While blockchain has yet to develop into its full potential, many investors and governments are enabling this nascent yet promising technology. This has led to blockchain becoming one of the world’s fastest growing industries.
A report from research firm Gartner predicts that the global value of the technology will grow to $176 billion (£133 billion) in 2025 and up to $3.1 trillion (£2.3 trillion) by 2030.
Today, there are numerous industries in the UK that are being impacted by blockchain. Here are four:
Financial services are at the forefront of blockchain disruptions. It’s currently utilised to propel all forms of money and secure transactions. Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra is set to be released next year and is expected to create global precedents. Here in the UK, TokenCard is one of the most promising blockchain based payment systems being implemented across the country, as the company allows clients to use a debit card to spend Ether tokens. As more people turn to cryptocurrencies in 2020, the financial industry will look for more ways to make paying easier and similar to how we currently spend traditional currencies.
Securing patient data over the blockchain is just the start of the many applications now being developed for the healthcare industry. In Forbes’ guide to 2020 blockchain trends, they detail how London-based startup MedicalChain “is already creating its own blockchain-based platform to store and share medical records”. This will better protect patient records from outside threats, as well as improve the secure sharing of data between hospitals. Another key use case is ending counterfeit drugs. By utilising the encryption and immutability of blockchain, the drug supply chain can become more visible and traceable’thwarting counterfeit trades.
The legal industry is a very inert one and is famous for being set in its ways. Yet, law firms are slowly catching up with the latest trends with Special Counsel outlining how technology is constantly reshaping the legal industry. And blockchain is fast becoming one of the most disruptive trends that are transforming how legal firms operate. Smart contracts are immutable, verifiable, and secure records which have numerous applications in the legal industry. In fact, the law is increasingly adapting to utilise these blockchain applications. A recent Law Commissions report on electronic signatures has ruled that signatures made on smart contracts can now come in the form of private keys which can be used to authenticate the contracts. Other applications include secure document notarisations, creating permanent public records, and embedding copyright restrictions. With contracts a central part of most legal issues, the integration of smart contracts using blockchain has the potential to completely transform how the industry works.
Mobile data sharing
CES 2020 Innovation honouree Blok on Blok are developing blockchain smartphones that will be available next year. Every application used through the phone will be encrypted through a blockchain. This will offer “an entirely decentralized ecosystem for users to have absolute control over their data”. This follows a trend of anonymous apps, like Ask FM 2, which is a blockchain social network. With privacy being one of the biggest issues facing the world, better protection for mobile devices will be a key industry target next year.