back to article Whoa, Gartner drops a truth bomb: Blockchain is overhyped and top IT bods don't want it

Blockchain is overhyped, CIOs aren't using it and many don't plan to either, according to the latest research from Gartner. In its annual survey of IT leaders, the analyst firm found that just 1 per cent are already using blockchain and only 8 per cent plan to experiment with it in the short term. In contrast, a third of the …

  1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "Blockchain is overhyped..."

    File under: 'No sh*t Einstein'

    Someday soon, all Blockchains will be 3D-printed, fusion-powered and self-driving.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: "Blockchain is overhyped..." Someday soon, all Blockchains will be 3D printed

      People who promote blockchain are basically a load of sea anchors.

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: "Blockchain is overhyped..."

      Obligatory Dilbert:

      http://dilbert.com/strip/2018-04-20

    3. Semtex451 Silver badge

      Re: "Blockchain is overhyped..."

      Almost as overhyped as Gartner

      1. tfewster Silver badge

        Re: "Blockchain is overhyped..."

        Hey, cut Gartner some slack - I think they're right on this (there's a first time for everything).

        1. Milton Silver badge

          "Almost as overhyped as Gartner"

          "Hey, cut Gartner some slack - I think they're right on this (there's a first time for everything)."

          Gartner seem to be making progress.

          Once upon a time they used to charge a lot of money to be wrong about things. They used beautiful charts and graphs and quadrants so that they were, at least, wrong with style.

          Then they started to charge a lot of money to use beautiful charts &c, &c, to be right about things, but in supremely irrelevant way, that constituted "information, but not knowledge"—because it was actually of no practical use to anyone.

          After a few years refining those deliverables they moved on to charging a lot of money for using beautiful charts, &c, to be right about things that were nonetheless manifestly bloody obvious—along with a side dish of untestably valueless predictions about the future which, fortunately, didn't waste people's time too much because they were often stale by the time you'd paid the sub and got the PDF ... the one with beautiful charts which actually conveyed nothing useful, but did it in a really gorgeous, convincing way.

          Now as a fully matured enterprise, Gartner has reached Full Irony and gone completely 'meta'. It uses "AI" (which doesn't exist) to compose articles (which no one reads) lambasting the hype of over-marketed new technologies (which all sentient techs knew already) to convince executives that they understand the tech landscape and its future even while continuing to make serially incompetent, obsessively short-sighted decisions and counter-productive policy.

          If you're not directly affected by it, this ridiculous spectacle is almost fun to watch.

          Gartner reports: A kind of vanity-wallpaper-cum-porn for executives whose ambitions so very easily exceed their abilities.

          1. Semtex451 Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: "Almost as overhyped as Gartner"

            Outstanding post Sir

          2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: "Almost as overhyped as Gartner"

            "Gartner reports: A kind of vanity-wallpaper-cum-porn for executives "

            The art of consultancy is to package the amazingly obvious in a well presented way so that the decision to act on it can be justified.

            This is because every board or group of shareholders has at least one person who refuses to face up to the totally obvious.

  2. Tom Melly

    XML

    Reminds me a bit of the XML craze a few years back, when it seemed that everyone was using it as a solution. One product I came across, which shall remain anonymous, used it in a db for storing data. The fields themselves didn't define what the data was; the xml wrapper around the data did that. Ran like a one-legged dog.

    That doesn't stop XML being a good solution to many problems; just not all problems... The blockchain will find its uses in time; for now, its fans need to calm the fuck down.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: XML

      I dunno, XML has a potential use in, say, config files. And who among us doens't interact with some kind of config file every week?

      Blockchains on the other hand, have a potential use in what exactly? The only general IT use I can think of is as part of an auditing system.

      1. K Silver badge

        Re: XML

        Agreed... sure as hell made a look more sense than YAML

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: XML

          I think I worked with the same Program Manager at some point. Our data was in a regular SQL database, but had to be converted to XML for transport to a reporting solution that then had to convert it back to a regular result set.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: XML

        XML is just a crappy implementation of a useful concept: a generic data serialization format. It's full of redundancy and ambiguity and security pitfalls. It owes its popularity to the HTML hype cycle from way back when the WWW was The Next Big Thing.

        Blockchain is actually a useful concept. It probably started with distributed version control. Programmers have been using Git for years now. While it has limitations and pitfalls, it enabled change control without central servers; that was a real paradigm shift. Private blockchains should be equally useful in business applications, so long as they respect the limitations.

