Despite the hype, there is a case to be made that CIOs and other IT leaders do not need to know about blockchain technology. It is so new, so slow and so deeply unhelpful for many business processes that that one CIO described it as “a joke.” And when it does eventually arrive, it will largely operate behind the scenes and be run by third-party suppliers, meaning there will be no real need to understand the different flavors of technology at work.
Even so, it is always useful to have an understanding of the broader market to provide context on what all this might mean down the road. This is, after all, an emerging technology – it is both over played and misunderstood – but it is still likely to have an important impact on business. And despite the usual emphasis on western players, there are Chinese equivalents popping up that don’t get as much attention.
What is the Chinese blockchain?
Broadly speaking, the majority of conversations around blockchain tend to focus on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. But this is not the case in a business setting and makes the Chinese clampdown on ICOs largely irrelevant. In the west, most of blockchain’s potential revolves around the smart contracting possibilities in Ethereum and new approaches to securing IoT through unique – 2.0 – players like IOTA. In China both Ethereum and IOTA already have fairly direct equivalents.
“Although NEO may beat Ethereum on some fronts – it may be seen as younger and shinier from a technology standpoint,” said Csilla Zsigri, senior analyst at 451 Research. “Ethereum is an established platform and NEO is unlikely to overtake it in western markets.
“However, NEO has the potential to establish itself as China’s platform or even as the platform of the east alongside OnChain (OnChain’s Decentralized Network Architecture targets Chinese businesses and government). Given this, NEO doesn’t necessarily have to compete with Ethereum.”