Unblocked: 20 Minutes Into The Future, Part 5
Part 4 described how Blockchain will be used in the wine industry to guarantee wine quality, safety and origins. In this final Part 5 of Unblocked, it’s time to imagine what the future of Blockchain and Wine will be.
The road ahead
This is what the road ahead looks like right now. It’s no more than a gravel track through the vines!
So what is the future? Amara’s Law, also called the “hype cycle” says that:
“We tend to overestimate the effect of technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run”.
In 2017 alone there were 285 Blockchain ICO’s (initial coin offerings) across all industries worldwide. Then add to that many new start-ups not yet at ICO level and the developments being undertaken in big companies.
Meanwhile, the value of Bitcoin hit ever-higher records, suggesting the creation of a dangerous high-risk Investment Bubble.
In my opinion, that bubble will burst, and many people will get burnt fingers from “CryptoInvestments”. Consequently, there’ll also be an inevitable media backlash, disillusionment and a failure of some developments. Not everyone will succeed.
As a result, that will just be history repeating itself. Remember the dotcom boom and bust? At that point, we’ll know we are beyond the point of “peak hype”.
Blockchain technology, despite the money and hype, is still in its infancy with just a few pioneers. Blockchain applications WILL ONLY succeed where and when it has a “Killer Application”.
Hence the wine sector has that Killer App; in guaranteeing wine origins, quality and safety it reduces fraud and potentially saves money. It’s more efficient and inspires consumer trust. These are significant commercial advantages, whatever the size you are and whatever type of wine you make.
There are remaining technical challenges ahead too. These include how to scale-up Blockchains, how to make them interoperable, and how to develop the Internet of Things. All these components need to be in place for widespread adoption. Blockchains will also adopt architectures that do not consume vast amounts of electricity in “mining” and have much faster transaction speeds. These tech fixes will happen.
Readymade Blockchain Platforms will soon emerge as service platforms (BaSS – Blockchain as a service). I think that most wine businesses will join those, few are big enough to spend millions making their own!
Given this, I think scaled-up Blockchain platforms with proven cost-reduction and distribution capability will be here within five years. Once the building blocks are all in place, businesses will start to migrate to Blockchain solutions. Not just wine; think olive oil, food, and luxury goods.
By then, the road ahead won’t be a gravel track; it’ll be an Autostrada. Gradually, Blockchained wines will become the default.
Is this fanciful? Ten years ago, the first iPhone had just come out and internet e-commerce had hardly started. SatNavs were still a novelty. Can you even remember a time you didn’t Google? Where was social media? We take all of these for granted these days.
Big Names are in it to win it
Note that there are some big names as well as “start-ups”. They’re not going to sit back and watch their market dominance slip away, are they? And they have deep pockets and expertise. These include the big four professional services firms (EY, Deloitte’s, PwC, and KPMG) providing consultancy services. Then there’s the likes of IBM, Microsoft, Maersk, Nestlé, Walmart, Tencent and Alibaba. There are many more.
However, the most significant challenge to face right now isn’t technical at all.
That challenge is about demystifying the Blockchain, communicating its uses and the benefits of adoption. We need to promote understanding and bring wine consumers, wine businesses and the tech community together.
I feel privileged that this has been my job today!
The Final Word
At this time, relatively few consumers or wine businesses know what the Blockchain is, or still confuse it with Bitcoin. Even fewer people have yet realised how Blockchain can guarantee wine origins, quality and safety and so increase consumer trust. Even in the tech community.
Hence, now I hope you know a little more, and are feeling Unblocked! Sbloccato? You’re now ahead of the curve. Blockchain means that the wine revolution will not be centralised. Welcome to the future.
Oh, guess what? I know of some more uses for Blockchain in the Wine Industry too. More about those are yet to come.