Tipping Point For Blockchain

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In his book, “The Tipping Point”, Malcolm Gladwell unpacks how sociological changes that mark everyday life move toward a point of no return impact on society. He says that “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do”.  In essence, the tipping point is “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point” where little changes everyday amount to that point which tips change that impacts society at large, and there is no turning back.

Many in the blockchain community believe that we’ve arrived at a tipping point for blockchain technology where it is inevitable that all industry will adopt blockchain as a business solution that allows the company to be competitive and to stay current with their technology.

Blockchain Tipping Point

In his article “The Tipping Point for Mass Blockchain Adoption” by Forbes contributor Luke Fitzpatrick– suggests that blockchain is at the point of mass adoption.

“Just as the internet was underrated in the early 1990s nobody can accurately predict blockchain’s impact,” Fitzpatrick. Moreover—according to Chris Hart, COO at Civic technologies: “the industry will hit a tipping point when people have the opportunity to use blockchain-powered technology daily and understand the non-technical benefits of the technology.”

Blockchain Challenges in Order for Tipping Point to Occur

Image Source: hackernoon.com – It is unknown how many steps are necessary for for mass adoption to happen or how much time each step represents as far as time. One thing is certain Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are heading in that direction.

What will it take for blockchain to hit the tipping point for mass acceptance?  A report by Zage  sheds light on man of the issues—that will need to be addressed in order for a blockchain in order for widespread acceptance of blockchain to occur.

Clearly, there is a need for regulation to prevent fraud that is occurring on a number of fronts. There are still accounts of fraudulent ICO companies.

User acceptance will be driven by user experience, UX.  Currently—in order to buy cryptocurrency one must have a wallet and go through a “list of complicated steps to make the transaction complete.” Currently, a high barrier to entry exists for “developers who are looking to create new blockchain-based applications.” To help the general population adopt blockchain and achieve a real tipping point, the community will need to develop and implement “easy-to-use, plug-and-play user interfaces” just as we see in mobile and web based applications. People will need to feel comfortable using and developing blockchain applications.

As blockchain addresses the user’s experience, and makes it easy to use, there is no need for people to understand blockchain ledger technology and hash—in the same way people don’t often have a need, or desire, to understand TCP/IP in order to go online and order products from Amazon, or pay their bills online.

Are We There Yet?

According to Andrew Ancheta (Crypto Briefing) Yorke Rhodes, the Principal Program Manager for Microsoft Blockchain, says about blockchain—that the “technology had already jumped its largest technological hurdles,” for mainstream adoption.

“I really think that we are there in terms of getting beyond what we need to get there,” says Rhodes.

Rhodes notes that companies such as JPMorgan, Microsoft and Ernst & Young—all large, conservative organizations—have embraced the concept of decentralized blockchain technology. And this is important to a tipping point for mass adoption.

Kroger and Starbucks Stepping In

When evaluating a tipping point scenario, looking at incremental changes are indicators. As an example, Simon Chandler (Cointelegraph) cited two major retailers that may be just that one case, or incremental change that tips the scales for blockchain mass adoption.

According to Chandler, large retail corporations are looking at Lightning Network as a payment channel, in addition to other cryptocurrencies. While not confirmed, the word on the street is that Kroger, disenchanted with excessive costs of Visa credit card, was approached by Anthony Pomplianon. It is anticipated that the Morgan Creek Digital will “get them hooked up with the Lightning Network nationwide.”

“It’s hard to say just how far Kroger will run with Pompliano’s offer, yet industry figures are more or less unanimous in their views that adoption of Bitcoin payments by a giant like Kroger would be a watershed moment for the industry,” Chandler concludes.

Yet, none other than Starbucks, Rakuten, Birks Group are now moving to adopt Bitcoin as a means of payment. According to industry rumors, Starbucks will start to accept Bitcoin payments in the U.S by the end of the year. The VP of partnerships and payments for Starbucks, Maria Smith says: “As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks.”


Whether the industry is truly at a tipping point remains to be seen. While blockchain and cryptocurrency have challenges and obstacles to overcome, nonetheless, it is apparent that blockchain is here to stay. And such obstacles are merely challenges to be overcome.

Giant corporations such as Microsoft, JP Morgan showing acceptance for blockchain use case acceptance is one incremental change. Now—with Kroger foods and Starbucks—we are clearly in the consumer, retail domain where the average person will come in touch with blockchain: There’s the tipping point.


Samuel H. is an author, writer and speaker with over twenty years in the educational technology sector.

Contact Samuel


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