The bitcoin (BTC) vs. blockchain debate is almost as old as BTC itself. For years now, bitcoin maximalists have argued that blockchain without a cryptocurrency is mostly a slow database, while blockchain advocates have argued that bitcoin only scratches the surface of what decentralized ledgers can do.
Which side is right? Well, speaking to experts on both sides of the debate (and in the middle), it would seem that both arguments have something going for them.
Yes, blockchain without bitcoin is yet to find a truly killer application. But with a large number of startups and companies working on novel applications of blockchains in lucrative areas, it could very well be only a matter of time before that all changes.
Summarizing the key arguments of the Bitcoin side of the debate, a spokesperson for HDR Global Trading (the owners of BitMEX) tells Cryptonews.com that blockchains are too cumbersome for most non-cryptocurrency uses.
The spokesperson says,
“Decentralised ledger technology such as blockchain requires every node to have a full copy of the database, and to verify every transaction under consensus rules. This is a complicated data structure which is slow, inefficient and resource-intensive to process.”
In fact, HDR that most people “simply wouldn’t choose blockchain for the majority of conventional applications.” While advocates have championed the resilience and redundancy benefits of blockchains or distributed ledgers, HDR’s spokesperson claims that such advantages “can be achieved through a SQL database.”
Of course, not everyone within crypto takes such an unforgiving view of blockchain and decentralized ledger technology (DLT).
“We are already seeing multiple scenarios in which businesses and governments are utilizing distributed ledger technologies in a variety of processes,” says eToro’s chief blockchain scientist Dr Omri Ross, who also suggests that blockchain will enjoy wider adoption before Bitcoin and other private decentralized cryptocurrencies.
Likewise, Ross believes that Bitcoin may struggle to have a significant impact on the finance industry and beyond.
“For Bitcoin to impact the payments industry, it will need to either achieve scalability or fulfil the role of ‘digital gold.’ Payment in bitcoin still seems a bit far-fetched without secure AML-compliant and scalable solutions, but great teams are working on trying to make that happen.”
On the other hand, Ross predicts that the broad impact of crypto-assets in general “will be a reduction of dependencies in the global transmission of funds and access to financial services to anyone with access to an internet connection.”
This is a view echoed by Graeme Moore, the head of tokenization at Polymath, which has developed a platform for issuing and investing in tokenized securities.
He tells Cryptonews.com,
“We believe that every financial security on Earth will become a…