Majority of business blockchain tools ‘obsolete’ by 2021

An ‘overestimation’ of blockchain’s current capabilities could see investments misplaced.
14 June 2019

GPUs are a vital component for mining computers. Source: Shutterstock

Product managers implementing tools from business blockchain vendors should brace for “early obsolescence”, thanks to a market that remains fragmented and poorly defined.

According to Gartner, 90 percent of enterprise blockchain platform implementations will require replacement within 18 months to remain competitive, secure and avoid becoming obsolete.

“Blockchain platforms are emerging platforms and, at this point, nearly indistinguishable in some cases from core blockchain technology,” said Adrian Lee, senior research director at Gartner.

“Many CIOs overestimate the capabilities and short-term benefits of blockchain as a technology to help them achieve their business goals, thus creating unrealistic expectations when assessing offerings from blockchain platform vendors and service providers.”

The blockchain platform market is composed of fragmented offerings that often overlap, says Gartner, or are being used in a complementary fashion, making technology choices confusing for IT decision makers.

“Compounding this challenge is the fact that blockchain platform vendors typically use messaging that does not link to a target buyer’s use cases and business benefits,” said Lee.

“For example, ‘transactions’ was the term mentioned the most in relation to blockchain, followed by ‘secure’ and ‘security.’

“While these may be functions of blockchain-enabling technology, buyers are still confused as to how these functions are achieved or what benefits blockchain adds compared to their existing processes.”

As interest in business blockchain technology increases, the number of blockchain platform vendors continues to increase.

However, Lee said that due to a lack of an industry consensus on product concept, feature set, and core application requirements, he does not expect there to be a single dominant blockchain platform within the next five years.

“Instead, we expect a multiplatform world to emerge.”

Gartner predicts that blockchain still holds a huge promise in business applications. By 2025, it expects business value added by the technology to grow to more than US$176 billion, then surge to exceed US$3.1 trillion by 2030.

“Product managers should prepare for rapid evolution, early obsolescence, a shifting competitive landscape, future consolidation of offerings and the potential failure of early-stage tech,” said Lee.