In her book, “Blockchain, Blueprint for a New Economy”, Melanie Swan, a bestselling author, technology theorist, academic researcher, and founder of the Institute for Blockchain Studies, described how blockchain has evolved in phases.
Melanie segmented the evolution of blockchain into 3 unique tiers, each of which described Blockchain based on its basis of application. Let’s explore each of these tiers in more detail.
Blockchain 1.0. (2009)
The first iteration of blockchain, or Blockchain 1.0, can be associated with the creation of cryptographic currencies, or cryptocurrencies for short. And although Bitcoin and Ether were amongst the first cryptocurrencies to gain real traction, all subsequent cryptocurrencies fall under the umbrella of Blockchain 1.0. It is for this reason that Melanie contends that it makes absolute sense to align Blockchain 1.0 with that of digital currencies, payments and applications.
Blockchain 2.0 (2010)
The second iteration, or tier, of blockchain, emerged when our thought leaders began to realise that blockchain technology could be applied, with real-world benefits, outside of the sphere of cryptocurrencies, but still within the confines of the financial industry. Blockchain Tier 2.0, therefore, encapsulates the world of financial services, including smart contracts, as well as more recent blockchain-powered platforms, the likes of Ethereum. We’ll explore Ethereum in more detail, later in this series.
Blockchain 3.0 (2012)
The third and more recent iteration of blockchain, Blockchain 3.0, defines how blockchain has come to disrupt business models and practices across all industry sectors, including the arts, media and healthcare among others.
In addition to the 3 tiers describes by Melanie, you may also have heard of Blockchain X, also referred to as Generation X.
Generation X refers to a utopian era within the realms of blockchain, where it is hoped that we’ll all one day have access to a public blockchain, providing trust-worthy, decentralised access to services that benefit society as a whole.
We’re not quite there yet, but who knows what will come to pass, it’s most definitely a nice idea.