According to PricewaterhouseCoopers 2018 Global Blockchain Survey, the percentage of companies that are actively experimenting with and developing blockchain systems stands at a whopping 84%.
This study is not the only source to confirm this wave of seemingly mass adoption among the private sector. Netscribes published a similar survey. And based on their findings, Netscribes predicts an annual growth figure of over 42% and nearly $4 billion in annual revenues within the next four years.
As PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) states, “Everyone is talking about blockchain, and no one wants to be left behind.” Along with AI, blockchain stands not only as a breakout technology but as a disruptive game changer that has enough potential to transform the entire landscape of commerce.
The introduction of distributed ledgers opens the door to an unprecedented level of security, transactional velocity, and automation capabilities. These qualities, particularly in relation to “smart contracts,” have attracted various industries and sectors including finance, energy, media, automotive, healthcare, supply management, and retail.
In yet another arena of technological innovation, we see efforts toward developing AI integration, particularly in relation to IoT (Internet of Things). It won’t take very long before we see an operational merging of blockchain and AI technologies. And when we do, it may transform the world faster than we think. Self-driving vehicles, thinking machines, and high-tech services in even the most remote and underdeveloped parts of the world are only a start.
How much of a challenge will integration pose when this new technology begins rolling out across a realm in which legacy systems define the existing infrastructure? Will it be a matter of absorbing short-term switching costs in order to gain long-term benefits that not only outweigh the costs but place companies who are adopting the technology into a more favorable and competitive footing?
Based on current institutional demeanor, we may be witnessing the dawn of another gold rush. This one comprised not of individual speculators or miners, but Fortune 500 companies, banking institutions, and government.
In the US, we occasionally hear how local state governments are testing blockchain’s operability across various departmental functions. What we may hear less of is how other nations have adopted the use of blockchain, and how such adoptions not only push blockchain to newer evolutionary heights but how such usage advances the adopting nations beyond a technological level at which the US may be falling behind.
Blockchain-based records and bill payment systems are already operational in Australia, Dubai, and Estonia. Dubai has begun converting its land registry to a blockchain system. Estonians now vote using their smartphones.
Ironically, in the global environment, blockchain is one area where the government has outpaced private business (it’s usually the other way around, as governments tend to move much more slowly). Just recently, Facebook revealed its own blockchain system development, one that may possibly even lead to the creation of its own digital coin. More revelations similar to this across a wider sphere of the private sector may be expected.
Not everyone is enthusiastic about blockchain. Some may even feel that its innovative functionalities are overrated. But all one has to do is to take a look around to see how business and government are reacting to this emerging technology.
If you look with clear eyes, you’ll see that blockchain is already beginning to change everything…and its full operationality hasn’t yet even begun.