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Blockchain Analysts: 2017 Take ‘Proof of Concept’ Into Production

As the new commercial year gets into full swing, analysts are predicting another big year for blockchain technology. Market analysts Greenwich Associates have gone a step further, calling 2017 the year blockchain technology moves from proof of concept into production phases.

The blockchain has numerous applications spanning a diverse range of industries and use cases, from financial trading and transactions through to the storage of medical records, shipping inventory and agriculture.

With the technology, which underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin, still very much in its infancy, Greenwich Associates have pinpointed 2017 as the year the tech finally breaks through. Over the course of the next 12 months, they suggest early models will move into more advanced testing and production, with an increasing number of market-ready models expected over the coming months.

The announcement comes as part of Greenwich Associates’ 2017 industry research notes, which cover some 10 market trends to look out for in the coming 12 months. The Connecticut-based company, which specializes in identifying market trends, had previously predicted up to $1 billion in support for blockchain businesses in 2016, which was by all accounts a promising year for the future of the technology.

While some analysts have suggested the blockchain could be veering toward being overhyped, the report’s author, Kevin McPartland, suggested that 2017 would be the year where production-ready technology finally gets the chance to see whether the excitement has been justified.

“Our blockchain research was the most-read by our capital markets clients in 2016,” he said. “In 2017, we'll finally start to see the rubber meet the road, with talk converting to real implementations ...The ability to transfer value around the world with no middleman continues to have the biggest appeal.”

With the end of 2016, blockchain developers have enjoyed their most productive year to date, with billions in funding and support from governments, multinationals and charities helping startups develop for the space.

As the technology continues to improve and these startups move closer to an execution phase, 2017 could just be the year of major breakthroughs for the blockchain and the distributed ledger.