The questions in no longer ‘Will blockchain work?’ but, ‘How can we make blockchain work for us?’
There is no doubt that we are living in a digital world and blockchain is leading the future. The world’s largest businesses are offering blockchain solutions to billions who have never heard of this technology before.
Top brands are engaged
Last month Facebook announced that it will issue its own cryptocurrency, called Libra. This will give around 2 billion users easier access to blockchain. If Facebook succeeds with Libra, there will be a huge impact on customers considering the 27 companies listed as members of Libra Association (Visa, Uber, Spotify etc.)
The influence of blockchain goes beyond cryptocurrencies. TradeLens members – a joint venture of IBM and shipper Maersk that controls 60% of the world containership capacity – have also integrated blockchain into their systems. Customers of IBM’s Food Trust Ecosystem (including Walmart, Carrefour, Albertsons, etc.) are able to use a QR code in some retail locations to verify the source of their food using blockchain.
Apple’s iPhone has taken the first steps towards the blockchain world. The company launched the iPhone CryptoKit at the Worldwide Developers Conference. CryptoKit allows developers to implement hashing, key generation, exchange and encrypt on iOS apps. Even Samsung has integrated its Galaxy S10 model with a crypto wallet alongside decentralized apps, merchant payments and other blockchain features. Enabling a cryptocurrency wallet in a smartphone means that millions of people are introduced to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
There are a lot of other brands that are channeling their resources into blockchain projects. In fact, Forbes has announced a list of 50 companies that are working to adapt decentralized ledgers to their needs.
Activity continues unabated
Patent applications are regularly being filed in relation to blockchain and cryptocurrency. Some of the companies that have filed their applications are IBM, nChain, Walmart, Intel, Alibaba, Mastercard and Bank of America. Mastercard alone has applied for eighty blockchain-related patents. Sixteen patents have already granted. One of the patents consists of linking cryptocurrencies to traditional bank accounts and enhancing the privacy afforded by blockchain. The same has happened with Visa. Visa has filed fifty blockchain patent applications in relation to payment settlements related to crypto-trading. Walmart, which is one of the largest retailers has filed fifty patent applications that range from tracking shipments to operating drones. Walmart intends to commence requiring its suppliers to log their shipments on the blockchain.
Even while Initial Coin Offering activity has slowed, every month there are different projects being funded through ICOs. Apart from ICOs, Initial Exchange Offerings and Security Token Offerings are gaining ground. According to the Worldwide Semiannual Blockchain Spending Guide, the worldwide spending on blockchain solutions forecast shows that it will increase to nearly $2.9 billion in 2019. In 2022 blockchain spending is expected to continue growing to $12.4 billion.
Governments are embracing blockchain
Governments all over the world are experimenting with blockchain technology. The governments of Estonia and Dubai have set their goals for digitizing government records with blockchain technology. Dubai International Financial Center, Mashreq Bank and fintech firm Norbloc will launch a blockchain-based Know Your Customer (KYC) data-sharing consortium in 2020. The parties will establish a consortium agreement to amalgamate the KYC efforts of future participating financial institutions and government bodies. As regards Estonia, the government intends to grow the blockchain technology in the healthcare sector. All patients’ health records will be secured with the help of blockchain technology.
Moreover, Iran’s government has officially legalised crypto-mining and will soon vote to approve the electricity rate for mining. On the other hand, the Bank of China, has posted a pro-bitcoin infographic in their website. The post followed after Chinese courts legally recognized bitcoin, considering it digital property. If China will decide to open its doors to blockchain and crypto, this would be a huge step towards the globalization of blockchain technology.
The 2019 Global Blockchain Survey of Deloitte reports that the blockchain story is starting a new chapter. Blockchain technology is growing and gathering allies around the world and its ecosystem is building new products and services every day.