The present UK financial minister’s statement that could have been a relief has create some stir within many. At the Conservative Party conference, Philip Hammond said that the solution with regard to the border problems surrounding Brexit and Ireland is Blockchain.
Mr. Hammond at the conference said,
“There is technology becoming available…I don’t claim to be an expert on it but the most obvious technology is blockchain (for managing the Irish border).”
This massive statement made by the finance minister has left a lot wondering whether he has cryptocurrency (blockchain) related up his sleeve. There are others who are very critical about the ability of blockchain to simply solve the issues about the border, both in Ireland, and internationally.
UK is seriously being confronted with difficult questions concerning their borders in a post Brexit world. The border at Ireland especially is touchy, given that sort of “hard border” will need a strength level of security. Borders with high security levels within the Irish land are not politically tenable, since it might resurrect some of the issues the nation has move ahead of.
Those Who Think Hammond Has Got It All Wrong
An associate professor as well as senior research fellow at the university of Oxford, Vili Lehdonvirta, according to him, a non-starter for border solutions is blockchain. He made statement that, “In my assessment there is zero chance that blockchain technology will help deliver a ‘frictionless’ border between Northern and the Republic of Ireland.”
Philip Hammond’s idea got a really hard reaction from Professor Lehdonvirta, stating that,
“Blockchain has become this magical buzzword that people like Philip Hammond who don’t know what they’re talking about are pinning all kinds of hopes and dreams on. I think the onus is on the proponents to explain how blockchain tech could possibly help here. For starters, we would need to know what exactly is meant by “blockchain” here. If it means a Bitcoin-style peer-to-peer proof-of-work system, then obviously throughput and latency will be big issues, against what expected benefit?”
To his credit, Mr. Hammond admitted that he had little knowledge about how blockchain works, that would suggest that there is not really a firm plan he has in store for blockchain-based Brexit border solutions. Proof-of-work systems is maybe a valid solution for a public border control system, as they depend on the expensive and slow transactions to work. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum struggle to deliver more than 20 transactions per second, which would be far to slow for a busy border.
Private Blockchain Isn’t Enough?
Clearly it could be seen that Vili Lehdonvirta was not impressed by Philip Hammond’s idea on blockchain. Nevertheless he also doesn’t see allowed blockchain as being anything special either. Mr. Lehdonvirta said that,
“If it means IBM-style permissioned blockchain, then that’s essentially just a shared database, nothing particularly groundbreaking about that.” Stated this in regards to using the blockchain tech on a UK border.
The mindset that private blockchain don’t create new things into the system might be off the track. For pilot projects, blockchain can be incorporated into the border control system since there have been several apps that suggests so, even though there is no certainty of a real world use-case scenarios to prove that private blockchain will be a good fit for the border.
IBM’s blockchain architecture has been used for numerous applications that existing technology didn’t have the ability to handle. The latest collaboration between IBM and Walmart is evidence of this, but there are many other blockchain projects that would challenge Mr. Lehdonvirta’s opinion as well.
The Chief Analyst for GlobalData’s Technology Thematic Research Program, Gary Barnett, was also negative on blockchain as a solution for the UK border. He stated that,“Blockchain technology is not well suited to the processing of cross border trade. It is expensive, complex, and slow.” This assertion on blockchain is easily challenged since it has proved itself to be a much more effective way to do a number of things.
At the very moment the biggest challenge with blockchain is that it faces in terms of fast spreading adoption isn’t technical. There is a huge amount of creative thinking with the development of blockchain sphere, but in public space, there seem to be much fear and trouble when it comes to supporting the development of blockchain-based platforms.
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