The Hype and Potential Behind Blockchain Technologies

By Ron Wen

Originally published by IBM developerWorks blog.

Recently, a very influential technology analyst group released its annual Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. In this report you can find their perspective on where a variety of new-wave technologies are on their journey to mainstream adoption. If you’re wondering where blockchain technologies appear on that hype cycle, I can tell you that it sits precipitously near the top of the hype cycle peak and right before the drop into the “Trough of Disillusionment”. And for anyone trying to keep up with blockchain news, you may have that feeling yourself. That feeling you get on a rollercoaster as you approach the top of the first hill. The clickety-clack of the cars, that first look over the top of the hill and then…  whoosh!

peak

But not to worry, developers and technology professionals. The reality is that the “Trough of Disillusionment” (and that funny feeling in the pit of your stomach) is a necessary part of any technology’s evolution. It’s the clarification and evolution of ambitious, early-stage technology ideas into the more feasible and productive use cases. It’s all the hard coding, late nights and pilot programs that lay a foundation to build future businesses and deliver clear customer-value. And it’s where the real work gets done, in my opinion. We’ve all seen this before (Internet 1.0 vs. 2.0) and I think we will see it again with blockchain technologies.

So you’re excited about blockchain and want to learn more, code with it and get involved with the open source community, but don’t know where to start? The Hyperledger Project is definitely a fantastic starting point. As part of the Linux Foundation, you’ll find a wealth of resources to stay up to date on Hyperledger and blockchain technology. And as a long-time contributor to Hyperledger and blockchain technologies, IBM’s launch of Blockchain @ developerWorks is VERY exciting news to me. Whether you’re a neophyte or experienced blockchain professional, there are tutorials, sample code, an online community, and more to help you learn and prepare yourself for Hyperledger fabric and IBM Blockchain.

ibm-blochchain

Now I know what you may be thinking – why should I get started in learning about blockchain technology when it’s approaching this “Trough of Disillusionment”? And here’s where the hype DOES matter. With all the companies that are signing up to support the Hyperledger Project as corporate sponsors it’s pretty obvious that most technology pundits and experts see a bright future for Hyperledger and blockchain technologies.

And IBM is all in (see Jerry Cuomo’s cool video) – having contributed 44,000 lines of code and providing expertise to Hyperledger’s technical steering committee (IBM Open Technology CTO- Christopher Ferris, Arnaud Le Hors, Senior Technical Lead for IBM Open Technology and IBM blockchain fabric Chief Architect Binh Nguyen).

It’s hard not to get excited about where the Hyperledger project and blockchain technologies will be taking us in the next five years. And while there’s always some uncertainty and haziness looking into the crystal ball, I’m relatively certain that blockchain’s transition into mainstream technology will come faster than we expect. And what if it falls into that “Trough of Disillusionment” and never pops back out again? All I can say is: unlikely and I hope you’re ready for a very interesting blockchain technology ride…

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