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In our previous article ( Review of Government Regulations for Ethereum Blockchain Development), we discussed the effect of government regulations on Ethereum blockchain development.
In this article, we learn about the adoption of Ethereum on the mainstream.
The Chinese proverb says, "Not only can water float a boat, it can sink it also". That is probably the best way to describe the Ethereum platform and its widespread adoption. On one hand, Ethereum has a broad ecosystem for developing and implementing smart contracts and decentralized applications and is the most popular and ideal platform for launching ICOs and crypto-tokens. This has fueled the explosive growth of the Ethereum network over the last few years. On the other hand, the fundamental issue in Ethereum is its scalability, that is, its ability to scale up and handle a much larger volume of blockchain transactions. Some suggest that Ethereum is already at its maximum capacity at the moment. The truth is, scaling Ethereum is difficult and implementing a solution such as sharding, alongside Casper, is a daunting task. The road to Ethereum 2.0 may be much bumpier than anyone may expect.
Security, transparency, immutability, and transaction integrity are some of the most highly touted advantages blockchain has over traditional centralized applications. With blockchain, transactions are secured through the consensus protocol. Once the transaction is made, it is permanent and publicly accessible. There is no way to alter the records on the blockchain, tamper with records, or even deny the transaction happened.
However, increased transparency is a double-edged sword. The transaction records are linked to the public address of the account. If anyone knows the public address, they will know what you have traded and owned. If you lose your private keys, you may lose everything. Data that's been recorded on the blockchain may include private or confidential information, such as personal identification, or patient health and medical records. This may infringe the customer's privacy, especially in industries where privacy is protected by the law, rules, and regulations. In healthcare, patient privacy is protected by the HIPAA and minimal use rules. Europe has General Data Protection Rules (GDPR), which is the data privacy legislation that protects EU citizens from data breaches.
In our previous articles, we mentioned some solutions via the use of ZK-SNARKs and Multiparty Computation (MPC) to address privacy and scalability issues, though much still needs to be done for them to be compliant with existing privacy rules. One component of the privacy rules—consent management—provides a vehicle for sharing personal information with the user's consent or erasing the data when the consent is revoked. Such requirements may directly contradict blockchain design principles.
In our next article ( Review of Ethereum Tools and Infrastructure), we discuss Ethereum tools and infrastructure.
This article is written in collaboration with Brian Wu who is a leading author of “Learn Ethereum: Build your own decentralized applications with Ethereum and smart contracts” book. He has written 7 books on blockchain development.
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