Although it’s happening fast, is the rapid growth of blockchain technology appropriate?
CES 2022 attendees who attended either in person or online will likely have noticed a few recurring themes. The most hot topics this year were blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs.
There were plenty of talks at CES on blockchain and related technologies. There were plenty of discussions about how NFT pioneers made their fortunes and what’s ahead. There were also plenty of startups that were promoting new products using blockchain technology.
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CES gives you a chance not only to see the pulse of the tech sector, but also to learn about emerging technologies such as the aforementioned. Although there was much news about blockchain technology in 2018, understanding it is another matter.
CES demonstrated how blockchain can become mainstream
NFTs are having a great year. They have seen huge sales that have raked in millions of dollars. Many celebrities have also been supporting NFT trading platform endorsements. The metaverse was another buzzword at the end of 2021. Gartner Distinguished Vice President Analyst Avivah Litan views these technologies as key to mainstreaming blockchain technology.
Litan explained that metaverse adoption and NFTs will result in “blockchain-based user experiences and interfaces dramatically improving, and retail cryptocurrency payment will naturally follow.”
Litan predicts NFT trade will increase at least twice by 2022. Litan also spoke of tech on display at CES such as the Samsung TV, which includes a Gaming hub and extensive NFT integration, so that buying and selling them can be done from your couch.
Litan explained that with these features in mind, Litan also stated that “we will now see the accelerated implementation surrounding services that make enabling consumers to onboard blockchain (via a User wallet) so that it can be bought and traded NFTs.”
Martha Bennett, principal analyst at Forrester and vice president of Forrester, said that she was surprised by the extent to which NFTs were the main focus at CES. Are there any new trends in blockchain? She said that there was nothing to be seen. “There wasn’t really any blockchain presence or theme. Some representation from the cryptocurrency/crypto asset side that wasn’t exclusively about NFTs, but nothing major or new,” Bennett said.
Bennett gave Samsung the same praises as Litan for its new smart TV and NFT capabilities. DecentralandThe metaverse store. She said that it’s still a niche market and will require a lot more uphill climbing to get people involved in the community.
“Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to belittle Samsung’s efforts—everything to do with NFTs is still in the experimental phase, and without experimentation we won’t see progress,” Bennett said.
The electric elephant in the living room
These are the two biggest players in the cryptocurrency industry. Bitcoin EthereumBoth have a problem: Energy waste. Talking about NFTs would be impossible without mentioning Ethereum. Ethereum is the blockchain on which most NFTs reside. It raises the question: Can wider adoption of NFTs and other blockchain technologies, such as the metaverse, cryptocurrency, and blockchain, be environmentally sustainable?
Bennett admitted that it was not surprising that CES didn’t have a place to talk about energy waste from cryptocurrencies. But she also found Samsung’s smart TV announcement less interesting than the sustainability theme they had at CES.
“Today, NFTs focus mostly on Ethereum. Decentraland also uses Ethereum. Bennett stated that while Ethereum is not as energy-intensive as Bitcoin, Ethereum’s energy needs will be high until proof of work is achieved.
Litan agreed that proof of work is the culprit for energy waste. Litan stated that Ethereum was in the process of moving to Proof of Stake. This will resolve most of the issue.
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Litan pointed out that Bitcoin isn’t going away. It is still the biggest player and uses proof of work. So that’s where most energy concerns lie. However, there are some positive developments even in Bitcoin.
Litan said that Bitcoin miners already use energy from energy production sites to reduce their own costs. Litan also stated that he believes we will see this trend continue in 2022 because energy costs are continuing to rise.
As Ethereum is quickly becoming the most used cryptocurrency, proof-of-stake may be the standard we use to think about crypto and digital tokens. Litan stated that the jury is still out about how decentralized Proof of Stake would be.