By 2022, $12.4 billion will be spent on developing use cases and blockchain solutions, with an annual growth of 76%.
It is with this consideration that the interesting report from Accenture, “Get the full picture – Assessing blockchain business value,” opens. Although the research is from 2019, its contents come back to the present day and trace the future of blockchain technology.
Blockchain is not just Bitcoin
For years, blockchain has been considered the underlying technology behind Bitcoin. That is undoubtedly true, but from the early days of Bitcoin to today, blockchain is making its way to other uses that have nothing to do with cryptocurrencies.
Accelerating the use of blockchain technology has also been helped by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The “craze” to make everything digital has led to the growth of use cases.
A recent survey by Deloitte, which showed that respondents thought digital currencies were alternatives to fiat currencies, went into detail about blockchain use cases, asking respondents which developments would bring the most value to their organizations.
Secure information exchange was cited in 45% of responses. Use related to digital currencies followed with 44%.
So these two figures alone are enough to understand that blockchain is not just about cryptocurrencies. Other use cases mentioned, which are taken in between 28% and 40%, include, for example, compliance with regulations, digitization of documents, the supply chain for internal traceability controls, anti-counterfeiting.
What’s holding back the adoption of blockchain solutions for businesses
Also, Deloitte asked the companies surveyed for greater adoption of blockchain and digital assets which areas of regulation need the most change.
- 68% of respondents indicated data and privacy issues;
- 57% cited industry regulations;
- 49% brought up internal controls.
- Only 37% pointed to taxes as an area in need of change.
Blockchain solutions: areas and cases
A chart from ACI Worldwide outlined the fields of use for blockchain, dividing them into four areas.
Digital currencies and fraud reduction
In this area are five applications:
- P2P loans;
Four additional use cases are included in this area:
- Loyalty programs;
- Supply Chain;
- Proof of identity;
- Intellectual Property.
That is perhaps one of the most common areas for blockchain usage. Again, five use cases are listed here.
- Private markets;
This last area is generally related to Ethereum’s blockchain, but other chains are also starting to develop smart contracts (soon to be the turn of Cardano). Either way, there are three use cases mentioned:
- Digital rights;
The disruptiveness of blockchain
This list does not pretend to be exhaustive. What is certain is that blockchain will play a central role in improving society in the years to come, and not only for its contribution to the spread of digital currencies, Bitcoin in the lead.
The strength of the blockchain lies in its decentralization and the fact that the data recorded is considered immutable, manipulation-proof. As mentioned, the pandemic and the need for a safer world, and not just a more digital one, have brought it to the center of several new projects, for example, in the medical field, to transmit patient data, create their medical records, and medical histories.
To cite one of the most recent applications, the immutability of the blockchain has led to the technology being considered to validate green passes, the certificates that Europe has put in place to attest to anti-covid vaccination. Currently, it is in the San Marino hub that this idea has become a reality. While the rest of Europe struggles with fake certificates always paid via blockchain, via Bitcoin, and purchased on the dark web, San Marino is experimenting with blockchain’s “good side” in this application.
It is not the solution to all evils
Blockchain is not the panacea for all evils. Already in its 2019 report, Accenture noted several aspects to consider when deciding to embark on a blockchain-based business. In addition to the opportunities, the risks should also be considered. In short, blockchain requires study and preparation, even in understanding whether it is the right technology for that individual use case or business.
Because blockchain today is like the internet in its early days: everyone knew it had great potential; it was just a matter of developing it. The years and advances in technology will help move in that direction.
As Huawei blockchain CFO Zhang Xiaojun recently said:
“Just like now, no one is asking what blockchain is or if they want it; instead, the general consensus is that blockchain is necessary.“