        What gives the blockchain concept a bad name are the cryptocurrencies with their wasteful 'mining' pyramid schemes and willful ignorance of scaling limitations, the hype surrounding them, and all the ensuing misguided blockchain applications.

        1. GIRZiM Bronze badge
          Pint

          Re: XML

          @ troland

          The most sensible comment re blockchain I've seen anyone make anywhere to date - have a beer, Sir!

        2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: XML

          Blockchain is actually a useful concept.

          What gives the blockchain concept a bad name are the cryptocurrencies

          "Blockchain" uses concepts that have been around for decades and for which there has been more than enough time for someone to find uses for them. On top of that, the only thing that makes a blockchain a blockchain is the mining of tradeable tokens. Take those away and there's nothing new under the bonnet.

          1. GIRZiM Bronze badge

            Re: "Blockchain" uses concepts that have been around for decades

            Yes but, like so many things in life, its time has only now come and those of us who were trying to explain (if not actually evangelise) them decades previously can but wail and gnash our teeth in frustration at how ignorant everyone is - I gave up explaining what XML was really intended to be around 2001/2002, for instance, and just got on with sticking the appropriate headers in my XHTML conforming pages, never getting to use its power to structure unstructured data even once in five years.

            If it has taken until now for anyone to find a use for them that doesn't mean there is no use for them, merely that the vast majority of the world's population is slow on the uptake. It's a bit like the concept that genius is the ability to see the obvious where everybody else fails to do so. I'm not convinced that's genius so much as congenital imbecility on the part of the rest of the world myself - the laws of mathematics being what they are, almost the entire population of the world has below average intelligence, so we're just going to have to live with this reality, I'm afraid.

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: "Blockchain" uses concepts that have been around for decades

              "the laws of mathematics being what they are, almost the entire population of the world has below average intelligence"

              Umm, according to the mathematical definition of "average", it's literally impossible for almost the entire population of the world to have below-average intelligence. To accomplish that would take at least a few tens of thousands of people who have intelligence levels never before observed in man.

              1. GIRZiM Bronze badge

                Re: "Blockchain" uses concepts that have been around for decades

                Umm, according to the mathematical definition of "average", it's literally impossible for almost the entire population of the world to have below-average intelligence.

                Do what, John?

                There need be not even one person in the world in possession of 'average' intelligence for it to be so. Or would you like to argue that the way such averages are calculated doesn't mean that almost everyone has more than the average number of hands? Given that it only takes one person to lose one hand in an accident for the mean number to drop below '2' if you try to argue otherwise you'll simply display a woeful ignorance of how the mean is calculated.

                What matters is the modal value - and thanks to the likes of Einstein and Hawking, the mean is much higher than the mode.

                No, your argument is mathematically incorrect.

            2. Korev Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: "Blockchain" uses concepts that have been around for decades

              >almost the entire population of the world has below average intelligence

              That's a mean thing to say

        3. Sitaram Chamarty

          Re: XML

          Spot on! In fact, looking at the quotes from Gartner in the article, I suspect a lot of the blockchain they're talking of is closer to permission-less cryptocurrencies, than the permissioned stuff that enterprises tend to use.

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: XML

        "XML has a potential use in, say, config files."

        Oh, god, no. XML config files are painful.

    2. trevorde

      Re: XML

      also add VR and AR to the list of overhyped technologies

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: XML

        @Trevorde

        At their current state, sure. Personally I'm holding out hope that full dive VR á la Sword Art Online is coming, because I would happily sell my soul for that tech.

  3. DavCrav Silver badge

    "The shocking, shocking, shocking (shocking 3) news..."

    I went looking for a footnote...

  4. LenG

    Classic

    Blockchain is the classic solution looking for a problem.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What furlonger said

    is that blockchain is not a technical solution, its a technical option if you want to run your business in an entirely different way.

    Hype or not, that sort of change is not trivial.

    The hype mongers make it sound more like a choice between MySQL vs Oracle whereas its more like a choice between running a bike or an aircraft and I don't care what freakin database it uses...

    I'm sure this ball of moss will continue to get bigger though...

  6. Dr Who

    Most blockchain use cases can be achieved with conventional databases. It is specifically where issues of agreeing a version of the truth (attaining trust) between multiple parties, without the use of an intermediary such as a bank or a land registry, where blockchain comes into its own.

