| Internet

The state of Blockchain and NFTs

In 2021 I have taken a deep look at the #blockchain, #nfts and their potential use cases, especially in event ticketing. I have talked to many experts, I have written code in Solidity. I have considered and rejected many ideas. Here are my current conclusions:

  • I see three viable blockchain use cases:

· Running a non-regulated currency, like Bitcoins.
· Time-based proof storage (like for inventions).
· Tradeable digital objects, but without any guarantee for uniqueness. Therefore more suitable for fun than anything serious.

  • In all other cases that I‘ve seen, what is claimed to be a benefit of a blockchain integration is actually a feature of full digitization, regardless the technology underneath.
  • As soon as you have a centralized entity which sets the rules and therefore requires trust (like an event organizer in event ticketing), a blockchain brings no benefits. All use cases can then be built with other tools – often much simpler, more flexible and even safer.
  • You cannot be a little bit decentralized, just as you cannot be a little bit pregnant. If users have to interact with a specific centralized gateway to make use of your otherwise blockchain-based workflow, the whole decentralization part becomes pointless.
  • You cannot have digital ownership without all its consequences - good and bad. Digital owners can do with their property whatever they want. Even if a smart contract avoids the transfer of a token (like an event ticket), a whole wallet can still be moved to another person.
  • Anything that requires a http web api to write to or read from a blockchain as its only point of access is not a blockchain protocol, but a centralized web service which happens to use the blockchain as its database.
  • Blockchain protocols can provide access points like http or ftp do. But building an actual service on top of them will still require a service provider. People use services, not technologies.

These are all ”strong opinions, weakly held“. I am more than happy to learn and understand where I am wrong.

Further reading:


This was originally posted as a Twitter thread – but all my tweets autodelete after 30 days, so it will likely be gone when you read this post.