On one hand, the most enthusiastic blockchain advocates say it’s going to be bigger than the internet. But on the other blockchain’s biggest critics say it’s a technology useless for anything but cryptocurrencies.

But maybe the answer lies somewhere in between.

Australian blockchain industry leaders are conceding it may not be as world changing as the internet and it still has a long way to go before it becomes more widespread.


Cryptocurrency crash alters approach

“We rely on the internet for almost everything, however not every transaction should be on the blockchain”, Karen Cohen, board member of Blockchain Australia and organiser of Women in Blockchain, told Stockhead.

“Mass adoption in Australia, is being hampered by a lack of investment in the startup community.

“There are some fantastic ideas but last year there were some controversial fundraising activities in the form of initial coin offerings (ICO’s), many blockchain companies raised and lost money, due to the cryptocurrency crash.

“The investment community is weary of blockchain projects, which is a shame but this also has forced them to be more diligent in their fundraising approach.”

Adrian Przelozny, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Independent Reserve, says blockchain “will not be bigger than the internet, but it will be ubiquitous”.

“Many industries are currently evaluating the benefits of blockchain for them and it will inevitably be a part of every day life in the future,” he said.

But the crypto bubble was not all bad news. Independent Reserve recently conducted a survey that showed more Australians owned bitcoin than hybrid cars.

“Many people forget that Bitcoin is the world’s most successful implementation of blockchain technology,” he said.

“Blockchain has the same impediments most new technologies experience — education about how it works and clarity around government regulations”.


Blockchain a multi-billion dollar add-on

Blockchain was projected by research and advisory firm Gartner to add $176 billion of global business value by 2025 and this would surge to $3.1 trillion by 2030.

Based on that forecast, it won’t be until the mid 2020s when blockchain will really take off.

Blockchain Australia’s Cohen told Stockhead the reason for that was its potential uses — most specifically the need for public records that can be trusted.

“For example, ownership of property, there are some countries where you could buy a piece of land and the record can be altered or changed by a third party and you can never prove that you owned that land,” she said.

“With blockchain technology, the transaction is recorded and verified in multiple locations, so one party cannot simply change the original record.”


No need for banks

“In my opinion, blockchain will have two major uses in the future: one will be the way we move currency around the world and the other will be how we approach transactions for things like ID and product tracking (provenance),” Cohen said.

“Blockchain allows for quick and affordable transfers between countries and individuals. You don’t need to rely on a bank and you don’t have to use a third party.

“All you need is a mobile phone or a computer and funds can be transferred. This scares the banks and the governments and threatens the companies that make money on your transactions.”

Cohen says blockchain technology will disrupt banking systems in the future.

“I believe the future of many transactions will include a form of blockchain technology and consumers will know that the records are being recorded on a trusted blockchain,” she said.

“The question will be who will have the most secure, quick and easy to use blockchain technology?  There is a global race to develop these technologies”.