Home / Blockchain / Limited scalability hampers blockchain’s adoption: “If blockchain is not scalable, it’s simply not suitable for widespread use”

Limited scalability hampers blockchain’s adoption: “If blockchain is not scalable, it’s simply not suitable for widespread use”

Interview with Dr. Byung Ik Ahn, CEO of Fantom Foundation

“Lack of real-world usability is the blockchain industry’s greatest hindrance”

JAXenter: If you were to summarize blockchain’s evolution so far, would you say it’s mostly negative or positive? Is this technology still plagued by scalability concerns and regulatory uncertainty or is it “on the road to recovery” from bad publicity and concerns?

Dr. Byung Ik Ahn: Blockchain still has a number of pain points to overcome, but the evolution of the technology itself should certainly be seen as positive. In many cases, public perception of blockchain is tied to the performance and popularity of cryptocurrency, and given the market’s extreme volatility, it’s understandable why blockchain often carries such a negative connotation.

However, if you look at blockchain’s relatively short history and compare it to that of the internet, wireless phones, or any other emerging technology, the progress that has already been made is incredible. Instead of looking at the current state of the industry and viewing it as “the road to recovery,” we should instead be looking at it as “the road to adoption.” Instead of fixating on negative publicity, the industry as a whole needs to refocus its attention on developing sophisticated technology that is suitable for mass adoption.

While blockchain projects and developers are often known for coming up with grand ideas, they have repeatedly struggled to move from ideation to implementation.

JAXenter: Would you say that blockchain is still struggling to move from ideation to implementation or are we in the midst of solving this problem?

Dr. Byung Ik Ahn: I think it’s fair to say that these are not mutually exclusive phases. In many ways, lack of real-world usability is the industry’s greatest hindrance, and while blockchain projects and developers are often known for coming up with grand ideas, they have repeatedly struggled to move from ideation to implementation.

However, blockchain has also made great strides towards solving this problem, with projects and solutions emerging every day to help make a decentralized world possible. It’s important to note that market penetration takes time, which can be observed when comparing blockchain to the Internet — mainstream adoption and acceptance of the Internet took nearly a decade before the Dot-com bubble. The blockchain industry may not be progressing as quickly as everyone would like it to be, but it is still marching forward.

JAXenter: What are the current drawbacks that hamper blockchain’s mainstream adoption?

Dr. Byung Ik Ahn: Deloitte recently released a report identifying five key areas for growth that could drive wider adoption of blockchain:

  1. transaction speeds;
  2. standards and interoperability;
  3. ease of implementation;
  4. regulatory advancements; and
  5. the creation of dedicated blockchain consortiums.

Each of these vectors addresses a major drawback of blockchain, but it largely comes down to limited scalability. Verifying blockchain transactions is often bogged down by time-consuming internal processes, such as mining, which means that transaction times are slow and the expectation and standards of blockchain technology are low.

If blockchain is not scalable, it’s simply not suitable for widespread use, and without strong use cases for blockchain, its necessity is quite limited.

JAXenter: What are the most common mistakes blockchain beginners make? What should be avoided when going down the blockchain path?

Dr. Byung Ik Ahn: One of the most common mistakes that blockchain beginners make is trying to use the technology in ways that are unnecessary. While blockchain’s usefulness is profound, it’s not the solution to everything — it cannot solve every problem across every industry in all parts of the world — and failing to understand this usually sets people up for failure.

Another common mistake that beginners make is generalization. Blockchain is a multifaceted industry, with markets all over the globe being distinctly different: what may work in Asia will be vastly different to what works in Europe, and to the US, and so on, so taking a one-size-fits-all approach to blockchain is almost always a mistake in judgment.

If blockchain is not scalable, it’s simply not suitable for widespread use, and without strong use cases for blockchain, its necessity is quite limited.

JAXenter: What are the potential solutions to blockchain’s growing pains?

Dr. Byung Ik Ahn: To tackle blockchain’s growing pains, Fantom has combined two potential solutions into one: smart contracts and Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) technology.

Smart contracts are lines of software code that can be stored on a blockchain, which can then digitally, and ideally automatically, execute tasks when predetermined terms and conditions are met. This can help improve and expand blockchain’s functionality by providing verifiable and trackable transaction history without the need for middlemen.

Simultaneously, Fantom has also opted to use DAGs in lieu of traditional blockchain technology. This “beyond blockchain” approach aims to create potentially infinite scalability by using a methodology that verifies and processes transactions asynchronously — and more importantly, it can do this without the need for miners. Crypto miners, who are needed in traditional blockchain models to approve transactions, are often the reason for bottleneck effects.

JAXenter: Could you tell us more about Fantom? What is it and how will it advance the overall blockchain industry?

Dr. Byung Ik Ahn: Based in South Korea, Fantom is the world’s first DAG-based smart contract platform for real-time cryptocurrency payments. In layman’s terms, this means that we have worked tirelessly to solve the scalability issue that has long plagued existing blockchains and have developed next-generation technology that is fast, efficient, and suitable for all real-time transactions across a variety of industries.

As the blockchain industry continues to evolve and mature, the next natural step for advancing the overall ecosystem will be adoption. Emerging projects need to start asking themselves: “Can customers actually use cryptocurrency? Can businesses actually cut costs by using our platform and this technology?” With Fantom, we believe the answer is yes, and we hope to both make it a real possibility for markets around the globe and play a leading role in inspiring other projects to do the same.

SEE ALSO: “If you make the right choices, blockchain will help you, otherwise it’s going to be a nightmare for you to manage”

JAXenter: What does the future hold for blockchain?

Dr. Byung Ik Ahn: Blockchain is undoubtedly one of the most transformative technologies of this decade, and although it remains largely in its infancy-stage, the industry has already matured so much in such a short period of time. That being said, one of the most exciting parts about working in blockchain, or beyond blockchain, is that we have still only just scratched the service in terms of the possibilities.

When used correctly, blockchain has the potential to revolutionize a number of industries, such as food-tech, telecommunications, traditional finance, electricity, energy, real estate, retail, payments, and more. But for this to happen, we need support from all sides – from government bodies to institutional giants. By fostering more open discussions, properly educating the next wave of developers, and identifying the right industries for implementation, the future of blockchain holds endless potential.

Thank you!


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