Predicting technology trends has always been a favorite pastime of analysts, industry leaders and futurists. Some predictions turn out to be spectacularly wrong in hindsight – flying cars and Mars colonies by 1980, for instance – but if we limit ourselves to the near future and look at current trends instead of impractical flights of fancy, predictions can become more reliable. So, now that it’s nearly 2019, what could be the state of Blockchain by 2020?
1. A more realistic appreciation of Blockchain
Both businesses and non-corporate entities have taken note of Blockchain by now, but still find it hard to appreciate, let alone implement what it could do for them. This dithering is expected to be over in two years’ time.
In the meantime, they will have the benefit of reaping the rewards of both successful and failed pioneering attempts by and at other organizations. Investors will have learnt valuable lessons here as well, and much like in the dotcom era, the competitive Blockchain field will thin out as the hype begins to slow down. This maturity is a good thing because it weeds out the unrealistic adventurers and disappointing hypes.
2. Maturity will pave the way for innovation
While Blockchain technology is already an innovation by itself because it offers a combination of security and reliability to create distributed ledgers and/or virtually unfalsifiable records, its true innovation will lie in its application.
A more mature assessment of Blockchain and an increasing familiarity with the basics of this technology will lead to more practical innovations beyond cryptocurrencies. We have already spoken about some of these in the past, for fields as diverse as healthcare, education, justice, natural resources and IT security. More fields will follow in a chain reaction (pun unintended), such as manufacturing, city planning and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).
3. Fintech will still take the lead
Gartner estimates that by 2020, banks will already make $1 billion in profits from Blockchain-based products. Not only was Blockchain technology primarily designed as a platform for cryptocurrencies and financial disintermediation (i.e. the middle men such as banking and payment companies are cut from the equation), the finance industry will take the lead in its application for two reasons.
One reason is that finance is already completely dependent on IT with almost no physical assets and products. Any IT trend affects finance as one of its first stops along the way. Another is that implementing Blockchain-based solutions is a rational bid for survival against smaller and smarter competitors.
4. Blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) will strengthen one another
The main weakness of current-day IoT implementations is security. The main weakness of Blockchain today is that many people have a hard time picturing concrete fields where the technology can prove advantageous. But IoT has many practical examples from everyday life (e.g. your air conditioning system telling you when it’s time for repairs, or your fridge letting you know food is about to go bad), and Blockchain is secure through its encryption and being cloud-based.
With, again, Gartner expecting the number of IoT-capable devices to rise to 20 billion by 2020, Blockchain is a natural fit to protect these assets with reliable, unbreakable record keeping and offering a ‘single source of truth’ both for end-consumers and manufacturers.
5. Blockchain as an integral cornerstone of digital transformation
With digital transformations in full swing, driven both by nimble and new businesses as well as big companies that want to ready themselves for the future, Blockchain is often considered to be in the same ‘basket’ of emerging technologies like AI, IoT, Big Data analytics and edge computing.
In other words, a company that is considering adopting any one of these tech innovations is also very likely to adopt another. Professional IT expert Spiceworks estimate that 56% of all businesses across the West will have adopted or will be in the process of adopting Blockchain-based solutions by 2020. They give a figure of 84% for IoT, strengthening the case for the previous item on our list.
6. Blockchain technology will create new jobs
What started out as a passion project for IT professionals and developers about a decade ago has blossomed into a field of its own. Many Blockchain experts will be able to make a full-time living out of their specialization by 2020. This won’t be limited to developers, but will also include trainers, event organizers, salesforce, journalists and writers.
While Blockchain-based solutions may sideline some other jobs, e.g. manual record keeping or paper verification stamping, the new jobs they create look a good deal more exciting than the tasks they can replace.
Imagine how Blockchain could change your job, too.
New technologies create both excitement and uncertainty. We understand both. But have you ever considered how Blockchain-based solutions could change your job or could push your career in a different direction?
If you don’t just want to wait until it happens and be an active part of the change but you’re unsure where to start, we’re here to help. Investereum’s mission is to educate, create and implement Blockchain technology to the benefit of you and your business. So, you can drop us a line at any time. Let’s talk!