Biometric recognition is an integral component of modern identity management and access control systems. Due to the strong and permanent link between individuals and their biometric traits, exposure of enrolled users? biometric information to adversaries can seriously compromise biometric system security and user privacy. Numerous techniques have been proposed for biometric template protection over the last 20 years. While these techniques are theoretically sound, they seldom guarantee the desired noninvertibility, revocability, and nonlinkability properties without significantly degrading the recognition performance. The objective of this work is to analyze the factors contributing to this performance divide and highlight promising research directions to bridge this gap. The design of invariant biometric representations remains a fundamental problem, despite recent attempts to address this issue through feature adaptation schemes. The difficulty in estimating the statistical distribution of biometric features not only hinders the development of better template protection algorithms but also diminishes the ability to quantify the noninvertibility and nonlinkability of existing algorithms. Finally, achieving nonlinkability without the use of external secrets (e.g., passwords) continues to be a challenging proposition. Further research on the above issues is required to cross the chasm between theory and practice in biometric ?template protection.