Following the recent publication of Deloitte’s 2018 Global Blockchain Survey, some interesting findings that comment on the blockchain sector are highlighted.
Advantages – Speed is seen as the most significant advantage of blockchain technology over existing technology.
Adoption – Only 46 percent of public sector workers surveyed believe the technology will disrupt their industry, while 64 percent of financial services believe the same.
Barriers – Regulatory issues makes the top of the list of barriers preventing blockchain investment by companies followed by replacement of legacy systems and potential security threats.
Disruption – A majority believe that blockchain technology will eventually disrupt their industry, although 39 percent stated that they believe blockchain technology to be overhyped.
A diverse range of companies within the blockchain space, Orvium; Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX); GECKO Governance; Ultra; qiibee; Streamr; aeternity; Ambrosus and AID:Tech, react on the findings and the potential impact of the research:-
Manuel Martin, Co-founder, and CEO of Orvium, the new open source decentralised platform that aims to revolutionize the academic publishing sector, says:
Blockchain has a significant advantage over any other information system, it enables the exchange of any kind of asset in trustless environments. This is the core disruption we are facing today. Most of the business models we are familiar with are based on intermediaries. This system fixes many issues but at the same time introduces inefficiencies. Blockchain technology is new and, as such, it still requires some time to evolve and mature. As a society we also need to develop our understanding of its full potential and applicability across a variety of sectors. In my opinion, our path to fully embrace the benefits of blockchain has just started and I am sure adoption will be as successful as it was for the web or more recently Big Data.”
Nick Cowan, CEO of the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), says:
Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt many sectors, but it’s still in its infancy. As the technology matures, it will become more prevalent across the board. Education plays a big part in helping build adoption. There is a big misunderstanding amongst a lot of people that blockchain equals bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies form only one small part of this ever evolving space. We foresee blockchain becoming a huge asset to a variety of sectors and some of those potential disruptions haven’t been thought of yet.”
Shane Brett, Co-founder, and CEO at GECKO Governance says:
There are a number of advantages to the adoption of blockchain for businesses, particularly in an era of lean operating models. Blockchain technology provides levels of security and transparency that are simply not achievable using traditional systems. Essentially, blockchain is a ledger on which information can be recorded securely, making it immutable and irreversible. The technology can benefit a number of sectors – financial compliance in particular. Blockchain can be used to assure regulatory bodies that their standards of compliance are being upheld.
There is undoubtedly a lack of understanding regarding the tremendous potential of blockchain technology to enable new levels of cross-sectoral innovation. It can be viewed either way – be it a resistance to change, or a lack of understanding, or fear of the unknown. Larger, more traditional organisations tend to be the last to adopt new business models or deploy new technologies for various different reasons. The Deloitte survey indicates that companies must see a compelling business case before tapping into the power of blockchain technology.
This rationale indicates that there is an underestimating in the positive effects blockchain technology can have on a business and the operational efficiencies they stand to gain from using it. Disruptors (as they are defined by the survey) more often than not have built their business models having been inspired by blockchain technology, and are positioning themselves to disrupt those organisations who are not taking the same approach.
The disparity in views on blockchain technology between different sectors does not come as a surprise when you consider that actors in each sector will have different motivations to use blockchain as well as varying understanding of the technology. The majority of respondents to this survey have backgrounds in the Financial Services, Technology or Media sectors, which to some extent, have been early adopters of the technology. These sectors provide fertile ground for blockchain innovation. That being said, there is an acute need for other sectors to be educated in the benefits of blockchain and how it can improve their businesses. It is encouraging to see new ‘disruptors’ emerging in each business sector, trialing the use of the technology. If this trend continues, it won’t be long before there is a pronounced increase in cross-sectoral understanding and adoption rates of the technology.”
David Hanson, Co-CEO of blockchain-powered gaming distribution platform Ultra says:
With any new and emerging technology, there is often an element of reluctance from the public, and companies, to embrace change. It’s still early days for blockchain, and as a result there can be a misconception around the technology and the potential it has to disrupt traditional industries such as banking, healthcare, education, and entertainment. This misconception goes hand-in-hand with the hype that often surrounds blockchain which is evident in the Deloitte report where although the majority of respondents believe that blockchain will eventually disrupt their industry, 39 percent also stated that they believe the technology to be overhyped.
In reality, blockchain has the ability to affect all industries the same way TCP/IP did. It is going to become the foundation of almost every business as it solves trust issues for B2B and B2C companies, as well as internally within companies and within governments. I believe we have barely scratched the surface of what blockchain can do beyond cryptocurrencies and every day we are discovering new ways to leverage it for different uses.”
Gianluca Giancola, Co-founder and Head of UX & Design at blockchain-powered loyalty ecosystem qiibee, says:
Blockchain technology has many advantages over traditional systems — the most significant being enhanced security. On the blockchain every transaction is encrypted and linked to the previous transaction and in order to change data every participant in the network needs to approve the change which makes it tamper-proof. More importantly, given that the data is stored across a network of computers, it is next to impossible for hackers to compromise the data. As indicated in the Deloitte report, speed is another major benefit of blockchain. With no intermediaries required, there is no need for paperwork, resulting in a much quicker transaction process.
