back to article Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don't call back when asked for evidence

Though Blockchain has been touted as the answer to everything, a study of 43 solutions advanced in the international development sector has found exactly no evidence of success. Three practitioners including erstwhile blockchain enthusiast John Burg, a Fellow at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), looked at …

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  1. Semtex451 Silver badge

    And as with the AI hype, tech journalists bear no responsibility whatsoever.

    Well not if they work for El Reg.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gold rush...

    History teaches them nothing - the only people who make money out of a gold rush are people selling shovels.

    1. Giovani Tapini

      Re: Gold rush...

      Lawyers make money too, never forget the lawyers.

      In this case they will be defending the entrepreneurs (snake oil salesmen) and the customers (the naïve)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gold rush...

      >History teaches them nothing - the only people who make money out of a gold rush are people selling shovels.

      11 million ounces were mined during the Gold Rush. A lot of people have got rich on crypto too - same with South Sea and Tulips - everyone focuses on the multitude who lose but forget that those losses do actually end up in someone's pocket.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Gold rush...

        In any "gold rush" an infinitesimal number of people become very rich, a small number of people become well off or rich, and the vast majority lose money. Most of those having come late to the party, whether it was after tulips or bitcoin had already doubled in value a couple dozen times, or after all the places with gold easily pannable from the stream had been claimed and picked clean.

        How do you know if you are "late to the party"? If you heard about it on the news, you are too late.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Gold rush...

          Years ago my mother-in-law became aware that gold prices were going through the roof. Her immediate response was to say that she wanted to buy some gold. I had to explain, very slowly and carefully to her that this was the time to not buy gold . She was meant to be the businesswoman. Probably explained why she didn't have a business any more.

      2. TCL

        Re: Gold rush...

        Love your comment ...History teaches them nothing - the only people who make money out of a gold rush are people selling shovels.

        magical. ...

    3. elDog Silver badge

      Re: Gold rush...

      My understanding is that the current pResident of the USofA grandfather came to make his money supplying the gold-diggers with stuff. (That's how Levi jeans got started, too.) Some of that stuff were allegedly people skilled in on-hand/whatever massages. The grandson (pResident) seems to like that personal approach, also.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: Gold rush...

        " pResident of the USofA grandfather came to make his money supplying the gold-diggers with stuff. " . Well, he didn't so much sell stuff as he sold sex slaves to loggers and gold miners for a few hours at a time. Then skipped town up to British Columbia once the authorities caught on to what he was doing, then when the Mounties caught on, he fled to Alaska, then got caught again and fled back to Germany where to dodge the draft, at which point he ran back to Queens, New York when the Gendarmes came for him.

    4. The Nazz Silver badge

      Re: Gold rush... John Sutter regrets.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttGmLC13p7s

      There again, if it hadn't have been Sutter it would have been someone else in due course.

      re Blockchain, at least the Aussies only spent $700,000 looking into it and pretty much ruling it ineffective for anything. Money which does end up in someone's pocket of course, but has pretty much come out of every taxpayers pocket.

  3. Persona

    Blockchains are a wonderful tool .....

    ...... for separating fools from their money.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Blockchains are a wonderful tool .....

      My technology is a block on the end of some chain. It's amazing for separating people from their cash. I call myself a blockchain consultant.

      After the block has hit you a few times, you soon let go of your wallet.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Blockchains are a wonderful tool .....

        "My technology is a block on the end of some chain. It's amazing for separating people from their cash. I call myself a blockchain consultant.

        After the block has hit you a few times, you soon let go of your wallet."

        You *imagine* it's like that, but in the real world, you'll build a million dollar cluster....... :-)

        [ Obvious link: https://xkcd.com/538/ ]

        1. ElectricRook

          Re: Blockchains are a wonderful tool .....

          The meme a few years ago was ... "imagine a bewolf cluster of those."

          But I didn't know what a bewolf cluster was though.

          1. elDog Silver badge

            Re: Blockchains are a wonderful tool .....

            A "bewolf" is a Riding Hood disguised.

            A "beowolf" has several meanings - one of which deals with clusters of processing/data nodes.

            However, I like your image of bewolves lurking in the dark forests....

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Blockchains are a wonderful tool .....

              You must mean this: beowulf-cluster.jpg :-)

            2. HandleAlreadyTaken

              Re: Blockchains are a wonderful tool .....

              >A "beowolf" has several meanings - one of which deals with clusters of processing/data nodes.

              You're thinking about a Beowulf cluster. A "beowolf" is a wolf designed by Bang & Olufsen. Very slim and stylish, but at a price above industry average.

              1. Insert sadsack pun here

                Re: Blockchains are a wonderful tool .....

                > A "beowolf" is a wolf designed by Bang & Olufsen. Very slim and stylish, but at a price above industry average.

                You're thinking about a beowolf cluster. A "Baiowolf" is a lupine fan of the early 1980s sitcom child star Scott Baio.

        2. Crazy Operations Guy

          Re: Blockchains are a wonderful tool .....

