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Blockchain Is An Extraordinarily Fast-Moving Phenomenon: Deloitte

Blockchain technology, the “distributed ledger” technology that underpins bitcoin, has the potential to make a great many things more secure and accountable, such as financial transactions, micropayments, IoT applications, health records, corporate audits and many others, observes David Schatsky & Craig Muraskin.

Schatsky and Muraskin shared their views on the blockchain technology in an article published on Deloitte University Press, title “Beyond Bitcoin: Blockchain is coming to disrupt your industry”.

“To avoid disruptive surprises or missed opportunities, strategists, planners, and decision makers across industries and business functions should pay heed now and begin to investigate applications of the technology”, the report says.

A billion dollars in venture capital has flowed to over 120 blockchain-related startups, with half that amount invested in the last 12 months, according to the report. However, it pointed out that the focus for VC investment has shifted from currency applications (example: payment processing) in 2014 to non-currency applications (example: smart contracts, securities settlement) by the end of Q3 2015.

The authors noted that the technology is young and changing very rapidly. While it is difficult to ascertain how it will be adopted across industries, current efforts in this direction (example: Nasdaq Linq; proof of concept developed by IBM and Samsung; partnership between blockchain-based record-keeping service Factom with a provider of medical-procedure ordering and billing services; partnership between Factom and the Honduras government to pilot a blockchain-based program to record land ownership in the country etc) give a good indication of where innovation is likely to emerge in the near future.

“The innovation group at Deloitte LLP will continue to track the emergence of new use cases and adoption by major companies and innovative upstarts”, said Schatsky and Muraskin.

They added that the group will be tracking industry alliances, such as the R3 blockchain consortium, and adoption by major companies, which will likely result in new applications emerging. It will also follow regulatory developments happening in the blockchain space, such as how the legal profession and courts view smart contracts, and whether technical solutions, such as those offered by startup Chainalysis, can smooth the way to regulatory compliance for blockchain-related activities.

“It may be a year or more before we begin to see significant commercial applications of the technology taking hold, but it is increasingly likely that over time many industries will feel its impact”, said Schatsky and Muraskin.

By Shampa Mani
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