Oracle's Vice President of Blockchain Product Development, Frank Xiong, is certainly someone who can be allowed to wax lyrical about blockchain. The Oracle VP is certainly bullish in his estimations of how many companies will be using blockchain technology in the few years. He estimates anywhere from 50 to 60 percent of all companies will be using distributed ledger technology "within a few years."
His division is responsible for creating the Oracle blockchain-based platform that over 100 companies use today. The platform was created for the sole purpose of tracking items, which is a mission-critical task in the modern world. Oracle's system helps manufacturers make sure their inputs are not coming from dubious sources. It also helps retail giants verify the country of origin of products.
However, he did throw some cold water on the general hype surrounding blockchain at the moment. He said that blockchain was not a silver bullet technology that could solve everything for a business. Speaking to Forbes, he commented that "we are past the stage that blockchain can solve everything" and reiterated that businesses would become more realistic with regards to expectations. Businesses will start looking at where blockchain will have the most impact on their businesses.
Samsung has its own executive responsible for blockchain and is less bullish with regards to the emerging technology. While he does agree that multi-company collaboration sees improvement when using blockchain, he does not see such a high number of companies using the technology. His own forecast only stands at 20 percent of companies using distributed ledger technology in the next 3 years.
There is also the centralization factor to consider. More and more companies are vertically integrating, and a giant in the online space such as Amazon will be able to co-opt the decentralization process.
Daniel Jones, Bext360 CEO, says that the Amazons of the world will continue to integrate their platforms vertically. This vertical integration will find its way into the farm level, an area where Amazon is especially strong. The initial promise of freedom that blockchain offers will be completely forgotten once these large companies come into the sphere fully.
The uptake of blockchain in the enterprise space is highly dependant on consortiums setting global standards, say various industry insiders. Maersk and Oracle have formed large consortia around their own blockchain technologies. Others are waiting on the outcomes from this rough landscape before they jump into any real business.
One such company is Flexport. Flexport is a $3 billion rated startup in the logistics field. They say that the cost to jump in is not worth it if there are no global standards to follow. This will just increase cost in the long-run if they follow a standard that will eventually lose out to another. Its an echo of the VHS vs. Betamax days and companies have learned from the mistakes in the past.
Other consortia with specific use cases are jumping on the hype train and expanding the uses for blockchain in creative ways. Automotive companies are looking to use a blockchain solution to create a data marketplace. This way they will be able to share autonomous driving data without having to give it up or let companies that are not authorized use it.
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