Blockchain technology is celebrating ten years and in spite of the current turmoil, it still stands that it has the potential to become the most disruptive technology since the internet, transforming the way governments and businesses operate and interconnect. But are we close to the tipping point of mass adoption?
Why is it this technology has not yet completely transformed our world, considering the numerous initiatives that are under way? The devil is not in the technological details, but rather in the word just mentioned – transformation. Without a holistic transformational approach to the technology it will stay promising, not fulfilling its full potential.
Deloitte’s 2018 Blockchain Report suggests that the technology is getting closer to an outright breakthrough. The survey polled a sample of more than 1,000 senior executives in seven countries at companies with $500 million or more in annual revenue. 74% see a compelling business case and 34% have already started to integrate blockchain technology in their organization.
However, despite the respondents’ interest in blockchain’s capabilities, nearly 39% of the global sample said they believed blockchain was “overhyped”. In the United States, this number was even higher: 44% of the respondents view blockchain as overhyped, up from 34% in a 2016 survey by Deloitte.
In terms of technology, blockchain has already proven its value and there are production examples and consortia in almost every industry that are either live or have the mission statement to do so.
We now know that the technology works, and the yet to be released potential is clear: to fully reinvent how businesses and governments manage their transfer of value, be that personal information, currency or goods. Blockchain solutions can take both time and costs out of almost any process, enabling near real-time operations with a highdegree of accuracy and control. However, it will require a fundamental transformation in all parts of the value chain to establish new processes, commercial agreements and controls throughout the ecosystems. Hence, legacy and decentralization are not very well-matched.
So what is needed to make the transformation and move from tech hype to mass adoption? We see three necessary actions:
Be clear on the return of investment – regardless of if it comes in fiat currency, tokens, new business or efficiency in governmental processes. A fundamental step for transformation is to move forward from a technological focus, towards a business value-led multi-disciplinary approach. This requires a mind-set shift for senior leaders who are used to driving efficiencies and make technology investments for their own organisations. Thinking in terms of consortia, platforms and ecosystems is a new horizon and will take some time to mature.
Make regulators regulate – the current lack of regulatory clarity or standards related to e.g. KYC processes, ICOs and digital identity is holding back potential change.
Bring diversity to the table – skills within business, regulation, transformation, subject matter expertise, R&D, project management and more are needed from all genders and walks of life. A fundamental step for transformation is to move forward from a technological focus that mainly attracts a tech- savvy, and often likeminded, group and let people with diverse backgrounds apply their experience and competencies in the next step towards broader adoption. Because, there’s one thing we know for sure from these ten years of blockchain: decentralization works.
Philip Dunard Reuter
Deloitte is one of the world’s biggest professional services firms, serving four out of five Fortune Global 500® companies through a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries.
Image Credits: “Deloitte”