However, despite all of the ‘hype’ and known benefits of blockchain, there is still a lack of understanding and, in some cases disbelief, from people. The report states that only 46 percent of public sector workers surveyed believe that the technology will disrupt their industry, while 64 percent of financial services believe the same. Although not surprising, these statistics are indicative of the disparity between different sectors where those working in banking and finance-related industries are, by and large, more aware of blockchain as it is widely reported on within that field. People who may have heard of ‘blockchain’ or ‘bitcoin’ but don’t necessarily understand the technology, tend to view it as too complex and shy away from it. However I believe this is likely to change once more industries grasp the technology’s potential to transform their business.”
Shiv Malik, Head of Strategy and Communications at blockchain-backed data platform Streamr, says:
By removing the need for highly regulated central trust parties, the potential for Blockchain to reduce the cost and speed of value transfers means we will soon be able to facilitate micro payments on a massive scale. This allows software infrastructure to be built in completely new ways. Everything from media consumption, utilities, the data economy, and insurance will likely change in the next 5-15 years because of this development.
People are both over and underestimating the change blockchain will have on their particular vertical. There has been plenty of hype and investment in the last few years about the potential of blockchain but the tangible results of those investments are yet to procure world changing applications – certainly not outside of Fintech. Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t come – it has to. It’s just that people’s expectations, not of what can be achieved but how fast it should be achieved, need to be tempered.
The first, most obvious and most successful use case of blockchain technology has been value transferring tokens i.e. crypto currencies. And so it is no wonder that a large majority of those in Fintech have realised their industry is likely to be disrupted because they have been able to witness this potential for change for many years now. 2017 was a real Cambrian explosion moment for blockchain use cases outside of Fintech, like chain of custody and decentralised computing storage and processing. Naturally, it will take time before other industries, in fact, any industry that deals with money, to recognise the disruptive power of blockchain technology.”
Speed is seen as the most significant advantage of blockchain , but what about security and transparency? It seems that their importance has either not been accepted, or that people do not perceive the need for increased security and transparency. It’s time that people recognize the need for a new model. Blockchain technology offers incredible opportunity, which should be exploited in full.
I do not believe that people underestimate the technology, but they have nothing to relate it to yet. Show a person that has not heard of blockchain technology a smart contract and it will be difficult for them to comprehend it. Adoption will come through education and usage, but this takes time. It seems that this is an issue that we are being confronted with. However, I am positive that more and more people will understand and support blockchain technology over the next 12 months.. We are happy to see the first efforts to embrace the technology coming through, but as believers in the technology, we are also patient and willing to give it the time it needs to reach maturity.
It’s clear that some of the skepticism and disbelief focused around blockchain stems from limited understanding, but this does not need to be seen as a negative, as it highlights the need for more distribution and understanding of the possibilities and the technology. We have witnessed similar reactions in the past the best examples being the skepticism around the potential of the internet and emails to revolutionise the way people communicated (sending a message without a physical letter or envelope – imagine!), payments with credit cards (plastic money), and so on. People just need to see a use case that will directly impact and improve their lives, and then they’ll rally behind the technology.
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that good things take time, and blockchain is here to stay!”
Angel Versetti, CEO of Ambrosus, says:
The main advantage offered by blockchain is that it is the only technology that can serve as a universally accepted and shared source of truth. The game-theoretical foundations of the network mean that it is in the best interest of all participants to maintain the honesty and integrity of the network, as each of them needs a repository of truth (whether that’s related to accounts and transfers or information about products or data-sets) and they rely upon the honesty and integrity of the network for their operations. As each stakeholder/actor needs that from others, they are required to behave honestly themselves. This philosophy of trust is inherent to blockchain, but not to traditional systems.
Before people can recognise the potential impact blockchain can have, there first needs to be more validation and adoption by the industry as a whole. People expect blockchain to be some sort of magic, and the concept itself is fairly abstract, so in the absence of visual or somehow tangible elements, it may be hard to change this perception. However, society took a similar attitude towards electricity when it was first discovered in the 19th century. Many people thought that electricity was unimportant and would not have a significant impact on industry or society as they could not see or understand it. However, just because you can’t see electricity doesn’t mean that it’s not fundamentally important to the society in which we live.
One issue that has damaged public perception of blockchain is the number of hype-driven companies in the sector that generate negative impressions of the overall industry. However, the more that practical applications of blockchain are demonstrated and integrated, the more people’s perception will improve.
People’s views differ on the degree to which blockchain can disrupt different sectors, but this is largely down to the fact that the impact of the technology is staggered across various industries. For some sectors, such as finance, blockchain as a distributed ledger can already provide immediate value and benefits, whereas to have an impact on other use-cases, including supply chains, the energy sector, quality assurance, blockchain needs to be complemented by another technology stack, namely IoT. This is exactly what Ambrosus is working on.”
Joseph Thompson, CEO, and Co-founder of AID: Tech, says:
Transparency and traceability of data are the biggest advantages of blockchain compared to traditional systems. The fact that records are automatically, cryptographically and permanently documented means that users and administrators can rely on the platform to action any record keeping. This is what makes speed a benefit over existing technology and there are huge implications on common processes, such as data capturing, management and dissemination — which are conventionally labour and resource intensive.
Outside of the financial sector, people are underestimating the effect blockchain is going to have on their industry. Arguably, this lies within the lack of comprehension surrounding blockchain. But this is understandable because blockchain is a complex technology. Until there are real-life use cases that are relevant to people’s day-to-day life, whether it is for work or for personal use, it is going to be hard to demystify and convince users.
The difference in views between different sectors can probably be attributed to the fact that the emergence of blockchain has historically been closely associated with financial instruments such as currency. It is only in recent years that the push for leveraging blockchain for non-financial sectors has become a key focus.”
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