Blockchain Does Not Always Live Up To Hype, Says World Bank Official

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Contrary to the belief of the nascent blockchain industry and that of the present buzz around the technology, blockchain is not the solution to all problems according to a World Bank official at the 20th Annual Conference on Land and Poverty, as reported by Reuters, March 27, 2019.

Talking Points

No single technology is universally accepted and as such, blockchain and cryptocurrency have been subject to criticism, from those who are simply cautious about it to those who outright think it is the perfect tool for fraudulent activity.

The latest criticism directed towards blockchain came from the World Bank and had to do with blockchain’s role in land rights and was reported on March 27, 2019.

During the recent 20th Annual Conference on Land and Poverty in Washington, D.C., Aanchal Anand, a Land Administration Specialist in the bank’s Global Land and Geospatial Unit, spoke about the current interest surrounding blockchain in the land sector.

Don’t Believe the Hype

While Anand didn’t outright refer to blockchain as a fad, she did caution against jumping on the bandwagon and suggested that newer technology might not always be the best for problem-solving.

“Tech can look big and flashy, and like it can solve all our problems … but the Big Mac burger never matches up to the one in the ad,” 

Adding,

“Sometimes we get lost in the fancy things, but basic tech can deliver the results.”

There have in recent times been a number of projects that make use of blockchain for land management purposes such as Overstock’s land registration project.

She was not the only one who expressed such sentiments as Tim Robustelli, a program assistant for New America, who at the same conference noted that the hype around blockchain touts it as the solution to all problems which is false. For example, he rather cynically said that blockchain cannot offer any solutions for incomplete data or sloppy work.

One Size Fits All?

The main takeaway from both statements is that while blockchain does have a wide spectrum of uses, it is unrealistic to expect it to solve everything and instead, there needs to be a focus on how it can improve existing systems and not cure broke ones.

However, because blockchain is a newly emerging technology, there is a significant amount experimentation taking place and as the industry matures, the genuinely valuable applications will stand the test of time and the ‘Big Mac’ adverts inevitably fall by the wayside.

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