to be the solution for every company and every problem. Though many may wish to include “blockchain” in their business for its buzz-worthiness, it’s not a miracle technology that’s automatically the best option for every business and industry.
And yet, blockchain technology remains heavily under-utilized in most industries. In the industry’s current state, there is a lot of talk around the tech, sometimes to even hyperbolic measures, but the barrier to entry is still so costly for businesses that adoption is still in its infancy. Connectivity can solve that.
Introducing Connectivity to the Equation
To help shrink the high cost of blockchain implementation, two things need to happen. Firstly, the tech space needs more talent. Like other emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, the ratio of skilled labor to demand is significantly uneven.
But with average salaries so high, it’s only a matter of time until more developers and engineers knowledgeable of blockchain enter the workforce as high demand creates an incentive for developers to pick up the skills required.
The second key to driving widespread adoption is connectivity. There are so many potential use cases for blockchain technology, but businesses need to see clear ways of implementing the tech with their current systems.
No one wants to be caged with new technology. Instead, there need to be more ways for businesses to test out the new technology, see what it has to offer, and see how it can improve on their current systems.
Alternatively, not all businesses will benefit from a complete switch to blockchain technology but may instead find that only certain aspects of their operations would improve with the switch. Making blockchain flexible and easy to integrate is the fundamental aspect holding it back from wide scale adoption — but that’s changing.
Fortunately, there are players in the tech space who recognize the need for ease of use and integration with blockchain. The cloud computing arm of Amazon announced a partnership with the start-up Kaleido in 2018 that’s striving for just that: making blockchain attainable for businesses.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Kaleido see the partnership as a way of offering customers an “easy button” to start taking advantage of the same underlying technology of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. According to a statement from AWS:
“Introducing Kaleido to AWS customers is going to help customers move faster and not worry about managing blockchain themselves.”
And tech giants aren’t the only ones tackling the issue either. Many smaller start-ups are building new ways for existing technologies to connect and interact with blockchain technology.
For example, Polkadot is creating ways for different blockchains to exchange information with each other. At a time when so many companies are wanting to utilize a blockchain of their own, having a way for different blockchains to interact with each other is crucial.
However, connecting different blockchains is only the beginning. Adoption relies on expanding the uses for blockchain technology as a whole and finding ways to connect blockchain to the outside world that’s off-chain.
Pushing beyond chain-to-chain connections are other start-ups like MESG, which is focusing on connectivity and interoperability between both blockchains and other technologies we use every day.
Instead of concentrating on just chain-to-chain communications, MESG enables developers to connect blockchain and non-blockchain technologies to communicate efficiently and securely.
Creating more ways for businesses to interact with and test blockchain technology with their own systems is vital for driving adoption as it lowers that previously high barrier to entry.
As an added benefit, developers can also use the MESG marketplace to monetize their open-source code, meaning they have a greater incentive to participate in the MESG ecosystem and expand the integrations it supports.
With more affordable and user-friendly connectivity between technologies both on and off-chain, the barrier to entry will continue to get smaller as things become more affordable and simpler than ever before.
The Bottom Line
As with any new technology when first introduced, blockchain developers, engineers, and companies need to focus on making it easy for businesses to integrate things with their current models.
Rather than requiring a complete switch to a blockchain-based solution, companies want the ability to try the technology and see how it will directly benefit them. Now that more ways are being introduced for businesses to do just that, there’s a much higher chance of them exploring what blockchain has to offer.
At the end of the day, adoption will be driven by connectivity and ease of use, so let’s make things more accessible break down those barriers to entry.
Disclaimer: This is a contributed article and should not be taken as investment advice