Blockchain is Everywhere: Present and Future
Blockchain technology is taking over the world. Originally used as a payment method, blockchain is now being applied in many other fields, including education, human resources management, document processing, etc. The global market of blockchain is constantly growing, thus inevitably gaining more and more attention in terms of investment, acceptance and regulation. At the same time, it involves more and more countries in the “blockchain race”. According to the results of recent IBM blockchain research, governmental institutions across the globe are exploring the usage of blockchain that can impact their judicial operations. Government authorities, e.g. public finance institutions, are looking at how blockchain can positively impact operations in various spheres such as financial, asset and contract management, as well as regulatory compliance. Let’s look closer at countries that already use blockchain, exploring the whole new world of opportunities it is bringing to them. A top blockchain user country is Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom has announced that it striving to become the first blockchain-powered government by 2020, primarily applying the technology in document processing, i.e. papers renewals, payments and visa applications. But Dubai is definitely not leading “blockchain race” solely. In the US, more precisely in the state of Delaware, the government has started a pilot feasibility project for companies’ registration, tracking governmental aid and shareholder communication on blockchains. Teams involved in the project are exploring how blockchains could facilitate borderless business operations such as companies’ registration across state borders or cross-state tax and fines information exchange. As for EU, major players i.e. Germany or France are wary of blockchain, but smaller countries like Estonia or Slovenia are becoming more and more active at the global blockchain market. E.g. the Estonian government has been introducing blockchain in a government sector since 2008 to provide secure and more efficient public services such as healthcare or legislation to its residents. Slovenia, a small country with a population of 2 million people, has been welcoming bitcoin businesses, including BTMs, with open arms, and has already earned the title of second most popular European country for Bitcoin (second only to the Isle of Man). As for less technologically developed countries, Pakistan and many others with an economy of similar size face the same problems of technological backwardness that stops the introduction of blockchain there. Thus, a stumbling block in the case of Pakistan is the imperfect network system as to this day only 28 percent of the country’s total population have access to the Internet. So, is blockchain really conquering the world or the growth of the trend is exaggerated? Recent observations lead us to the idea that the former is closer to the truth. As for future blockchain development, its steady growth can be achieved by coordinated efforts of government organizations and private sector jointly working on speeding up the pace of blockchain adoption across all industries. The role of private entities in this process is to encourage state institutions to embrace partnerships with private sectors in order to enhance their citizens’ trust, transparency and thinking in terms of progressive development under challenging conditions of the technological era.