Where is Blockchain Really Used? Nowhere! Study Shows 0% Success Rate

Mish

Other than cryptocurrencies, where is blockchain used? A study cannot find anyplace, only tests, proof of concept, etc.

A Blockchain Study Finds 0.00% Blockchain Success Rate. The study reported also reported 0 vendor call backs when asked for evidence of implementation.

Though Blockchain has been touted as the answer to everything, a study of 43 solutions advanced in the international development sector has found exactly no evidence of success.

Three practitioners including erstwhile blockchain enthusiast John Burg, a Fellow at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), looked at instances of the distributed crypto ledger being used in a wide range of situations by NGOs, contractors and agencies. But they drew a complete blank.

"We found a proliferation of press releases, white papers, and persuasively written articles," Burg et al wrote on Thursday. "However, we 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."

Blockchain vendors were keen to puff the merits of the technology, but when the three asked for proof of success in the field, it all went very quiet.

"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 [monitoring, evaluation, research and learning] 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."

Quick Check

I just did a quick search myself: Where is Blockchain Used?

The search turns up pages and pages of links but not a one of them had an answer. A few click-bait articles had promise but were all hype and no reality.

  1. Motley Fool: 20 Real-World Uses for Blockchain Technology The article gave real world potential uses, many of them I agree with. However, there is nothing used in the real world today other than crypto-related.
  2. CoinIndex: What is Blockchain Technology and Where is it Used Right Now? The article announced "Blockchain technology is silently revolutionizing the world." It was all hype, no reality.
  3. ComputerWorldUK: Real-world uses of the blockchain today, from supply chain to equity Once again, the article hyped up things companies are working on. They were all pilots, proof-of-concept tests, or theories. The article is nearly impossible to read. It seems to have some sort of automated scrolling that keeps a video pinned at the top. Eventually, I gave up. The idea was to slowly feed you one idea at a time while you had to suffer through many ad displays waiting for the next failed use that isn't quite there yet. One item seemed close, an airline rewards program. Then again, blockchain is hardly a requirement for a rewards program. Even if that use does get off the ground, I see little added benefit.

My simple test agrees with the study. At the moment, blockchain is all hype and no reality.

That said, I do believe blockchain has a future. It seems perfect for low-volume, high-value transactions such as mortgages, deeds, loan agreements, etc.

The future value is in blockchain, not cryptos.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (35)
No. 1-22
Greggg
Greggg

Is there enough profit in the technology to apply it to different areas? I would think cloud computing storage would be a prime place to apply it; that is if the owners of those sites weren't using it for their own purposes.

Stuki
Stuki

The whole purpose of a distributed ledger, is to avoid dependence on one, omnipotent, trusted entity.

Nothing which relies on The Mafia (or some nation state, should the two differ), as a final arbiter of who owns what, benefits in practical terms from distributing the ledger keeping track of ownership. As it is always the mob's version of the ledger that is final. All it has to do, is tell some dude in a robe to issue a court order saying you forfeited your claim to what your version says you own, by thinking evil thoughts about some exalted mob Don.

Hence, blockchains make sense for Bitcoin et al, which were created specifically to exist above and beyond any mob or nation state, but not for real, physical deeds, which still relies on them for their enforcement.

shamrock
shamrock

I can't help it, google "Where are self driving trucks in use" and you get some trials with licensed truck drivers behind the wheel "just in case" and a whole lot of future tense. New technology can take a long time to roll out.

FloydVanPeter
FloydVanPeter

Blockchain, the notion of decentralized ledger [of something], is a cool concept. That said, blockchain doesn't come free. It depends on broad adoption and commitment of the audience.

What usages would "rather" blockchain over certificate based systems (being mostly decentralized, potentially), or even simpler just have a central clearing system in place?

Curious-Cat
Curious-Cat

Maybe block chain can put an end to the title search scam where the bank requires a new search every time a property is sold with a mortgage.

CCR
CCR

Been feeling the same about Gold and gold miners the past 3 years.

thimk
thimk

Block chain is used in the name of a nascent startup company to increase its valuation. /sarc

Mish
Mish

Editor

"I can't help it, google "Where are self driving trucks in use" and you get some trials with licensed truck drivers behind the wheel "just in case" and a whole lot of future tense. New technology can take a long time to roll out."

I can't help but google at idiotic comments like that when I gave a timeframe and it is still on schedule

Dcx
Dcx

Diamond Offshore say they're using it

themonosynaptic
themonosynaptic

Scroll to the bottom and you'll see some business processes and customers' use of blockchain:

JonSellers
JonSellers

"That said, I do believe blockchain has a future. It seems perfect for low-volume, high-value transactions such as mortgages, deeds, loan agreements, etc."

Using blockchain technology is extremely expensive. So it will only find a home where lower-cost, non-blockchain solutions do not exist. Low cost solutions already exist for each of the above.

Blockchain requires crypto-coins as a source of income to ledger writers. As long as the coins have no value, blockchains can't be a solution. And having a different coin for each solution is a disaster.

Roger_Ramjet
Roger_Ramjet

Well, apparently it is vital in the production of long island ice tea. Or at least good for a temporary doubling in one's (LBCC) stock price.

justsomeguy
justsomeguy

Hi Mish, just curious when you say you see potential use for Blockchain for deeds and mortgages, why would blockchain work better than the current system?

frozeninthenorth
frozeninthenorth

Blockchain remains a solution looking for a problem. Conceptually its a great idea, but so far there are big issues such as transaction costs that make "real blockchain" a future dream. It remains an interesting technology. However, let's not forget how it has been used so far by companies far and wide: Hype! You added cryptocurrency and blockchain to any press release and presto -- you got 10x the coverage you would get otherwise. I know "salesguys" who literally reviewed client documents and added "security provided by blockchain -- not having a clue what they were talking about (or care for that matter)

Axiom7
Axiom7

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

The tropes about “high cost, slow transaction time” are being solved by protocols like Lightning to settle small transactions off the main chain.

Real development of apps to solve use-cases effectively started in 2018 with the bubble and we are in early 2019. Dev takes time.

A better study would be the number of FTEs of devs working on Blockchain app dev.

thimk
thimk

ya we had a name for it during the big iron centralized processing days: "vaporware"

FloydVanPeter
FloydVanPeter

What real life problem (that enough people care about) does blockchain solve?

KidHorn
KidHorn

I wonder what pct of investors understand what bitcoin or blockchain is, I would guess < 10%. All I need to know it's a bubble.

ManAboutDallas
ManAboutDallas

Blockchain was, is, and always will be yet another incarnation of "The Emperor's New Clothes". And somewhere, Hans Christian Andersen is laughing hysterically, assisted ably by P.T. Barnum, George Santayana, Lewis Carroll, and Franz Kafka.

opossum
opossum

What about OSTK and tZero?

Mario265
Mario265

It has been successfully implemented by organized crime


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