    This video of a talk by Gideon Greenspan, who is a blockchain architect, brilliantly debunks all of the hype and explains very clearly exactly where blockchain is better than a traditional database, and where it is not. I've never heard a more lucid, less BS explanation and no I have nothing to do with his company.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK5Fz3w-H4o

  7. steelpillow Silver badge
    Pint

    BOFH

    Evidently Gartner do indeed read The BOFH.

    Icon for Mr. Travaglia's insider trading knowledge.

  8. Steve Channell
    Facepalm

    A small increment on the Luhn formula of 1954

    A Checksum is as good an idea now, as it was when the Luhn formula was introduced in the 1950's to prevent transposition errors by fat fingers: It was a key-enabler for the use of electronic computers but was simple enough for mechanical terminals to validate at the point of entry.

    We quickly realised that a checksum could be applied to records and blocks to prevent bit-flipping corruption in core memory, tape and disk.. apologies for the primary-school explanation, but we need to be clear, exactly how old and simple the idea really is. The blockchain innovation is to [1] store every transaction forever (tiny compared to a “cat photo”), [2] add the checksum to the next block in the chain (to prevent change), [3] duplicate the chain in loads of places (like RAID-10 + DR).

    What is not particularly “innovative” is generating millions of random keys to find one that happens to hash to the same checksum as the whole block.. neat for Iceland where electricity is cheap, but far away from where anybody actually lives.

    When all the bitcoins have been mined, the only incentive to maintain it will be with the handful of mega-miners that burn through more electricity hashing than global supply was 50 years ago.. what we in this old-school world call “a central bank”.

    1. kryptylomese

      Re: A small increment on the Luhn formula of 1954

      Proof of Stake does not work that way

      https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/proof-stake-pos.asp

    2. Sitaram Chamarty

      Re: A small increment on the Luhn formula of 1954

      You're confusing blockchain with proof of work.

      Bitcoin == blockchain PLUS proof of work, but you can have blockchains which don't use proof of work as a consensus mechanism.

      You must be a prof in a university somewhere -- that's all they care about, permissionless blockchains and crypto currency. After all, wilful ignorance of scaling limitations (to use a phrase from one of the previous comments) gives you more opportunities to publish.

  9. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Your all missing the point.

    The reason why the CIO's dont want blockchain is because the last thing a business wants (the business not the shareholders or law) is an unbreakable chain of evidence.

    Last thing you want to do is crash the whole company because someone wants proof you did what you said you did - see Cambridge Anal.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Your all missing the point.

      You weren't actually expecting them to apply it to anything of their own which mattered, were you?

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Your all missing the point.

      Blockchain is not necessary for an unbreakable chain of evidence. It may make it easier to implement than other methods. But one thing to remember, a business that has a working system is not going to implement a new, mostly unproven, system if they have any sense. The risk is to great and the reward is too meager if it is successful.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Your all missing the point.

        I've implemented 'unbreakable' evidence chains before. The bosses really liked them for a while and then realised they didnt really want them after all because 'mmmble mmmmble. They were a lot simpler than blockchain too.

        Blockchain is quite easy to implement and at least it is mathematically provable, but as others point out it is a solution looking for a problem. I personally think it works quite well on an SME level it just has two problems - 1) it seems to grow exponentially in resource requirements and inversely in speed, and 2) you wouldnt believe the shenanigans that go on in most companies these days.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Your all missing the point.

          If there comes a need for a relatively tamperproof system for auditing, my suggestion would be to buy a ton of blank CDs/DVDs. If you live near me, I'll give you some because somehow I ended up with like a hundred of them and I don't know where they came from. Then write the audit data, along with checksums for all preceding data stored on disks, and keep multiple copies. Label them well. If you're afraid that someone sneaky will overuse hashing power to find a way to hash incorrect data on a disk, store the original data plus encrypted versions of it with predefined keys so that you'll never get a hash collision while the universe is in existence.

          Total network costs: 0.

          Total data storage costs: Lots of blank CDs. Call my friends; they must be putting them in my house.

          Total infrastructure costs: Four or five cardboard boxes on shelves in different buildings.

          Total recovery costs: USB Optical drive ($10)

        2. Alterhase

          Re: You['re] all missing the point.

          <i> it seems to grow exponentially in resource requirements and inversely in speed</i>

          This seems to me the fundamental problem with blockchains. And if you are not going to catenate multiple transactions on a single blockchain, how does it differ from a conventional hash checksum?

