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Gartner says blockchain is sliding into ‘the trough of disillusionment’

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I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but according to Gartner‘s Hype Cycle, blockchain is “sliding into the trough of disillusionment,” meaning the technology is struggling to live up to the hype.

In the firm’s own words, the “trough of disillusionment” means that “interest [in the technology] wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.”

In fact, Gartner‘s Hype Cycle – a graphical representation of the life cycle stages a technology goes through from conception to maturity and widespread adoption – shows most blockchain technologies are still five to 10 years away from transformational impact.

Source: Gartner (October 2019)

“Blockchain technologies have not yet lived up to the hype and most enterprise blockchain projects are stuck in experimentation mode,” said Avivah Litan, an analyst and research vice president at Gartner.

Blockchain is not yet enabling a digital business revolution across business ecosystems and may not until at least 2028, when Gartner expects blockchain to become fully scalable technically and operationally,” Litan added.

But, it’s not all bad news, Gartner believes that blockchain platforms will be scalable, interoperable, and support smart contract portability and cross-chain functionality by 2023.

“We are witnessing many developments in blockchain technology that will change the current pattern. By 2023, blockchain platforms will be scalable, interoperable, and will support smart contract portability and cross-chain functionality. They will also support trusted private transactions with the data confidentiality required. Altogether, these technology advances will take us much closer to mainstream blockchain and the decentralized web, also known as Web 3.0,” said Ms. Litan.

Gartner has been keeping tabs on blockchain technology for years. In fact, last year the global research firm said interest in blockchain technology was waning.

Prior to that, in May 2016, it noted the technology had reached the peak of its hype cycle, asserting that blockchain was at the stage where users and the public are suffering from “inflated expectations” about its potential benefits.

To be fair, blockchain technology is still nascent and it’s not unheard of for technologies this young to struggle when it comes to mainstream adoption.

While it might be easy to get frustrated by the industry’s slow pace at times, going through the trough of disillusionment is all part of tech reaching a useful state.

What’s next in blockchain? Join Hard Fork Summit on October 15-17 to find out. With experts like Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, on the lineup, it’s not one to miss.

Published October 8, 2019 — 14:14 UTC