Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said that the misapplication of blockchain technology in some industries leads to “wasted time” during an interview with a business news outlet that published the story on November 26.
Speaking at the Devcon4blockchain conference, the Ethereum co-founder said that even though there are a number of companies that try to establish higher standards by using blockchain technology, he does not think that the technology is applicable to every industry.
“Sometimes it is for marketing hype. Sometimes it is just people who are genuinely excited about blockchains and want the thing they are personally excited about and their job to align more with each other, which is a totally legitimate, human thing to want to do,” he said.
Buterin identified cryptocurrencies and cross-border payments as industries for which blockchain tech is most suitable. “All of the other ideas – whether we’re talking about products or the self-sovereign identity stuff – that’s clearly something that still needs much more time to be worked out before we can see [whether it] makes sense at scale.”
Buterin also noted that blockchains “definitely don’t provide 100 percent guarantees of things, especially in the real world,” also criticizing the proprietary nature of corporate blockchain projects from tech giants like IBM.
“I don’t understand this deeply, but the detail that jumped out at me is that they’re saying ‘hey, we own all the IP and this is basically our platform and you’re getting on it.’ And like, that’s…totally not the point…” he explained.
Buterin further talked about IBM’s blockchain for food tracking, which is created to provide confirmation about the products’ origin, stating that while the project has potential value, he is unsure of the company’s ability to execute it.
As for non-financial applications, Buterin said that he likes the idea of authentication of university degrees, which is being implemented in Singapore. The technology reportedly enables institutions to digitally issue education certificates on a blockchain.
Earlier in November, the Ministry of Education from Malaysia announced the establishment of a University Consortium to fight degree fraud using blockchain technology. The system is created to issue and verify the authenticity of university-issued degrees, while the group aims to “spread skills training,” as well as to develop and adopt the technology by students and academics.