        3. pauleverett

          Re: Your all missing the point.

          just because you cant think of any problems that need blockchain as a solution, doesn't mean that others can not, and have not. Your all on some kind of gloating trip here. your all trying to be funny or humorous, but you come across as old gloating fools. The buzzword is distributed ledger. You brits are humorous at best,entertaining at worst, but you are completely hopeless when it comes to predicting or making, the next big tech thing your collectively hopeless. Your like smug little cavemen, on a little island, drinking tea, without a care in the world. A belly full of your own self importance. The world will pass you by, and someone else's distributed ledger platform will be the only way that you can do any kind of transaction, in the not too distant future. Embrace blockchain, or fade to insignificance.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Your all missing the point.

        "But one thing to remember, a business that has a working system is not going to implement a new, mostly unproven, system if they have any sense."

        Are you sure? Oh, sorry, the bit about sense probably rules out the example I was thinking of.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Your all missing the point.

      @Tom 7

      Your 'You're' spelling is atrocious.

  10. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Holmes

    A new paradigm

    Totally new, in fact.

  11. iron Silver badge

    Make your mind up Gartner

    No one is using Blockchain.

    No one plans to use Blockchain.

    There aren't enough skilled engineers to implement Blcokchains.

    Seems to me that last statement is at odds with the first two. If (almost) no one is doing or planning Blockchain then how can there be a shortage of engineers? Make your mind up Gartner.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Make your mind up Gartner

      Chicken and egg problem. Par for the course with trendy new tech.

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Make your mind up Gartner

      The last statement is not at odds with the first two. For instance, in the 16th century no one was using steam engines, no one planned to use steam engines, and the number of engineers capable of building steam engines was zero.

      The pedantic point is that you added the word "shortage" not present in the original.

    3. Steve Knox
      Headmaster

      Re: Make your mind up Gartner

      There aren't enough skilled engineers to implement Blcokchains.

      Case in point?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Make your mind up Gartner

      (almost) No one is using Blockchain.

      (almost) No one plans to use Blockchain.

      There aren't enough skilled engineers to implement Blcokchains [sic] for those companies that want to.

      FTFY.

      1. tfewster Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Make your mind up Gartner

        ...there aren't enough engineers with 30 years Blockchain experience and willing to work for minimum wage...

        FTFFY

  12. Zwuramunga

    Elon Musk Response

    LUDICROUSCHAIN!

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Elon Musk Response

      Shirley, BORINGCHAIN?

      1. steelpillow Silver badge

        Re: Elon Musk Response

        BLOCKHEADEDCHAIN

  13. Sloppy Crapmonster

    The current problem with *coins is that people are selling them for money that you can spend. You can't actually spend them themselves. Kinda like gold, except you won't need a computer to spend your gold when the nukes destroy the electrical grid.

  14. Nordrick Framelhammer

    I didn't know Gartner were still relevant.

    I stopped paying much attention to them after their Itanic prediction with tits up in a big way.

    Remember this puff piece from 2001?

    "Gartner believes the Itanium processor family (IPF) will have a significant impact on the Unix server market. By 2006, IPF will have replaced all but two of the current reduced instruction set computer (RISC) architectures. New Unix servers will either be built on IBM Power, Sun Microsystems' Sparc or IPF. What’s more, midrange and high-end Windows servers will increasingly be built on IPF, rather than IA-32, and IPF technology will cascade into more commoditized markets as prices reduce. Gartner predicts that, by 2006, IPF-based servers will have a 20 percent share of the overall server market by revenue (Intel’s total share, including IA-32, will be more than 66 percent)."

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: I didn't know Gartner were still relevant.

      Is there anybody making predictions which are 100% accurate?

      Everybody is wrong some day. The point is is Gartner mostly right or wrong (I can't reply to that one, I lack of data and time to search for them)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "New Unix servers will either be built on IBM Power, Sun Microsystems' Sparc or IPF."

      There's a reason certain consultancies gained themselves the collective term "coin-op consultants".

      More coins, more coverage?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Data retiring, Beep me up sloppy !

    You cannot destroy old data if there exists a reference to some early block in the chain that you still need to reference for block integrity.

    Got to therefore generate other transactions to bring forward the old data into new parts of the chain, so you can flush earlier parts of the chain.

    And then what happens when you get to the top of the mountain.

    Beep me up sloppy !

  16. GIRZiM Bronze badge

    Blokechain

    Something to do with photos of sexy 'firemen' being inserted (ooh err) into innocent transactions - you read it here first!

    Look, if cryptocats/cryptokitties/whatever the nonsense was known as can be a Thing™ then so can the Blokechain!

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