The blockchain technology revolution has been in full swing for the past few years, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. The people behind the technology are looking forward to implementing their plans, but they know that there are some limitations they’ll have to work through to get the job done right. They aren’t worried, though, because they know that most of these limitations will be overcome in time, and they think the end result will be worth the time and effort they put into making it happen.
In order for a blockchain platform to work well and be able to support massive amounts of users, it must have some kind of built-in scaling mechanism. Otherwise, it will become quickly clogged with data and transactions. There are several different approaches that platforms are taking in order to achieve scalability, including reducing transaction sizes, adding more layers (side chains), and implementing their own unique solutions. We’ll go into these in more detail later on in another post on Scalability.
Lack of regulatory backing
The blockchain is one of those technologies that’s being developed and adapted at such a rapid pace that regulatory bodies are struggling to keep up. As such, there are no global or industry-wide standards for how it should be implemented, or what its limitations might be. And since it’s built on trust, any time a lack of trust develops between businesses (as is often the case with regulation), it becomes difficult to move forward.
Smart contracts aren’t smart enough
Despite early advances in AI and machine learning, we’re still nowhere near a time when computer programs can replace lawyers and judges. The smart contracts that blockchain technologies rely on currently have limited programming capabilities. They can’t access external data sources, like bank accounts or government records. Most importantly, they lack common sense—they don’t know what they don’t know!
As of yet, there’s no blockchain technology that can handle tens of thousands of transactions per second. In 2017, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies were slower than traditional payment systems and could only process around 5–10 transactions per second. The current state of blockchain technology won’t cut it for mainstream commerce. It will be years before a platform that can process tens of thousands of transactions per second can be created.
Once information is recorded onto a blockchain, it becomes immutable. As of now, there is no existing way to modify or remove that data. So if you make a mistake or bad decision with your cryptocurrency and send it somewhere it shouldn’t go, you can’t get it back. The same goes for sending cryptocurrency to someone else who has been naughty in their transactions: They can’t take those funds away from you. Because blockchain transactions are permanent, your mistakes can become more permanent too!