Blockchain banks on cryptography and security protocols that brings very secure records storage on the forefront; which is nearly impossible to hack. The ability to secure transactions in competing environments, without trusted third parties makes blockchain distinct.
The prominent benefits blockchain technology brings to business are security and transparency hence this has huge relevance in several industries. The blockchain technology can revolutionize agriculture, banking, healthcare, education, e-mining, logistics, media and entertainment, real estate, retail, telecom and many more industries radically. Banking has already witnessed the benefits and almost every bank has started using this technology for diverse applications. Many more industries are following the suit thereby making it a cynosure technology of this age.
The blockchain juggernaut has been awe-inspiring since 2015 as world moved beyond cryptocurrencies into the enterprise solution bandwagon. New heights attained in last few years made this technology a revolution in the making. Blockchain offers a new perspective and a new lease of life to the technology world.
After a lot of promise, 2018 was rather a challenging year for the blockchain enthusiasts. Expectations had sky-rocketed after it became talk-of-the-town however few deterrents curtailed its massive adoption.
Investors and big players remained in wait and watch mode to see how things unfold as blockchain is still a rudimentary technology. Scalability and interoperability challenges faced by various blockchain platforms prolonged the wait. When the dots started to connect again, unrest in the crypto markets coupled with regulatory restrictions around the globe impacted the general sentiments. This turned the situation upside down.
These situational storms created a taciturn causing void and holding up next level of elevation. These challenges took some of its sheen away, however, blockchain is still poised to make waves as the impact it can bring makes it a frontrunner among path breaking technologies in today’s age.
Here’s what to expect in the next 12-24 months:
1. Beyond panacea syndrome: Blockchain hype had made entire world believe this is a panacea that will get rid of all the problems that exist on the planet; which is untrue. Blockchain has its own set of challenges. The impact it will bring is huge, however, it does not fit the bill in every solution.
The coming time will see practical approach and pragmatic solutions weaved around this technology as there is a lot more clarity on its application and benefits than ever before. It will not be run of the mill kind of situation anymore, rather diverse solutions that enhance trust among transacting parties in the competing environments will take center-stage. This is the most impactful sweet-spot of this technology.
2. Best of both the worlds solutions: The foremost stumbling block is the imbalance among security, scalability and decentralization. Wider adoption requires meticulous balance among these three to get best of both the worlds benefits. Researchers around the globe are working towards achieving scalability while preserving security and decentralization. Several solutions are on the horizon that will be game changer and infuse positivity in realizing the true potential this technology can bring.
“Devices compatible with blockchain, micropayments, stable coins, advanced protocols enabling interoperability, high scalability and amalgamation with AI and IoT will pave way to revolutionize industry in near future.”
3. Finance, supply-chain, logistics, cybersecurity and healthcare will lead the way: Blockchain will touch wider domains, however, these areas will be torch-bearers in the mass adoption due to the value addition blockchain brings. Infrastructure is already in place in most of these areas and blockchain has been an integral part of research in many. It’s time to give elevation to the wings and adopt this technology full-throttle.
4. Blockchain conjunction with IoT and AI: Blockchain, IoT and AI collaboration is need of the hour. IoT and AI need blockchain and in the same note blockchain is ready to tap opportunity that IoT and AI represent. With emergence of solutions around scalability and interoperability, world will witness huge inflow of their integration on the horizon. Together, they will create a beautiful world for us to cherish.
In few years, IoT devices will come shipped with blockchain at the core and network of IoT-blockchain devices will revolutionize enterprise solutions to a level not seen before. HTC Exodus is one such example that has seen the light of the day.
5. Bigger consortiums: Investors and big players are now proactively seeking new ways of incorporating this technology in new as well as legacy systems. Several major companies have partnered with blockchain technology providers, sponsored several research avenues and signed up on new consortiums. Hyperledger, R3 CEV, IBM, Post Trade Distributed Ledger, Ethereum Alliance, Bankchain and Oracle are some of the prominent consortiums. The list is growing exponentially and this is a great testimony that technology has moved beyond hype and proof-of-concept stage.
6. Micropayments: Blockchain provides a unique opportunity wherein all granular transactions can be done via wallet off-chain and tokens using micropayment channel. This will enable profitable models as blockchain offers miniscule brokerage compared to Visa or MasterCard. Complete transparency is maintained in blockchain providing trust among participating entities. Over and above, blockchain is known for zero tolerance on security hence pertinent for financial transactions.
7. Stable coins: Cryptocurrencies are volatile hence not apt for financial conversions and adoption. The answer is stable coins; which emerged recently. Stable coins have stable prices and do not get affected by currency volatility. This area of research and corresponding extension of regulatory framework will play a pivotal role in realizing true potential of blockchain technology in Fintech sector.
8. Interoperability: Blockchain networks and DApps have grown leaps and bounds. Blockchain interoperability aims to improve information sharing across diverse networks and DApps. We will witness new technologies that enables blockchain interoperability. There are already few that are helping the cause such as Aion, BlockNet, Phantasma, Polkadot and WanChain.
9. Off-chain components: Off-chain is a very important technology consideration and with a fully integrated enterprise solution; off-chain is especially a key decision in blockchain architecture. Every piece of information published to a stream can be on-chain or off-chain based on business need. There is a need for on-chain processing in critical actions however there are several ancillary actions that can be handled off-chain. Videos, images, libraries, validations, sanity check and large computing are apt candidates for off-chain consideration. On-chain and off-chain can be used within the same stream and various stream functions. This enables publishers to make the appropriate choices in a stream without compromising the speed. New age solutions will have significant automation and autonomy that will take it to the next level of excellence.
10. Regulations and tighter control: Several countries have now strict regulations that govern blockchain platforms. In the long run, speculations based cryptocurrencies mushroomed around the globe will get curtailed while genuine enterprise solutions will be promoted by the industry. Blockchain relevance is beyond cryptocurrencies hence this will be a much-awaited welcome news for technology proponents.
Crystal ball gazing
Research around the globe and charter of various consortiums formed in last few years have helped blockchain technology attain maturity and mettle to meet industry expectations. Devices compatible with blockchain, micropayments, stable coins, advanced protocols enabling interoperability, high scalability and amalgamation with AI and IoT will pave way to revolutionize industry in near future. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. After years of hype, curiosity, realism, reality-check and pragmatic-changes based on research and industry feedback, big leap of blockchain into the future will see the day of light soon. I can see it coming. Do you?
Harish Jaggi is Lab Chief at GlobalLogic India.
Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).