Four out of five executives surveyed by PwC report blockchain initiatives underway.
- China to overtake US as leading blockchain developer within three to five years.
- Trust, regulatory uncertainty identified as biggest barriers to business adoption
As blockchain rewires business and commerce, the research provides one of the clearest signals yet of organisations’ fear of being left behind as blockchain developments accelerate globally opening up opportunities including reduced cost, greater speed and more transparency and traceability.
The survey reflects the early dominance of financial services developments in blockchain with 46% identifying it as the leading sector currently and 41% in near term (3-5 years). Sectors identified by respondents with emerging potential within 3-5 years include energy and utilities (14%), healthcare (14%) and industrial manufacturing (12%).
“A well – designed blockchain doesn’t just cut out intermediaries, it reduces costs, increases speed, reach, transparency and traceability for many business processes. The business case can be compelling, if organisations understand what their end game is in using the technology, and match that to their design.”
Despite the technology’s potential, respondents identified trust as one of the biggest blockers to blockchain’s adoption. 45% identified it as blocker to blockchain adoption: 48% believe its regulatory uncertainty. Concern about trust amongst users is highest in Singapore (37%); UAE (34%) and Hong Kong (35%), reflecting in part the dominance of financial services in blockchain development. Concern about regulatory uncertainty was highest in Germany (38%); Australia (37%) and the UK (32%).
- Make the business case: organisations can start small, but need to set out clearly the purpose of the initiative so other participants can identify and align around it.
- Build an ecosystem: Participants should come together from different companies in an industry to work on a common set of rules to govern blockchains. Of the 15% of survey respondents who already have live applications, 88% were either leaders or active members of a blockchain consortium.
- Design deliberately around what users can see and do: Partners need rules and standards for access permissions. Involving risk professionals including legal, compliance, cybersecurity – from the start will ensure blockchain frameworks that regulators and users can trust.
- Navigate regulatory uncertainty: The study warns that blockchain developers should watch but not wait as regulatory requirements will evolve over the coming years. It’s vital to engage with regulators to help shape how the environment evolves.
- The study examines the views of 600 executives in 15 countries: Australia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, HK, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, UAE, UK, US.
- 14% had no activity in place and 7% have paused their development.
- Of the 15% who already have live applications, 88% were leaders, or active members of consortia who were responsible for the blockchain infrastructure supporting their application. Companies that take a leadership role in a consortium have principal funding and control considerations, including IP ownership.
- Membership / Participation:Respondents also reported on the management of their use cases. Of those use cases, 40% have restricted access to participate (permissioned), and all participants are pre-qualified: 34% allow anyone to participate (permissionless): 26% take a hybrid approach (some data is private; some is open to everyone). Considering access to the blockchain, 40% are private; 28% hybrid and 32% have public access to read transactions on the blockchain.
Rowena MearleySenior Manager, Global CommunicationsUnited Kingdomrowena.firstname.lastname@example.org-+44 7952 715 739
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