Blockchain moves beyond its ‘moonshot’ phase

Jonathan MathewsPublic

Bank executives today who want to stay abreast of new technologies are compelled to wade through a swamp of buzzwords, none buzzier than “blockchain.”

Such is the proliferation of projects—public, permissionless blockchains such as Ethereum’s, which anyone can use, alongside private, “permissioned” blockchains such as R3’s Corda—and competing schools of thought, each with its loud partisans competing for mindshare at conferences and on social media, that one could be forgiven for feeling lost.

Worse, it can seem as if the word “blockchain” itself risks becoming little more than fairy dust for big corporations to sprinkle on tired old processes to make them sound new and fresh.

Brian Behlendorf, executive director of the Hyperledger Project, which seeks to establish common standards for blockchain technology, isn’t concerned. Blockchain projects are evolving rapidly—dozens of companies are now using the distributed ledger network Corda, for instance—and, for now, Behlendorf would rather see a thousand flowers bloom than try to reap the harvest too early.

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