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Give Blockchain Five Years, Says Development Consortium

Mainstream adoption of blockchain technologies could take another five years, as developers and stakeholders continue to work to develop uses for the distributed ledger.

That’s according to the findings of research published by the Post-Trade Distributed Ledger Group, a consortium of companies exploring future applications for blockchain technologies.

The consortium, which brings together a number of participating member companies and bodies, conducted a survey of its members, with more than 50 percent reporting the five-year timeline for blockchain to reach critical mass.

The technology could have significant ramifications for industry processes across sectors including banking, government, property rights management, financial trading, agriculture, shipping and beyond.

While 2016 saw the technology gain significant traction in its testing phases, the majority of the group feels there may be more development years to come as developers progress to more viable, tested end use cases.

Although the majority felt a five-year timeline was the most realistic projection, some 29 percent felt that the tech would be mainstream-ready in just one or two years, tying in with the more ambitious analyst forecasts for a wider deployment.

The group was founded in late 2015, and brings together 45 different organizations, including stock exchanges, banks and other corporate interests. Asked about the value they place on the project, the survey concluded that some 20 percent of members felt it was “very” important, with a further 34 percent saying it was a “high priority” for their business.

One partner organization, State Street, felt that by working to overcome caution among regulators and industry bodies, the group could help pioneer the widespread adoption of the technology.

“The survey shows that blockchain could become mainstream in just a couple of years, with benefits such as better transparency, shorter settlement cycles and cost savings clearly identified by our members. The big barrier to growth, however, is seen as caution: fears over adoption and hesitation about embracing what remains cutting-edge technology.”

Analysts expect 2017 to see an uptick in research and development activity, as companies and blockchain consortiums ramp up testing ahead of wider implementation.

With so many insiders now confident of a resolution within at most five years, it now seems that the clock is counting down to the industry-defining benefits that could be unlocked through the blockchain.

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