Blockchain: Real-world challenges

From the early days when internet networks started to replace and improve traditional communication and exchange channels, new technology breakthroughs have always captured the public’s attention, even at times when it wasn’t yet ready for mainstream consumption. Just like the development of the Internet, blockchain is still looking for strong support outside of early adopters. In the beginning and mid-1990s, the Internet was still very much a curiosity. The fast mass adoption was restrained by slow connection speeds and disparate protocols that often made browsing the Web, for any user that lacked advanced skills, a very frustrating task. The history repeats itself and we feel that blockchain is at the same stage of development. In this article we will try to identify the main challenges this emerging technology faces in order to become the status quo of a decentralized world.

Despite the significant global interest manifested, a number of factors are still affecting the pace of adoption:

• The reputation of cryptocurrencies are affecting blockchain investment decisions

Since its launch, Bitcoin has long been associated with the black market and the dark web. This is the first notorious interaction of the public with blockchain technology therefore this connection has continued with bitcoin, altcoins, and the tech behind it as well. While these activities are illegal, they are a result of people’s actions and can be carried out with fiat currency too. Today, cryptocurrencies have very little use in the black markets, however, for blockchain technology to be accepted by the public, it must shake off this unfair association.

• Slow progress on the development of the necessary regulatory frameworks, legislation, and industry standards

While regulations are often frowned upon by those who have spent some time in the blockchain space, they are a necessary part of the evolution of the technology. From the SEC in U.S. to the Chinese government’s hard clampdown on ICOs to Malta and Switzerland competing to be the premier destination for fintech and blockchain, different nations have taken widely different views on how to regulate, tax or support blockchain startups. The different approaches by governments and regulators have created ‘cryptocurrency havens’, as nations try to attract fintech and blockchain projects to their land with the hope of occupying a pole position in this financial revolution. We think that nations like China who try to discourage and scare away as many blockchain projects as they can, may regret their decisions or they have a hidden agenda. While actions are taken for further development in locations, such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland, our homebase, it is also clear that there is more to accomplish to accelerate blockchain adoption over the next two to three years.

• A lack of available talent with blockchain expertise

The demand for blockchain engineers is skyrocketing. Emerging blockchain projects find it hard to hire professionals with the right skill sets. While cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology projects are obviously in need of professional blockchain engineers, non-blockchain companies are also in search of experienced blockchain talent. A recent Deloitte reportrevealed the lack of experienced blockchain labor was a major barrier for many companies that had interest in applying or testing this technology on their business model. But the answer might come from traditional universities. Coinbase has just published a study that has revealed the growing levels of interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies at the academic level. The study shows a total of 172 courses related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies are offered by the top 50 universities.

  • Cornell University has the highest number of classes related to cryptography, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology with an amazing 28 courses for students to choose from. Subjects like “Anthropology of Money” and “Introduction to Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies, and Smart Contracts,” are appearing among others on the courses list.
  • Stanford University launched a Center for Blockchain Research. The center is designed to bring together curious students from various departments in the school. The center will focus on research on many aspects of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

“If you’re an expert in cryptocurrencies and cryptography you’ll have a difficult time not finding a job.”
Benedikt Bünz, Stanford University doctoral student

Campbell Harvey, professor of International Business at Duke University explains:

“If you’re graduating from law school it’s a tough market these days. However, the law students that are trained in blockchain, they don’t need to apply anywhere. People are just asking them to join their firms. (..) You need to prepare your students for the future, blockchain is not going away.”

If you want to learn more about crypto but you’re not currently enrolled at a university, the internet offers many advanced options. Udemy, Coursera, edX and Udacity are one of the big online learning sites that offer hundreds of lessons and courses on the matter. From general information to foundational cryptography to even more specialized classes on blockchain and cryptocurrency, there are plenty of sources that “students” can access with just an internet connection. Still the best way to understand blockchain technology is to work directly with a project that you find exciting. Startups are now directly funding those who have an interest in blockchain programming because of the crippling skill shortage in this space. Even though the average salary of a blockchain engineer in Silicon Valley is $158,000, programmers who have experience in Solidity (language for creating smart contracts) is in short supply and high demand.

The study made by Coinbase indicates that students showcased higher levels of interest in blockchain technology than the general population. This should not come as a surprise since 18% of students said they own (or have owned) cryptocurrency. This is twice the rate of the general population. Evenmore 17% of the students said they considered their knowledge of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to be above average. This is almost double that of the general population which came in at 9%. The report also states that 9% of students have opted for a blockchain-related course, while 26% would like to do it in the future. The majority of the students who have interest in blockchain courses are studying Computer science, however, interest is spread across all majors. 17% came from the Computer science and Engineering faculties, 15% were Economics and Math majors while 11% come from Business majors. Only 5% of Social science majors have taken a course with blockchain in the title.

We already know that the global interest in blockchain technology is growing. Notable brands are filing for blockchain patents in huge numbers. We think blockchain technology, like any other disruptive tool, will overcome all the small challenges it faces today and in the near future. Seeing the universities preparing students for a blockchain world is clearly a huge step towards this. For technologies of such complexity and potential to succeed, support and patience is needed. We believe that small steps that are happening behind the scenes will be the true catalyst of this huge movement. Our vision here at Pool of Stake is to create an innovative way for the crypto community to earn passive rewards constantly. Our main goal is to increase the profits for small coin holders by enabling a trusted environment to stake funds together. Be part of our decentralized pool and secure your PSK tokens now!