CES 2022: What it showed us about the future of blockchain


It’s moving fast, but is the rapid expansion of blockchain technology unfolding in the right way?

If you’ve attended CES 2022, in person or virtually, you’ve probably noticed a few recurring themes, with blockchain, cryptocurrencies, metaverse, and NFT being some of the hottest topics of the year.

There was a lot of talk about blockchain and its related technologies at CES, with plenty of talk about how NFT pioneers made their money and what’s to come, and plenty of blockchain-related startups were also present to present new products.

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As CES is a chance to take the pulse of the tech industry in general, it’s also a chance to get a glimpse of emerging technologies, like the aforementioned, and what will come from them. This year we’ve certainly had a lot of news related to blockchain technology, but understanding it is a whole different thing.

CES showed us how blockchain will become mainstream

There is no denying that NFTs had a banner year, with huge sales reaching millions of dollars, and several celebrities also jumped into the action and endorsed NFT trading platforms as well. The end of 2021 brought another big buzzword in the form of the metaverse, and it is these two technologies that Gartner Distinguished VP Analyst Avivah Litan sees as a key part of integrating blockchain technology.

The adoption of NFTs and metavers, Litan said, will in turn lead to “dramatic improvements in user interfaces and blockchain-based experiences, and retail cryptocurrency payments will follow naturally,” Litan said.

Litan predicts that NFT trading will at least double in 2022, and she said the technology was on display at CES, such as the new Samsung TV which includes a gaming hub and extensive NFT integration that allows them to be bought and sold anywhere. thing that can be done from the couch.

With those kinds of features in mind, “we will now also see the accelerated implementation of surrounding services that allow consumers to easily integrate the blockchain (via a user wallet) so that they can buy and trade NFTs.” , Litan said.

Forrester vice president and senior analyst Martha Bennett said she was struck, unsurprisingly, at the extent to which NFTs were the center of attention at CES. As for new blockchain trends? She said there was nothing to see. “There wasn’t really a blockchain presence or theme as such. Some representation on the cryptocurrency / crypto asset side that wasn’t exclusively about NFTs, but nothing major or new,” Bennett said.

Bennett praised Samsung for the same reasons Litan did: its new smart TV with NFT capabilities and its Decentraland metaverse store. It’s still a niche, she said, and it will take a lot of ups and downs to attract those who are not already involved in the community.

“Make no mistake: I’m not trying to downplay Samsung’s efforts – everything about NFTs is still in the experimental phase, and without experimentation we won’t see progress,” Bennett said.

The electric elephant in the room

The two big players in the cryptocurrency world, Bitcoin and Ethereum, both have a serious problem: wasted energy. Talking about NFT is impossible without talking about Ethereum, which is the blockchain on which most NFTs live, which begs the question: the wider adoption of NFTs, metaverse, cryptocurrency and blockchain. is it ecologically sustainable?

Bennett said she was not surprised that CES was not the place to talk about the waste of energy created by cryptocurrencies, but she also found that Samsung’s smart TV announcement , in relation to the sustainability theme she had during CES, didn’t fit very well.

“Today’s NFTs are mostly on Ethereum, and Decentraland uses Ethereum. While it is not as bad as Bitcoin in its energy consumption, Ethereum’s energy needs will be excessive until the network is moving away from proof of work, ”Bennett said.

Litan agreed that it is the proof of work that is the culprit for the waste of energy. “Ethereum is moving to Proof of Stake, which will fix most of this problem,” Litan said of the lesser of the two power-hungry cryptocurrencies.

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Litan noted that, however, Bitcoin is not going to go away, is the biggest player and still uses proof of work, so this is where the energy issues mostly lie. Even in the case of Bitcoin, however, progress is being made.

“Bitcoin miners are already starting to use the energy wasted at power generation sites to reduce their own costs, and I think we will see this trend continue and accelerate in 2022, as the costs of energy continue to increase, ”Litan said.

With Ethereum quickly taking the reigns as the most widely used form of cryptocurrency in practice, proof of stake may soon be the standard by which we think about cryptocurrency and digital tokens. “The jury is still out on how the decentralized proof of stake will remain,” Litan said.

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Blockchain cryptocurrency chain as concept

Image: Getty Images / iStockphoto


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