          Ah, good old fashioned rubber-hose cryptanalysis.

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Chain, yes, distributed, no

    I quite like the idea of using a blockchain to sign steps in a transaction but the distributed stuff is just a solution looking for a problem. You just need a trusted third party that holds the ledger / provides the service, like a clearing centre but one that is banned from conducting transactions on its own behalf. Where this is being done correctly we're seeing more competition for things like handling of payments. But this is about as newsworthy as introducing a new hashing algorithm.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chain, yes, distributed, no

      But that would cost money to implement/reduce profits. If you can distribute the compute on existing hardware and charge twice for doing half the work but plastering a buzzword on... then why not? ;)

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Chain, yes, distributed, no

        If you can distribute the compute on existing hardware and charge twice for doing half the work but plastering a buzzword on... then why not?

        I'm not sure you can due to the work of trying to wrap all the different transactions into a single chain. But maybe it's a cunning plan by the energy industry for more power plants?

        In any case, the idea that a distributed network of computers can guarantee the status of any one object – effectively truth – is a good example of the magical appeal of solutionism. As we're all, to a greater or lesser degree and in varying domains, open to such appeals, you can see that the market for bullshit is effectlvely endless and potentially very lucrative for those with sufficient self-control in front of the mark!

  5. Teiwaz Silver badge
    Joke

    Blockchain

    Will one day cure baldness, feed the hungry and bring about universal peace and harmony...

    ...or so a salesman told me.

    1. Andy Non

      Re: Blockchain

      I'll take 200, your cheque is in the post.

      1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

        Re: Blockchain

        "Will one day cure baldness, feed the hungry and bring about universal peace and harmony...

        ...or so a salesman told me."

        "I'll take 200, your cheque is in the post."

        I am a Nigerian prince. Due to the state of civil unrest in my home nation country, I am having trouble getting my blockchain out of the country and in to a Swiss...... er.... blockchain storeage facility. I have been assured that for the small sum of £50,000 they can help me transfer it and release all the wealth within! If you lend me this monies, I will give you half of what I get from it!

    2. Pangasinan Philippines

      Re: Blockchain Snake Oil

      Will one day cure baldness, feed the hungry and bring about universal peace and harmony

      No!

      Those ailments are already covered by Alkaline water.

      https://www.journalreview.org/enagic/

    3. the Jim bloke Bronze badge

      Re: Blockchain

      At this point we have almost cured peace and harmony, and are on track to implement universal baldness and hunger

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Nano nano

    Brexchain ....

    'Nuff said ...

  7. Christian Berger Silver badge

    There's a non filler talk on that topic

    https://ptrace.fefe.de/hype/#0

    Unfortunately it's in German, but Google Translate does an OK job on the slides.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: There's a non filler talk on that topic

      Thanks for the link. Not sure what a non-filler is but the slides are nicely done.

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: There's a non filler talk on that topic

        "Not sure what a non-filler is"

        Some sites have lots of articles without any useful content, those I call "filler articles". It seems like there are even whole conferences devoted to nothing but filler material designed to take up space and to make you look innovative even though it's extremely low on content.

        1. Pirate Dave
          Pirate

          Re: There's a non filler talk on that topic

          "It seems like there are even whole conferences devoted to nothing but filler material designed to take up space and to make you look innovative even though it's extremely low on content."

          So... "Management school" then.

        2. Caesarius

          Re: There's a non filler talk on that topic

          I remember the term "content-free" in these cases.

  8. Joseph Lord

    If you think a blockchain can solve your problem

    If you think a blockchain can solve your problem then you understand neither blockchains or your problem.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: If you think a blockchain can solve your problem

      What if your problem is that you need to find a way to separate fools from their money? Blockchains are very good at doing that.

  9. vtcodger Silver badge

    FWIW

    As of 1400Z this morning, the price of probably the best known (and most hyped) blockchain application -- Bitcoin -- was at $3984 -- down a bit from it's peak around $17900 in December of 2017. I'm told that there are those who think the market is seeking the stuff's true value which is very likely $0.

    One thing though. What are all the miscreants who have been devoting their energy to "mining" cryptocurrencies with other folk's resources going to switch their efforts to if the cryptocoin markets collapse? My guess would be something neither legal nor beneficial to society.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FWIW

      "One thing though. What are all the miscreants who have been devoting their energy to "mining" cryptocurrencies with other folk's resources going to switch their efforts to if the cryptocoin markets collapse? My guess would be something neither legal nor beneficial to society."

      As opposed to.....?

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: FWIW

        "mining" cryptocurrencies with other folk's resources

        They are already doing something that isn't legal or beneficial to society, so what's the difference? Most of them are using highly customized hardware that's only suitable for that purpose, so the fortunate answer is "nothing".

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: FWIW

          If they have access to large quantities of electricity and some big climate-controlled sheds, they could use them to grow cannabis. It is legal in some parts of the world, though probably not the places they are in at the moment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FWIW

      >Bitcoin -- was at $3984 -- down a bit from it's peak around $17900 in December of 2017.

