Industrial-scale adoption of blockchain technology will surge in the next year or two. That’s the prediction of Herman Gref, the pro-bitcoin CEO of Sberbank — Russia’s largest bank and the third-largest bank in Europe.
Gref said the hype surrounding blockchain has waned a bit, but its many uses will be applied in the near future. In other words, blockchain has moved beyond theory and is ready to be put into practice.
“The hype surrounding the technology has passed, and it has entered a stage of industrial development,” Gref said via Tass. “The technology will take a year or two to be applied on an industrial scale.”
Herman Gref: Blockchain Will Become Commercial
Gref reaffirmed the outlook he detailed in February 2017, when he predicted that blockchain will be commercial in 2019, as CCN.com reported.
At the time, Gref noted that a special working group headed by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov was exploring the plausible deployment of blockchain technology across “virtually all industries” in Russia.
Herman Gref has been a vocal opponent of the Russian government’s crackdowns on virtual currencies, saying crypto is a “great technology.”
Gref has urged Russian authorities to be patient with decentralized currencies by not banning bitcoin or promulgating harsh anti-crypto regulation until its uses are better understood.
That said, Gref does not believe that cryptocurrencies will replace fiat money in today’s centralized financial system, as CCN.com reported.
Governments Cling To Centralization
In October 2018, Gref expressed skepticism about the near-term future of crypto, saying it could be another decade before it gains mainstream adoption.
“Do I see a great future in cryptocurrency? Not yet, as the state will not give up its centralized role, it will not allow cryptocurrencies,” Gref said via Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Gref said a 10-year timeline for mainstream acceptance is more realistic because the industry is still in its infancy.
“I’m optimistic about 10 years,” he said. “Maybe 10 years will be visible beyond the horizon, but so far it’s not likely that any state is ready to part with the centralized money-supply model.”
It Could Take Years For Crypto To Succeed
Herman Gref’s cautious outlook on bitcoin mirrors that of Argentine entrepreneur Wences Casares, the founder of bitcoin wallet Xapo.
Xapo — which claims to store $10 billion in bitcoin across five continents — is backed by bitcoin evangelist Mike Novogratz and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.
Casares, who has been dubbed bitcoin’s “Patient Zero” for his role in boosting crypto’s profile in Silicon Valley, said it could take 7 to 20 years to know for sure if bitcoin will be successful. And that’s OK.
Casares, a serial entrepreneur who’s on the board of PayPal, said bitcoin is a robust “intellectual experiment” that could fail — but it probably won’t.
“We could find something in 10 years that renders the system worthless,” Casares said. “It’s more likely that will not happen. At this point, the chances of success are better than the chances of failure.”
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