Blockchain Might Just Blow Up the World (and Work) as We Know It
In June 2019 it was reported that more than 4.5 billion people across the world have access to the internet. Vast areas of our lives are now based exclusively on digital output, written in a binary form of ones and zeros, all thanks to the rapid advancement of technology.
Blockchain was originally designed to become an alternative, electronic form of money. Blockchain technology, associated by many with cryptocurrencies, is an extensive field oscillating between computer science and cryptography. Its potential was quickly noticed by different industries, beyond the financial sector. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies were once heavily overinvested and because of lagging regulation, many investors lost a lot of money due to speculation. This generated backlash and a lot of bad press, with some analysts claiming blockchain is already past its prime. I think that might be short-changing the technology and its potential.
When evaluating (or perhaps re-evaluating) blockchain solutions, it’s important to put aside the crypto-scandal, because blockchain has a lot to offer. Of late, the media has been relatively quiet about it, which may not be a bad thing. Taking some time to let the hype subside so blockchain can effectively be reintroduced might be in everyone’s best interest. Especially because - since these scandals - advancements in blockchain technology have continued to develop. This is suggested by numerous signs in the market today. For instance:
- Governments are implementing blockchain within their administrations. The most recent example is Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates who put their land records and all property-related documents on a blockchain platform for storage and to improve records tracking. And they’re not the first ones to do so! The Republic of Georgia did something similar back in 2016 and as of 2018, 1.5 million land titles have been published on a blockchain there.
- There are also continued and increasing requests from private companies for Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). ICOs attract investments through the sale of company tokens. Technology maturity and increasing investments made in the ICO space are deliberate.
- And a continued interest and investment by business giants such as IBM, Walmart, Mastercard and even BMW. In fact, in March 2018, BMW partnered with a UK start-up to ensure the cobalt used in the production of their car batteries is ethically sourced. A large influx of continued investment by big firms like these is likely to entice smaller players to follow suit and explore blockchain solutions for themselves, which could finally lead to its widespread adoption.
The rise in Internet of Things devices across the world presents another opportunity for blockchain to pivot as these devices have to be re-evaluated to ensure they are not only properly secure and fully compatible but also serve as a conduit for more meaningful and productive work. For instance, smart contracts can automate a lot of the processes that now exist between human employees and the supervisory duties they carry out. Now, sensors can communicate with each other to fulfil pre-set conditions and automatically release signals that drive continuous business operations. This expedited and streamlined functionality free-up a human employee’s time otherwise spent chasing down signatures and approvals and allow them to do more meaningful work.
Market Research Analyst