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China to Top Global Blockchain Use, Lack of Trust is a Major Barrier – PwC

Most of the 600 executives who participated in a PwC 2018 survey say their organisations have at least some involvement with blockchain technology. Precisely, 84% of the polled respondents, who are from 15 territories, are actively involved with blockchain though only 15% of such organizations represented are live with the technology at this point.

The finding is encouraging considering that it keys into a Gartner forecast that blockchain will generate an annual business value of more than US$3 tln by 2030. PwC too, is also looking at the possibility that by 2030, between 10% to 20% of global economic infrastructure will be running on blockchain-based systems. The projected huge leap seems feasible going by the outcome of the survey which shows that several companies that currently have up to 32% and 10% involvement with blockchain are at the development and pilot stages respectively.

However, regulatory uncertainty (48%), lack of trust among users (45%) and ability to bring networks together (44%), among others, stand as the biggest barriers to blockchain adoption according to the executives. Other challenges include the separate blockchains not working together, intellectual property concerns and the inability of the platforms to scale.

Blockchain is not fully trusted because of a lack of understanding which leads to lack of confidence in it just like any emerging technology. Also, there are concerns about blockchain’s reliability, speed, security and scalability as well as a lack of standardisation and the potential lack of interoperability with other blockchains.

To overcome the trust issue, businesses are encouraged to make a strategic clarity case for their blockchain initiative to ensure a purpose that participants can align with; build an industry ecosystem even including competitors; set the right rules of engagement; and meet regulatory requirements as they evolve.

A portion of the survey report says:

“Of our survey respondents, 62% report having a blockchain project underway. This is an impressive sign of progress. But for these companies, as well as those that are still in the research stage or that have yet to dip a toe in the water (the latter two categories encompass 34% of our respondents), getting the business case right can set them up for future success.”

Aside financial services (46%), other industries viewed as emerging leaders in blockchain use are industrial products and manufacturing (12%), energy and utilities (12%) and healthcare (11%).

The finding also shows that as at 2018, the US (29%) tops the list of territories seen as blockchain leaders today followed by China (18%), Australia (7%) and Japan (6%). However, PwC projects that between 2021 and 2023, China will be on top by capturing 30% of the market while the US maintains 18% share.

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