The Blockchain Train Is Leaving The Station. Should You Be On Board?

This article is part seven of ProgrammableWeb's series on Crytocurrency and Blockchain. In part six we looked at Hyperledger, a suite of agnostic tools for developers who are building Blockchain apps, regardless of the core blockchain layer.

Few trends exemplify the idea of FOMO -- Fear of Missing Out -- the way blockchain trends do. As blockchain based technologies and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin surpass $100 billion in market value, the burning question in the back of many minds is “do you want to be left behind?”  Then again, do you want to invest in something -- an existing crytpocurrency, a blockchain Platform, a new application, etc. -- right before perception or fallibility take it down? Is there some way to strike a balance between the immensely disruptive potential and the risk?

The answer is yes: You can find comfort in knowing that there are many ways to get started - to dip your toes in blockchain. That could mean many opportunities or many ways to lose money, or just to be aware of a growing and evolving market and to take more measured steps.

Adopt blockchain internally

Are you afraid of being disrupted entirely by a blockchain based startup?  It’s pretty early in the technology’s history to actually see this happen. Even Ripple, while being adopted by banks, hasn’t demonstrably overhauled the industry yet.  Nonetheless, never hesitate to innovate if you can generate more value and always be the first to disrupt your own business. It’s never a good idea to wait for someone else to do it for you.

In enterprise software, Salesforce acknowledged that they’re working on blockchain technology. They aren’t preparing to replace any existing products or technology with blockchain, but are investing in it as a “labs” project.

Consumer chat service Kik made a deeper investment, launching its own cryptocurrency. Using Ethereum as its core, this wasn’t just about raising an ICO, but providing a Framework for developers of apps on Kik to monetize.

Start working with bitcoin

Working in eCommerce? You may want to look at blockchain for the currency you support! In 2017 many popular businesses, including Overstock, Steam, and Microsoft began accepting Bitcoin as currency for product purchases.  

In addition, some Fintech companies that aren’t built on blockchain began testing the waters with Bitcoin, adding the technology as a payment option.  

However, with the volatility in the space, and the price of Bitcoin dropping from $20,000 to less than $7,000, many businesses were spooked and dropped their support. Stripe abandoned Bitcoin, citing that it isn’t currently supported as an accepted form of payment on its network.

Start adopting other blockchain technologies

Rather than replace your internal software with blockchain technology, you can start by signing up with other blockchain services.  Banks, for example, are trying a highly performant blockchain technology known as Ripple in an attempt to operate more efficiently. Many banks are also reported to be working with Chain.

As the space is young, only a handful of blockchain companies getting the attention and in some cases, adoption by larger enterprises.  Keep a lookout in 2019 to see what achieves product-market fit.

Be sure to read the next Blockchain article: Squarelink Access Tool for Blockchain Apps and API have Launched