Difficulty Measuring Blockchain Value Creation

Two years ago we set out in an effort to document public statements of value creation in blockchain projects. Our original intent was to provide a way to capture value stories from the hundreds of POCs announced at the time.
After these years we learned a couple of important lessons

1. In public projects, promoters outnumber value creators

Even before the emergence of ICO proposals, the effort to promote potential value of a project was more focused on fundraising and rewards than actual bankable value.
There are very few projects that addressed the underlying process improvements and cost savings in specific, measurable terms.
The only exception being payment/settlement blockchains like BTC/ETH derivatives and XRP.
Even the settlement business cases are difficult due to the fact that cost and speed of settlements vary from low cost/instant to expensive/slow depending on regions of the world.

2. Enterprise projects limit disclosure

Many enterprise projects limit public disclosure of benefits. Many enterprise consortia and POCs focus on network building, brand-building, patenting announcements but have few tangible value creation case studies. In our discussions with various POCs it is clear that secrecy will remain the norm and that will limit adoption in a technology that started out as open and decentralized.

3. Projects have classic governance challenges

It is understandable that decentralized projects are all innovating their long term governance models.
It is surprising that POCs and consortia struggle with governance issues (executive sponsorship, decision making process, definition of success, funding milestones) that should not be unique to the space. Inter-enterprise collaboration projects existed for decades from industry associations, through open source development to public/private partnerships to the space program. Yet we yet to see an enterprise blockchain project go live. Let alone measure its value.
Tens of thousands of corporate IT projects go live every year ranging from great to dubious value. It is surprising and concerning that blockchain projects would not make the cut when public blockchains are expanding.

What’s next for our research

We are adopting our methodology to the above realities and incorporate more survey and intent-based data-points until the real measurements are available.

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