      Possibly a good time to buy then :) - but definitely evidence that 100's of billions in fiat currency has been made by those who understand speculation.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: FWIW

        The latest spiel from bitcoin pushers is a claim that bitcoin has dropped 75% several times in the past, and that was always followed by a more than 10x jump in value. I don't know if that's true or not, but even if it is, it is pretty obvious that you can't depend on something like that to keep happening over and over again.

        1. Trixr

          Re: FWIW

          I don't know what graphs they're looking at, but honestly, you couldn't get a better representation of "downward trend" if you tried. (Check the "All" time period - peak was Dec 11 last year)

          https://www.worldcoinindex.com/coin/bitcoin

        2. Wiltshire

          Re: FWIW

          AKA "Dead Cat Bouncing on a bungee cord"?

    3. nagyeger
      Coat

      Re: FWIW

      I'm told that there are those who think the market is seeking the stuff's true value which is very likely $0.

      I'm looking forward to the time when owning bitcoin is taken as strong evidence of operating some kind of bot-net, selling something illegal or dining on the blood of polar bear cubs (or other global-warming victim), and thus the value in several sectors of society is negative.

      Then I can say 'told you so' as I get my coat.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: FWIW

      "What are all the miscreants who have been devoting their energy to "mining" cryptocurrencies with other folk's resources going to switch their efforts to"

      Selling used GPUs on eBay.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FWIW

      You do realize the price of bitcoin has bubbled and then lost 85-90% like 5 times already since bitcoin was introduced right? The vast majority of these "intelligent" (actually, not very) articles and comments are from people who heard about bitcoin within the past year when it was 20 grand, and now they are poo pooing and crying because it's lost 85% of the price since then. THIS IS THE 5TH (or 10th?) TIME THAT HAS HAPPENED. Buy the F dip.

      Sure it's easy to find 100 cryptocurrency "blockchain" get rich quick scams, and say it's entirely worthless and useless for everything, like this article has done, but that is not true. There are valid use cases for "blockchain" as all the idiot bandwagon is calling cryptocurrency these days, it just takes half a brain to figure out what they are. Most of these ideas are stupid and obvious scams, but that doesn't mean there aren't some great ones out there. Cryptocurrency isn't going away. If you believe all this negative news nonsense saying it's going to 0, you're just being played again like all the fools that believed it was going to go up forever and bought at 20 grand. Do the opposite of what you see in the news. Or, continue being a sheep.

    6. yourmom111

      Re: FWIW

      You do realize the price of bitcoin has bubbled and then lost 85-90% like 5 times already since bitcoin was introduced right? The vast majority of these "intelligent" (actually, not very) articles and comments are from people who heard about bitcoin within the past year when it was 20 grand, and now they are poo pooing and crying because it's lost 85% of the price since then. THIS IS THE 5TH (or 10th?) TIME THAT HAS HAPPENED. Buy the F dip.

      Sure it's easy to find 100 cryptocurrency "blockchain" get rich quick scams, and say it's entirely worthless and useless for everything, like this article has done, but that is not true. There are valid use cases for "blockchain" as all the idiot bandwagon is calling cryptocurrency these days, it just takes half a brain to figure out what they are. Most of these ideas are stupid and obvious scams, but that doesn't mean there aren't some great ones out there. Cryptocurrency isn't going away. If you believe all this negative news nonsense saying it's going to 0, you're just being played again like all the fools that believed it was going to go up forever and bought at 20 grand. Do the opposite of what you see in the news. Or, continue being a sheep.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: FWIW

        And there's a perfect example of one of the idiots who thinks because it has dropped and then jumped multiple times in the past it always will (or more likely he's mad at himself for holding onto it too long and needs greater fools to come along and bid the price up so he can dump his)

        There may be a use case for cryptocurrency, but there IS NOT FOR BITCOIN. Bitcoin is useless for transactions due to the high transaction cost, it is only useful for speculation (greater fool theory) and crime.

        Once its usefulness for crime is over, because cops start treating possession of bitcoin similar to possession of large amounts of cash as highly suspicious or simply because criminals move to a different cryptocurrency, then bitcoin's value will drop and keeping dropping until it reaches zero.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: FWIW

        "but that doesn't mean there aren't some great ones out there. Cryptocurrency isn't going away. If you believe all this negative news nonsense saying it's going to 0, you're just being played again like all the fools that believed it was going to go up forever and bought at 20 grand."

        Sure, there may well be use cases for blockchains, but does buying Bitcoin give you exposure to them?

        Anyone can write their own blockchain or fork an existing one, and many people have and the alternatives mostly address some of the problems that bitcoin has in terms of speed and scalability.

        Another thing. Isn't TfL's Oyster Card a cryptocurrency of sorts? It isn't stored on a blockchain obviously, but it has been very successful. If you had bought £5 of Oyster Credit in 2003, how much would it be worth now? The answer is, it would be worth £5. Buying a bitcoin is exactly the same as buying Oyster credit.

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