Blockchain is growing closer to the mainstream everyday, as even mainstream news outlets regularly talk about the technology and its applications.
However, the technology still struggles to find its place in many industries due to lack of standards, a shortage of qualified experts and other issues. In this innovative field, many startups are stepping up to the plate to help deliver solutions that can work in the real world.
Blockchain Tech News spoke with Tal Kol, co-founder of Orbs, a hybrid blockchain provider, to learn how startups are improving the technology and tackling challenges such as polarization, lack of standards and lack of infrastructure.
Q. What is holding back mainstream blockchain adoption?
A. The industry as a whole suffers from a problem of extreme polarization that limits usage. On the one hand, apps that can break through are, optimistically, three to five years away.
On the other hand, the technology available to large companies is very limited — essentially forcing them to choose between private chains and total decentralization.
Neither of these are good, as private chains are only nominally leveraging blockchain’s true benefits while fully decentralized options don’t align with real corporate business goals.
What makes the situation so frustrating is that this strange dichotomy doesn’t need to exist. By focusing on the core of what a public blockchain is, we can actually enable large scale companies to dive in tomorrow. This turns usage from a far-off dream, to an immediate reality.
Q. How are startups helping big companies develop solutions?
A. The benefits of startups are well known: They’re scrappy, innovative, fast, and can tailor their own solutions to best support the enterprises that they work with. That’s why they’re the perfect entities to help long-established enterprises build and implement blockchain-enabled solutions.
Startups can more easily develop problem-focused applications and solutions that larger businesses can integrate into their blockchain offerings when they’re ready. This allows infrastructure to focus on being an exceptional infrastructure and solutions to focus on solving more specific challenges.
Q. How is gap between possibilities and real solutions being bridged?
A. There are a few key things that are beginning to happen. Infrastructure is beginning to address real-world requirements with elements like predictable fee structures and polyglot coding. This is critical because now startups can focus their attention on solving real needs as opposed to trying to build around faulty infrastructure.
The second piece is that large-scale corporations are coming to the conclusion that, to actually gain value from blockchain, they need to go public.
This is a critical turning point because it means that the value of creating a requirement-driven, public blockchain becomes self-evident and a real differentiator.
Finally, there is a growing realization of the overlap between blockchain and the open source code movement. The idea of transparency, auditability and forkability in code finds its predecessor in the open source movement, and these same individuals recognize blockchain as the natural evolution.
This is an enormous opportunity, because it simultaneously opens the technology up to a community of millions of developers while also demonstrating a corporate precedent. It is the necessary bottom-up to the top-down of blockchain implementations in top tier corporations.
Q. How are startups simplifying blockchain?
A. Startups are taking the guesswork out of blockchain. Knowing that, for many of the startups in the space, their sole purpose is deeply understanding, refining and building out their own blockchain solutions, they’re able to bring that expertise to the enterprises and large organizations that they work with.
Through simplifying the development and implementation of private and public blockchain technology, it brings mainstream adoption that much closer.
Q. What do you see as the future of blockchain startups?
A. The first step was to focus on creating an infrastructure that a startup can use to build something really valuable.
The next stage is working directly with startups and developers to help drive education and accessibility to the benefits of the technology. The innovation is going to come from here, both at new startups and internally at large companies.