Report Highlights Global Growth in Blockchain Technology Despite Regulatory Barriers

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Emma Okonji

A recent research report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a multinational professional services company has revealed the rapid growth of Blockchain Technology, despite regulatory barriers which tend to stifle its growth.

The research survey which was carried out on 600 executives in 15 countries of the world, provided 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.

A quarter of the executives surveyed, reported blockchain implementation pilot in progress. Almost a third, which is about 32 per cent have projects in development and a fifth, about 20 per cent are in research mode.

The US with 29 per cent penetration in blockchain technology, China 18 per cent, Australia seven per cent, are perceived as the most advanced currently in developing blockchain projects. However, within three to five years, respondents believe China would overtake the US with 30 per cent penetration, thus shifting the early centre of influence and activity from the US and Europe.

The survey reflected the early dominance of financial services developments in blockchain with 46 per cent, identifying it as the leading sector currently and 41 per cent in near term of between 3-5 years. Sectors identified by respondents with emerging potential within 3-5 years include energy and utilities 14 per cent; healthcare 14 per cent and industrial manufacturing 12 per cent.

Analysing the report, the Advisory Partner and Chief Economist at PwC Nigeria, Dr. Andrew S. Nevin, said: “What business executive tell us is that no-one wants to be left behind by blockchain, even if at this early stage of its development, concerns on trust and regulation remain.

“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.”
Blockchain’s biggest benefits would be developed and delivered through shared industry wide platforms.
But the study noted that this won’t happen without industry specific companies, including competitors, agreeing common standards and operating together.

Despite the technology’s potential, respondents identified trust as one of the biggest blockers to blockchain’s adoption. About 45 per cent identified it as blocker to blockchain adoption, but 48 per cent believe its regulatory uncertainty. Concern about trust amongst users is highest in Singapore with 37 per cent, UAE 34 per cent and Hong Kong 35 per cent, reflecting in part the dominance of financial services in blockchain development. Concern about regulatory uncertainty was highest in Germany with 38 per cent, Australia 37 per cent and the UK 32 per cent, the report said.