Friday December 07, 2018

Researchers Find That Few Blockchain Companies Deliver on Their Promises

Even with a major decline in cryptocurrency value, "blockchain" is still a hot buzzword among investors and companies. But MERL Tech followed "43 blockchain use-cases" closely, digging up a variety of positive-sounding press releases, white papers, and promises of large financial gain. However, the research firm found "no documentation or evidence of the results blockchain was purported to have achieved in these claims. We also did not find lessons learned or practical insights, as are available for other technologies in development." As it turns out, many blockchain-related promises are vague and hollow, and companies often fail to follow up on them. Thanks to Schtask for the tip.

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We fared no better when we reached out directly to several blockchain firms, via email, phone, and in person. Not one was willing to share data on program results, MERL processes, or adaptive management for potential scale-up. Despite all the hype about how blockchain will bring unheralded transparency to processes and operations in low-trust environments, the industry is itself opaque. From this, we determined the lack of evidence supporting value claims of blockchain in the international development space is a critical gap for potential adopters.