Public Blockchain Success Starts With Enterprise Blockchain

Blockchain, Opinion | March 20, 2019 By:

For all of the talk of a Crypto Winter, it’s still easy to see that blockchain is hot. Developers are flocking, investment dollars are pouring in and talk of a disruption similar to the rise of the internet is frequently heard.

However, despite huge media interest and a $200 billion cryptocurrency market, usage of blockchain is practically negligible at the moment. There are only a few Ethereum dApps with more than 10,000 monthly active users (MAUs) and even bitcoin is used by no more than 12 million people globally.

At the same time, a lot is happening in the enterprise world. Though we are still some time away from core services running on blockchain, the space is buzzing with activity. In fact, 84 percent of global organizations are involved in blockchain in one way or another according to PWC. As a sign of the times, JPMorgan just announced their own foray into the enterprise blockchain space, with the launch of its internal cryptocurrency, “the JPM Coin.”  

Despite the crypto community largely treating it as a separate universe, this booming enterprise market is a great opportunity to push forward blockchain in general — and the development of public blockchains in particular. With large-scale public blockchains and dApps’s breakout optimistically still three to five years away, private and permissioned blockchains present an area where large-scale experimentation can take place today. Engagement of a large number of organizations and developers can build the experience and confidence for using public blockchains.

It also pushes us to reexamine the spectrum from private to public blockchains. There is a built in incentive for companies that test out private instances to move to public blockchains as the full value of the technology is only truly maximized as it becomes increasingly open and decentralized. So the focus on enabling a seamless transition presents a powerful opportunity for technologies that are strong enough to support the move.

Interestingly enough, this hypothesis is squarely rooted in the development of the internet. In the early 90’s, most corporations would not go anywhere near the public internet. However, they did start to invest heavily in corporate intranets with players like IBM and Microsoft battling for market dominance and standardization. For many companies, intranets were the first step into the internet world, and their growth heralded the arrival of online services, ecommerce, the cloud in the 2000’s and beyond.

Especially in the current climate, progress in the enterprise market makes a lot of sense. First, the market is huge and opportunities are abundant – enabling a unique ability to create a feedback loop and drive understanding of needs and opportunities. Second, it is far less influenced by the recent crypto downturn and bubble burst, whereas capital isn’t negatively impacted by the shrinking ICO market. Third, it presents a great opportunity for new blockchains to reach high usage numbers and TPSs, which would take much longer to achieve in the public space due to technological limitations and the current lack of accessibility for consumers.

While enterprise market is still in early stages the commitment being made to blockchain-based innovation is incredibly promising. Use cases are being tested in order to find ideal applications, and significant capital is being spent to understand how to maximize this powerful technology..

While challenges certainly exist, the enterprise market presents a unique opportunity to drive blockchain usage and technology forward at a faster pace, and bold organizations like JP Morgan, that tap this market early will gain an advantage in the long run for the moves they are making today.