Blockchain: Between Adoption and the Golden Calf
It's widely accepted the concept of a decentralized cryptographic ledger, better known as Blockchain technology which supports cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, have suffered from regulatory issues since inception.
In this sense, there have been many rumors which fed anxiety preventing developers and investors from adoption, but what exactly are the reasons causing this?
THE PROBLEM OF LICENSING
The open source licenses used by major public blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin enable collaborative and decentralized development, encourage adoption, and allow the community to discuss the project in an open, public forum where anyone can contribute if they're so inclined.
However, such open, warrant-less licenses are quite different from traditional proprietary software more commonly used in financial applications.
The complexity is so great that the no warranty, use “as is”, open source licenses for Ethereum were one of the primary reasons IBM decided to drop it and license their own solution - hyper ledger. Although distributed as open source under the Apache license, the project is managed by a select governance of IBM selected members. Meaning the development is still somewhat centralised to their needs.
The conclusion of IBM seems to have obvious repercussions. If open source, no warranty licenses used by leading blockchains are too complex to negotiate, major players will tend to create their own ecosystems through less expensive technologies and licenses. We can observe evidence of this institutional trend within IBM's Hyperledger Fabric. They have the benefits of any one contributing to the code, although final say is steered by a select group. Meaning they still have final control in the product rather then a open project so to speak.
Although most of the internet is powered by GNU/GPL/Apache or MIT licensed software that's source code is distributed free of charge and open for anyone to modify, it has been an asset rather than hindrance to a plethora of software that comprises the internet we use today. From Linux and FreeBSD operating systems such as Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS to Web servers such as Apache, Nginx, Lighttpd. Even peer to peer software inspiring Bitcoin like Bittorrent, would arguably not exist if it wasn't for this open source methodology. If these were projects that had preferred to be controlled by a select group of delegates, they may not be an internet as we know it now.
THE PROBLEM OF INFRASTRUCTURE
According to Jason Bloomberg, contributor of Forbes:
“We need to make cryptocurrency as we know it illegal.”
His question stems from the fact that being decentralized and not permissioned, the reputation of the infrastructure of Blockchains is unquestioned and this is a weak link in the lawful use of technology.
That is, if anyone can sign up as a node or start mining, how can we ensure that criminals do not? Although to the same extent, one can argue we also obviously cannot ensure criminals do not use firearms, drive vehicles intoxicated and dangerously or purchase goods online with a fraudulent Visa or MasterCard.
The key point here is that criminals already attempt to leverage the tech and are largely unsuccessful. As pointed out by the Subcommittee of the US Congress on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, their conclusion outlined terrorist groups had little success in funding terrorism through Blockchain as official pronouncement. Citing difficulties in technological aptitude and everyday use, defaulting to using convenient, untraceable, cold hard cash instead.