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OPLIN 4Cast #599: We may have reached peak hype around blockchain

Posted in 4cast, and blockchain

Last week, I attended an online conference about blockchain and libraries. The vast majority of the material presented was either explanatory or speculative in nature; very little is actually happening at this point in actual implementation. While the conference raised interest in the possible uses of blockchain in libraries, it also highlighted, for me,  the amount of hype surrounding this technology. I’ve been in library IT for nearly two decades, and I cannot remember there ever being a conference that proactively addressed the potential of a technology before it had even fully arrived.

It’s not just libraries that are now assigning wondrous possibilities and abilities to blockchain. It seems that nearly every industry has high expectations. Even business schools are racing to offer courses.  Despite all this, a prominent geopolitical forecaster says that the days of blockchain are numbered. It’s going to be very interesting to see if blockchain ever reaches the heights that are planned for it.

  • Blockchain technology could be the great equalizer for American cities [TechCrunch] “The research not only explores how cities can use blockchain now, but also how it will be used in the future to enable technology like autonomous vehicles that can “talk” to each other. These types of use cases — plus existing opportunities from blockchain—could potentially be transformative for municipal operations.”
  • 187 things the blockchain is supposed to fix [WIRED] “Now, as the technology expands from a fringe hacker toy to legitimate business applications, opportunists have flooded the field. Some of the seekers are mercenaries pitching shady or fraudulent tokens, others are businesses looking to cash in on a hot trend, and still others are true believers in the revolutionary and disruptive powers of distributed networks.”
  • Blockchain will make advertising better. Promise [] “But in the future, you won’t go to them; they’ll come to you. You’ll open the local video app on your computer or TV and tell it you want to watch a show. That app, which has access to your personal data wallet, will grab a limited set of video preferences from your wallet, anonymize this data and reach out on your behalf to Netflix, Amazon, Google, Apple and whomever else you want.”
  • Blockchain: Hype, Reality and the Public Good [Government Technology] “But was this a breakthrough moment as some have thought, or was it another example of what has become the latest in a string of tests and experiments using blockchain that has generated lots of hype but little in the way of practical, widely used applications? It’s not a trivial question. “

From the Ohio Web Library: