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Deloitte: Blockchain is now seen as a critical focus for organisations


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2019 is on track to be a pivotal year for the creation of blockchain consortia.

A new survey from Deloitte has found significant shifts in attitudes towards blockchain between last year and this year. The results, from Deloitte's 2019 Global Blockchain Survey, echo the shifting focus that other big name surveys have found.

KPMG's own blockchain survey from the start of the year found that 2018 was the year organisations made up their minds on blockchain as a technology. In 2017, they were asking "can blockchain work?" but in 2019, they were asking "how can we use blockchain?"

Now, one of the main shifts between 2018 and 2019 highlighted in the Deloitte survey is that the organisations that started exploring blockchain really like what they see.

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Source: Deloitte 2019 Global Blockchain Survey

As you can see, most respondents made up their minds in 2018 that blockchain was going to be relevant for them. But between then and now, many of them concluded that it wasn't just relevant – it was critical.

Fun facts

One of the most telling statistics is that only 43% of respondents in 2019 (and 39% in 2018) agreed that "blockchain is overhyped." This suggests that most respondents are anticipating some absolutely Earth-shattering applications because blockchain has undeniably been super hyped up.

Over 80% of respondents agreed that they're planning to replace systems of records with blockchain – and there's a chance some already have – while between 80% and 90% agreed that they're already discussing or working on blockchain with other businesses in their value chain and that blockchain will eventually go mainstream.

There's an interesting gap in there, with 14% of respondents not agreeing with the statement that blockchain is scalable and will go mainstream, but only 6% of the same group saying blockchain will either not be relevant for them or that they were undecided.

This very roughly suggests that maybe 5% of organisations are only doing the blockchain thing to keep up appearances.

Obstacles to adoption

A question on obstacles to adoption clearly shows a shift in an understanding of what blockchain can do, and the current state of the industry.

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Source: Deloitte 2019 Global Blockchain Survey

The biggest improvements over the last year include the following:

  • Regulatory issues becoming much less of an obstacle
  • Actual implementation of blockchain seeming much more feasible
  • Potential security threats proving to be manageable
  • The return on investment being more demonstrable

But at the same time, businesses are still hungry for proven blockchain uses and a lack of in-house capabilities is turning out to be a tough problem to solve.

Concerns over sensitivity of competitive information are also growing, but this can be seen as a positive development which shows that more organisations have a good idea what their blockchain solutions are going to look like and are now grappling with issues specific to their desired data sharing applications.

Team sports

But blockchain is a team sport, and one of the main obstacles to implementation is finding other organisations to do the blockchain tango with.

As Deloitte put it:

"Joining consortia – coming together with others in your horizontal or vertical ecosystem, in common purpose – arguably may be blockchain's largest barrier to entry. Why is this so-called co-operation so difficult? Primarily, consortia require a shift in mindset: you must ally within your ecosystem – whether direct competitors or not – and work toward some greater good. Getting to that place can be difficult to reconcile."

Happily, more than 92% of Deloitte respondents are either currently in a consortium with competitors or are planning to be soon.

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Source: Deloitte 2019 Global Blockchain Survey

Incredibly, a whopping 25% of respondents say they're either already leading, or are planning to lead, a consortium, which sounds quite top-heavy – maybe there's still some room for improvement on teamwork skills.

But the most notable takeaway here is probably that over 40% of respondents are currently not involved in consortia, but are planning to be within the next 12 months. So, over the next 12 months, we can expect to see consortia participation rise from just 50% to 91%. This is a massive shift, and it looks like the next year will be a pivotal moment for the creation and adoption of working inter-organisational blockchains.

The window of opportunity to be an early-mover in blockchain is definitely closing fast.

What does the blockchain look like?

There's little agreement on what exactly a blockchain solution will look like, and most respondents appear to have indicated that their organisation's blockchain focus is multi-faceted.

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Source: Deloitte 2019 Global Blockchain Survey

The world is looking at a mish-mash of internal private blockchains, permissioned networks, public blockchains and the integration of multiple chains, and it looks like the future of blockchain will be very hybrid and very much in need of blockchain interoperability solutions.

Elsewhere, respondents suggested that they're open to whatever benefits blockchain might bring and aren't too fussed about homing in on specific benefits like cost-cutting or improved process efficiency. Rather, they're happy to sample a smorgasbord of whatever benefits blockchain can bring, including entirely new business models.

It looks like blockchain is in for a big 2019.

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Disclosure: The author holds BNB and BTC at the time of writing.

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