Deloitte’s ” Tech Trends 2018 ” report has identified ‘Blockchain’ as a strong emerging opportunity in the technology space. The report discusses opportunities in blockchain along with other emerging areas including machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital reality .
Deloitte has identified six control principles essential for blockchain adoption on a global scale. “Tech Trends 2018″ included a section titled ” Blockchain to blockchains: Broad adoption and integration enter the realm of the possible .” The report draws our attention to Gartner’s prediction that distributed ledger technology’s business value-add will grow to $176 billion by 2025 , and the argument that blockchain technology is on a clear path toward broad adoption, with use cases of increasing scope, scale and complexity.
The report says that prescient technologists and business leaders see tremendous disruptive potential in this open, shared ledger platform. For example, public and private sector organizations might use it to share information selectively and securely with others, exchange assets, and proffer digital contracts. Individuals could use the technology to manage their financial, medical, and legal records—a scenario in which blockchain might eventually replace banks, credit agencies, and other traditional intermediaries as the gatekeeper of trust and reputation.
Blockchain is now finding applications in every region and sector. For example:
- Europe’s largest shipping port, Rotterdam, has launched a research lab to explore the technology’s applications in logistics.3
- Utilities in North America and Europe are using blockchain to trade energy futures and manage billing at electric vehicle charging stations.4
- Blockchain is disrupting social media by giving users an opportunity to own and control their images and content.5
- Blockchain consortiums—including the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, Hyperledger Project, R3, and B3i—are developing an array of enterprise blockchain solutions.
Enterprise distributed ledger solutions are being developed by major industry groups: Quorum , developed by JPMorgan, is an open-source, enterprise-ready blockchain and smart contracts platform created specifically to meet the needs of the financial services industry. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, and partner firms and organizations are leveraging distributed ledgers to develop proof-of-concept (PoC) smart platforms for trade finance, mortgage applications and digital identification.
According to the report, in the latest blockchain trend that will unfold over the next 18 to 24 months, expect to see more organizations push beyond these obstacles and turn initial use cases and PoCs into fully deployed production solutions. Though the tactics they use to achieve this goal may differ by sector and unique need, many will likely embrace three approaches that, together, comprise the latest blockchain trend:
- Focus blockchain development resources on use cases with a clear path to commercialization
- Push for standardization in technology, business processes, and talent skillsets
- Work to integrate and coordinate multiple blockchains within a value chain
“Our view is that technology makes sense only if you have common standards for interacting digitally, like those developed for the internet,” noted Michael Eitelwein, head of group enterprise architecture at Allianz, a global insurance and asset management firm. “If by working together we can eventually create common standards for blockchains processes, we will be able to remove a lot of inefficiency from digital business.”
Coming to Blcokchain’ global impact the report reads: While there are pockets of innovation in places such as Asia Pacific, Northern Europe, and Africa, many countries in Europe and Latin America are taking it slow, awaiting more standardization and regulation. The general expected time frame for adoption is two to five years, with some notable exceptions. Most regions have seen an uptick in proof-of-concept and pilot activity, mostly by financial institutions working with blockchain start-ups. A few countries in Africa and Northern Europe are exploring national digital currencies and blockchain-based online payment platforms. In Asia Pacific, several countries are setting up blockchains to facilitate cross-border payments. The Middle East, while bullish on blockchain’s potential—Dubai has announced its intention to be the first blockchain-powered government by 2020, for example16—finds itself in the very early phases of adoption; widespread adoption is expected to take up to five years in the region.
The report further says that, in most regions, the main barrier to adoption is public skepticism as well as concerns about regulation. However, as consortiums, governments, and organizations continue to develop use cases for smart contracts, and the public becomes more educated on potential benefits, viable blockchain applications should continue to evolve around the world.
“With the initial hype surrounding blockchain [technology] beginning to wane, more companies are developing solid use cases and exploring opportunities for blockchain commercialization,” reads Deloitte’s report. “Indeed, a few early adopters are even pushing PoCs into full production. Though a lack of standardization in technology and skills may present short-term challenges, expect broader adoption technology to advance steadily in the coming years as companies push beyond these obstacles and work toward integrating and coordinating multiple blockchains within a single value chain.”