5 questions about blockchain technology
“Blockchain’s promise lies in its transparency and security, coupled with its potential to streamline and accelerate processes.”
Interview with Dirk Wittkopp
Vice President Germany Lab, IBM Deutschland Research & Development
Member of the acatech HORIZONS Blockchain project group
1. How did you first come across blockchain?
Blockchain was nothing new within the IT industry. It is already some years since my colleagues at IBM Research started taking a closer look at different aspects of the technology and exploring its business applications. In December 2015, a group of IT companies and banks established a nonprofit organisation called Hyperledger to promote innovations enabling open source blockchain technology.
2. What do you find interesting about blockchain technology?
Every few years, the IT sector comes up with a disruptive idea that changes the course not only of the IT industry but of other parts of our economy and society. Blockchain is one such idea. Blockchain’s promise lies in its transparency and security, coupled with its potential to streamline and accelerate processes.
3. What opportunities does blockchain have to offer?
Blockchain will redefine digital business transactions. It will make commerce and value chains faster, cheaper, more direct and more transparent. Ultimately, this will benefit not only the participants in a blockchain but also their customers and consumers in general.
4. What misconceptions do you typically encounter when discussing this topic?
Until one or two years ago, a lot of people thought blockchain was the same as Bitcoin, but that is much rarer nowadays. Today, a more common problem is the mismatch between people’s exaggerated expectations and the technology’s realistic applications.
5. What key points should the blockchain strategy announced by the Federal Government contain?
I should first of all say that the Federal Government has taken a positive and important step in recognising the high innovation potential of blockchain technology and including the development of a blockchain strategy in the coalition agreement. It will now be important to create appropriate and coherent conditions that allow all the different possibilities offered by this cross-cutting technology to be tested and, where relevant, implemented. Failure to do so would lead to the risk of blockchain only being used to a limited extent or in parallel with existing processes, meaning that it would never be more than a niche technology.
Interview series „5 questions about blockchain technology“