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What is the future of blockchain?
By forumuser • 1 year, 10 months, 15 days ago.

According to Gartner, the business value-add of blockchain will grow to slightly more than $176 billion by 2025, and then it will exceed $3.1 trillion by 2030. Gartner does not expect large returns on blockchain until 2025.

Most current uses of blockchain are not disruptive, because, according to Gartner, "the majority of organizations that undertake blockchain projects find it hard to conceive of systems that are outside of their legacy, centralized models (both business models and technology platforms)." Yet a Gartner survey shows that 66 percent of business leaders believe blockchain is a business disruption and have set budgets accordingly; and 5 percent of those surveyed said they will spend over $10 million on blockchain. But a 2018 Gartner CIO survey of 3,000 CIOs from 98 countries found that "only 1 percent of CIOs indicated any kind of blockchain adoption within their organizations."

According to IDC, worldwide spending on blockchain solutions is forecast to reach $2.1 billion in 2018, more than double the $945 million spent in 2017. IDC expects blockchain spending to grow at a robust pace over the 2016 to 2021 forecast period with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 81.2 percent and total spending of $9.7 billion in 2021. "The United States will see the largest blockchain investments and deliver more than 40 percent of worldwide spending throughout the forecast. Western Europe will be the next largest region for blockchain spending, followed by China and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China)(APeJC). All nine regions covered in the spending guide will see phenomenal spending growth over the 2016 to 2021 forecast period with Latin America and Japan leading the way with CAGRs of 152.5 percent and 127.3 percent, respectively," per IDC.

Blockchain spending will be led by the financial sector ($754 million in 2018), driven largely by rapid adoption in the banking industry. The distribution and services sector ($510 million in 2018) will see strong investments from the retail and professional services industries while the manufacturing and resources sector ($448 million in 2018) will be driven by the discrete and process manufacturing industries. In the U.S., the distribution and services sector will see the largest blockchain investments. The financial services sector will be the leading driver in Western Europe, China, and APeJC. The industries that will see the fastest growth in blockchain spending will be professional services (85.8 percent CAGR), discrete manufacturing (84.3 percent CAGR), and the resource industries (83.9 percent CAGR). -- IDC

According to Venture Scanner, there are currently 1,008 blockchain startups that have raised $6.2 billion venture capital funding, across 333 funds and 75 countries.

To learn more about the industry's point of view on blockchain momentum by industry, adoption accelerators, enterprise benefits and challenges, I connected with one of Boston's top venture capital firms focusing on new emerging technologies, including blockchain.

Blockchain is in its infancy: Respondents believe the current state of the Blockchain Era is comparable to June 1997 during the Dot Com Era. Given the historical similarities, blockchain is still missing most of the key infrastructure and tooling to build applications, let alone good user experiences.

Blockchain is in its infancy

The promise of blockchain is enticing: People believe that the promise of blockchain is to provide decentralized control, trust, transparency, enable new business models, and ensure data resiliency will accelerate its adoption.

Enterprise blockchain adoption: Enterprises are excited about the promise of blockchain, and many like IBM are actively taking leadership in the space.

• 69 percent of respondents believe that the enterprise has very low ability to implement blockchain technology in their organization.

• 75 percent of people believe that private blockchains will accelerate adoption.

Enterprise adoption of Blockchain

"One of the most surprising results was that 78 percent of people believe that enterprise adoption was going to help accelerate overall blockchain adoption. It's actually a finding in the survey that we disagree with. And in at least one sign of why -- 69 percent believe the enterprise has very low ability to implement Blockchain.

Building on our 16 years of investing experience, surveys, and understanding the way Open Source and Cloud Computing have been adopted, the enterprise has generally been a laggard. We expect the same will be true of blockchain. We believe that the public blockchain will be the area of innovation, and the way that will come about is with startups." -- Michael Skok

Blockchain will disrupt countless industries: Top 10 sectors most susceptible to disruption by blockchain within the next five years:

1. Financial Transactions

2. Micro-payments

3. Banking

4. Supply Chain

5. Crowdfunding

6. Securities Trading

7. Voting

8. Healthcare

9. Cloud Storage

10. Virtual Property

Respondents identified 35 unique industries that they believe will be meaningfully disrupted in the next five years.

Top five factors accelerating blockchain adoption:

1. Data Resiliency

2. Transparency

3. New Business Models

4. Trust

5. Decentralized Control

Top five factors accelerating blockchain adoption

Top five factors hindering blockchain adoption:

1. Speculation

2. Stage of Development

3. Unproven Value

4. Regulation

5. Scalability -- 78 percent of people believe it will take at least 3 to 5 years for scalability to be resolved.

"The No. 1 problem people see as hindering blockchain adoption is scalability. 78 percent of people believe it will take at least 3 - 5 years for scalability to be solved. When asked how scalability will be solved on the protocol level, the responses were indecisive, showing there are still more questions than answers." -- Michael Skok

Top five factors hindering blockchain adoption

"The survey found that blockchain based applications are difficult to use. With Bitcoin and other cryptoassets providing the first application-level use cases on the blockchain, they've had the most focus to make them useable. 9 percent of people have found the difficulty an inhibitor to using wallets. While custodial exchanges make holding cryptoassets easy, given the quantity of hacks, 62 percent of people are uncomfortable with exchanges holding their cryptoassets." - UnderscoreVC Future of Blockchain Survey

Hundreds of companies are addressing the blockchain opportunities: Respondents recognize incumbents like IBM doing interesting things in the space and see some of the top up-and-coming companies as:

• Ethereum

• Ripple

• Circle

• Coinbase

• Consensys

• Sia

dApps, ICOs and Tokens: Respondents were split 50/50 when asked if every dApp will need its own individual token. According to Skok, this area of the survey was the most debated topic.

• While 60 percent of people believe the number of companies attempting a token offering in 2018 will be greater than 2017, only 17 percent of people believe ICOs will replace VC.

• One in three survey respondents had purchased tokens as part of an ICO. Of them, 56 percent are still holding their tokens and only 6 percent have traded back into a fiatcurrency.

• 61 percent of respondents believe there will be more than 10,000 cryptocurrencies within 10 years.

According to Skok, the need for tokens was a hot area of debate. Does each dApp need its own token? The answer is not clear at this time. Skok notes that the bubble with ICOs and tokens highlights a need for clearer regulations.

A need for blockchain regulations

There are thousands of data points in this survey that are not highlighted in this post. My conversation with Skok can be summarized by the following: We are super early, more research is required on blockchain infrastructure -- investing on improving existing blockchains versus newly designed blockchains, and consensus approaches for distributed apps and tokens.

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