Future of blockchain technology
The emerging Internet of Things (IoT) economy will likely continue its steady growth with both government and private sector organisations paying close attention to cloud technology and its enormous potential. Closely linked with IoT is blockchain. LUCAS AJANAKU writes on this emerging technology and its future as private and public organisations move to entrench transparency, profitability and others.
To the Managing Director, Accenture Technology, Nigeria, Olaniyi Tayo, if 2017 was the year of blockchain early adoption by mainstream businesses, 2018 to 2027 will be a decade when blockchain solutions will disrupt many industries across the world.
According to Accenture research, by 2025, blockchain will be considered mainstream and integral to the capital market and ecosystem.
An online platform, investopedia.com said:“A blockchain is a digitised, decentralised, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. … Originally developed as the accounting method for the virtual currency, Bitcoin, blockchains, which use what is known as distributed ledger technology (DLT), are appearing in a variety of commercial applications today.”
According to Tayo, blockchain offers the chance to truly rewrite the way companies and markets operate by delivering greater transparency and trust, removing redundant processes and revamping inefficient capabilities. Beyond simply automating old processes, blockchain eliminates steps and activities amongst businesses and facilitates the restructuring of traditional value chains.
From financial industry to healthcare, retail, oil and gas, manufacturing, trade, agriculture, blockchain is redefining ways businesses operate and leading to the ‘Internet of Value’.
“Accenture is at the forefront of blockchain innovation and its practical, real world application. We recently demonstrated our innovation in Lagos, Nigeria, in December last year. We provided business executives with a view of the blockchain-based technology landscape and its potential business applications. Our global team of experts works with each client to help build and execute smart strategies around effective use-cases and investment.
“Blockchain has the potential to drive profound, positive change. We are working closely with leaders from across a broad range of industries, governments, consortia, the academic community and our key technology alliances to move the technology forward so that, ultimately, it can help to improve the way the world lives and works,” Tayo said.
In the financial services industry, blockchain technology undermines the ‘middle-man’ business model. It makes it harder for fraud in transactions and so reduces the value of credibility lent by trusted intermediaries. Therefore, players in this industry will have to re-imagine their business models given this disruption in their value chain.
Oracle Nigeria Managing Director, Adebayo Sanni, agreed no less with Tayo on the power of blockchain as game changer, but stressed the need for data security as IoT gains more traction within the information communication technology (ICT) ecosystem.
He said: “Business and government have to remain relevant and competitive if they wish to participate on the global stage and the adoption of cloud and the technologies that surround it are instrumental. As an example, the Nigerian government has prioritised the need for transparency in both public and private sectors and one of the technologies set to address these issues is very likely to be blockchain.
“Blockchain-based solutions can potentially reduce corruption, and improve government operations efficiency and service delivery. At the same time, we also need to take data security and privacy seriously. In many countries, data sovereignty laws require government and businesses to keep their data in country and these challenges must be addressed if we are truly to transform and position Nigeria as a hotbed of technological innovation in Africa.
“In spite of these challenges, numerous companies are breaking tradition and creating disruptive waves. Many are creating solutions that are born in the cloud that allow for innovation through agility, quicker deployment and competitive pricing – all disrupting the market and continent in new ways.”
According to technology experts, the healthcare industry has high hopes for blockchain technology since interoperability, or the ability to securely share medical records across providers and patients, is the driving force behind many technology investments within healthcare. It is widely believed that blockchain will be the technology that will form the basis of securely creating and sharing medical records that will solve many of healthcare’s current issues of siloed stores of data that lead to the delays and administrative burden of sharing health information.
Every industry must start utilising blockchain technology as a foundation to explore the convergence of a variety of technological tools to address customer-centric needs and social problems that provide excellent business opportunities.
“Those that take advantage of this will be rewarded with a resilient and anti-fragile digital infrastructure that enables the cultivation of efficient ecosystems, better products and services, lower costs at scale and improved outcomes for all,” Accenture said.