What blockchain technology might look like on the world’s most popular social network, and who might want it.

When a company like Facebook posts five job openings looking for blockchain-related talent, it seems like a rather large step toward the adoption of the growing technology. Now, it’s probably an understatement to say Facebook has its issues (some of which ETHNews has covered), but with a reported 2.27 billion monthly active users worldwide for 2018, it would be hard to deny that Facebook’s implementation of blockchain technology could bring the tool to a gigantic audience.

Facebook launched its blockchain team in May 2018, bringing over David Marcus – the previous president of PayPal and Facebook’s vice president of its Messenger app division – to lead the project. What Facebook will be developing blockchain-wise wasn’t revealed in the recent job postings. Most of what can be gleaned is basic job description jargon, searching for those who “share a passion for tackling complexity” and reaching out to people who want to “[explore] the opportunity the blockchain will bring.”

Facebook’s privacy problems seem like the most obvious starting point for blockchain technology to tackle, but until the company tells us what they’re planning, it’s anyone’s guess what it’ll do. A look at what Facebook is currently trying to do to improve its platform, however, could give some insight into how it will be implementing blockchain usage, and who, for that matter, might even want it.

Facebook, Journalism, and Blockchains

Late-stage internet usage is a strange beast, especially when it comes to how one consumes news. Generally, nothing really needs to be sought out – information can just, sort of, be stumbled upon. It’s so utterly convenient, and Facebook is a big part of how people in the US stumble upon information. According to a Pew Research Center study from September 2018, 43 percent of American adults still get news from Facebook, despite the fact that they “expect the news they see on social media to be largely inaccurate.”

In January 2017, Facebook launched its “Facebook Journalism Project,” which, among other things, seeks to “establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry” by collaborating with news organizations to improve news literacy and Facebook’s own efforts to curb news hoaxes.

This article isn’t a deep dive into fake news, improperly sourced news, and Facebook’s role in how it delineates/delineated what 43 percent of Americans see, but if the company is already looking into promoting news literacy and weeding out hoaxes, blockchain might be a useful tool. In theory, a network of public, cryptographically signed, identical blocks of data would allow news organizations to authenticate the content that is being seen on Facebook, something the company tried to let its users do in December 2017, but didn’t necessarily make the grade.

Again, all of this is just grasping at straws, and the overall idea of Facebook working on blockchain technology requires a major suspension of reality: that Facebook would give up owning its users’ information. If one of the main statutes of blockchain tech is giving individuals ownership of their data, then it seems counterintuitive to what lets Facebook be Facebook – giving information to advertisers, creating targeted ads, and showing us only what we want (or what it thinks we want) to see.

It just feels naïve to see it beginning to work with a transformative technology and think that this is the moment Facebook will take into consideration how its users are affected day-to-day by its platform – and how that platform is set up to specifically target its individual users (especially knowing that the project involves Marcus, who oversaw the Messenger app’s push into advertising).

If nothing ever comes of it, maybe all Facebook’s blockchain project means is that in four or five years’ time, we’ll get another Aaron Sorkin romp with a Jesse Eisenberg-type walking-and-talking down a long hallway, speaking rapidly about a social network on the blockchain to distract us for an hour-and-a-half. I’m thinking something like “The Social Network 2: Social Network Harder.”

This post is credited to ethnews

When Warren Buffett, a multi-billionaire investor, admitted that he was wrong about not investing in companies like Amazon and Google, it proved that not even the world’s most renowned investor can always get it right.

Amazon and Google were bringing in products that the market hadn’t experienced before. Skepticisms were meant to be there. But eventually, user adoption won over anything. Cut to today, both the Buffett’s rejects are now trillion dollar companies.

Such successful case studies only make the case of blockchain stronger, a technology that is gradually becoming the secret ingredient of big corporations and tech startups these days.

At its heart, blockchain is a simple concept. It is a ledger of blocks containing information whose copies are stored across a network of computers. These blocks are arranged chronologically, can be viewed by anybody on the web, and does not get managed by a central authority such as a corporation, bank or government. Therefore, hacking a blockchain system means gaining access to at least 51% nodes in the network, which makes it impractical for cybercriminals to modify the information on blocks.

It’s potential has attracted multi-billion dollars worth of investments in thousands of projects around the world. Some startups are testing blockchain to record government records, while some are creating decentralized supercomputers. Every industry in some way is willing to put their traditional systems through blockchain trials.

As a result, at least $1.3 billion worth of funding has entered the blockchain industry in 2018 already. It is expected to grow further in the coming years.

The Hype

Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, believes blockchain technology is going through a hype phase and isn’t ready for mass-scale adoption yet. He said that investors would most likely “burn themselves out by not being prepared to be stable in the long run.”

The statement finds evidence in 2017’s famous initial coin offering (ICO) mania in which blockchain projects raked in millions of dollars throughout the year. Users, who believed they had missed out on the early Bitcoin rally, put their trust on new projects that were looking to be better than the Satoshi Nakamoto digital currency. It led to a crypto gold rush as people started believing they would become wealthy quickly.

As evident, it didn’t happen. A majority of these blockchain projects failed to deliver and went to dust, taking away all the Bitcoins and Ethers that people had invested in them — the bubble burst, leading to a market crash that is still going on.

The market, nevertheless, has come back to its senses. Most of the blockchain projects are now falling behind funding goals, eventually dying before even launching. Regulators have accelerated their crackdown against unlicensed blockchain companies, ensuring that only risk-compliant startups make to the front door of potential investors.

Related Reading: ConsenSys CEO is Planning Company Restructure Following Bear Market

Institutional Adoption

While methods like crowdfunding are falling behind, bigger corporates and venture capitalists are pinpointing the best blockchain startups and fueling their development in their incubation labs.

In September, Walmart announced that it would utilize IBM’s blockchain solution to manage its supply chain. Maersk also launched its Tradelens blockchain solution in partnership with the IBM, bringing 93 shipping companies under one digital ledger network.

Venture Capitalists, on the other hand, have invested over $1 billion in blockchain startups this year, marking a 280% surge than in 2017. Independent projects like IOTA have entered strategic partnerships with big firms like Microsoft, PwC, Deutsche Telekom and others to integrate their Tangle blockchain solution into their infrastructures.

The list is too big to count – and it overall validates that blockchain as a technology is staying for dinner.

Conclusion

The crypto market crash comes as a reminder of how unregulated the market was compared to the present. As companies accumulated mainstream digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in exchange of worthless tokens, they also gained the power to dump them in the market at the first sign of trouble. It is the same reason why even the good crypto assets fell sharply.

The market is now maturing. Investors are smarter. And regulators are more active than ever. As blockchain adoption gains momentum across industries and its users, it would automatically describe the true worth of cryptocurrencies, whether it is $100 or $100 million.

Warren Buffett does not like blockchain – just saying.

This post is credited to newsbtc