Omnitude: Blockchain Adoption from Underutilised to Over-Engineered

Omnitude provides middleware to blockchains, hence Ben Bennett, Omnitude COO is in the unique position to observe the interaction of all layers in the distributed networks. Digital Asset Live Editor-in-Chief talked to Ben Bennett about currents trends in blockchain adoption and what we may observe in the near and in the not so near future.

Q1: 2019 saw blockchain adoption by large corporations, that is ten years after the famous whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto. Why do you think it has taken a decade, do you think the adoption will go quicker from now on? 

A1: In the context of evolution, ten years is no time at all. The Bitcoin blockchain landed and I am sure has been the seed of innovation for many new use cases for blockchain technology (with or without Bitcoin).

The speed at which large corporations/enterprise clients are adopting blockchain is actually very quick, its only for the fact that we hear about these new ‘exciting’ use cases through PR announcements, that we feel it’s only being used by the established tech giants.

Far more companies are experimenting and using blockchain technology than we are currently aware of, and lots of these companies do not feel the urge to shout about, what could be their next competitive advantage, in order to maintain their edge.

Without a doubt, the more case studies that are communicated, the more companies that prove the technology’s worth, the more apparent the benefits of the technology become, the quicker it will be adopted.

User adoption and corporate adoption won’t be too dissimilar, and it all comes back to Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggards.

Q2: Do you believe that the hype in cryptocurrencies is passing? If so, why? Is it because they did not deliver upon their promises, human greed to “hodl” and not to spend, or the issue is absence of pegging/backing by real life assets? 

A2: There is of course a place for cryptocurrencies, and there can be no denying that the wild west of ICOs brought the cryptocurrency and blockchain world into the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. This is a fantastic thing, however, the need for these ‘currencies’ to be used for anything more than funding start-ups is starting to be questioned, and rightly so.

Tokenization of some blockchain networks is necessary. The ability to offer reward and incentivisation is also a wonderful use case. The idea of a global currency is probably a long way off, but I think it fundamentally comes down to trust. Who is minting them? What are they used for? Who is using them? What is the point?

Some coins and tokens will remain, and others will fall away due to irrelevance. The technology that underpins it all, will however stand the test of time.

Q3: In your opinion, what are the main areas of blockchain adoption? How would you define the current trends in adoption? 

A3: At Omnitude we believe that emerging technology that is difficult to adopt or experience is not democratic and stifles innovation. We intend to change that.

The platform brings emerging technology to progressive enterprises that put customer needs at the heart of their business.

For us, it’s about enabling companies to create and innovate themselves by using our technologies so that they don’t have to start from the ground up.

They can do what they do best, while we will do what we do best.

Current trends we believe are around the most obvious aspects of the technology, creating trusted networks within systems that are short on trust. 

Supply Chains have always been the bullseye for blockchain outside of the obvious trends in finance. When you understand that having a trusted network can bring positives into complex and broad chains, helping prove provenance, sustainability, and safeguarding quality of materials and manufacture, then automation of these chains can bring huge benefits to organisations and individuals alike. We are seeing a lot of industry interest across many verticals that have these issues within their organisations.

Life Sciences… if ever there was a nail for blockchain’s hammer it is the security of patient and clinical trials/results data. We are seeing traction in this area around the obvious advantages that systems that can offer with trust and truth written immutably to the chain alongside critical data around date and time and clinical equipment used, monitoring all aspects of the process.

Identity is also a hot topic, not only from an individuals’ point of view but also where you can see identity applied to organisations, users and devices, all of which will be critical in ensuring the world of IoT can grow alongside the development of other emerging technologies. 

When you start to understand the value of data, it’s security, storage and trusted transmission underpin a large section of current business concerns these trends start to become industry agnostic and become a broader trend of corporate and individual security and responsibility. It’s a well- travelled phrase but you could perhaps place these all within “The Trust Economy”.

Q4: What are the main current issues in blockchain adoption? Is it interoperability issues, organizational hurdles, absence of ideas, lack of developers? 

A4: Interoperability is such a hot topic in the blockchain space, and at Omnitude we have found a way to make sure that companies are innovating for themselves, and not then locking themselves out of any broader opportunities by being ‘boxed in’ to their own solution that can’t be accessed or used by any third party or partner.

Consortiums are being established more and more to tackle industry problems, and while collaboration is exciting, it does cause a few issues around future market control and, in my opinion, it stifles innovation somewhat through the lack of competition.

We can always work with more developers; we do need more! And we can always utilise new ideas. I don’t think we have reached the point of idea exhaustion just yet, but we are already at a point where a lot of companies aren’t prepared to innovate internally, and as such, they will need to wait until mainstream blockchain solutions are widely and easily available.

Q5: On the lack of developers, I am about to launch a Jobs section. Hence my question, how do your members find blockchain developers? 

A6: At Omnitude we have used all traditional job boards, recruitment consultants and other candidate attraction methods, but the best route for us, to date, are platforms like Upwork. Once we end up working with developers, they see what our project is about and want to join us in a more official capacity.

Q7: Judging upon the trends above, how many blockchain standards do you we will end up with? 

A7: In the short and medium term, not enough.

Q8: Please describe the blockchain ecosystem in short term (1-3 years), mid-term (3-5 years), long term (5-10 years) 

1-3 Years. Exciting. Innovative. Volatile. Underutilised.

3-5 Years. Comfortable. Creative. Driven. Evidenced.

5-10 Years. Widely adopted. Standardised. Over-engineered.