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Blockchain Technology is Edging Up. Are You Ready to Adopt It? Move over POCs and pilots as it is time for some action

By Vanita D'souza

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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In the present decade, Blockchain has been one of the buzzwords across the globe as regulators, thought leaders and startups are busy discussing how could the distributed ledger technology (DLT) make our life easier.

Even though the technology is at its nascent stage and one needs to wait and watch how the future would pan out, in the end, it could be surely worth it.

Meanwhile, Entrepreneur India looks at key trends that are likely to share the future of blockchain in 2019:

Climbing the Ladder Up

In the last few years, we have seen many examples of Proofs of Concept (POCs) both in the domestic and international market and institutions have agreed that DLT will add value to the various sector.

Sharing an example of this, Jesse Chenard, CEO, MonetaGo says the US-based Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) announced earlier this year the completion of a study which demonstrated for that blockchain is capable of supporting average daily trading volumes in the US equity market.

"This equates to more than 100 million trades per day. As the DTCC is a premier post-trade market infrastructure, this was certainly well received by the financial services sector and is proof positive of the applicability of this technology for many different sectors of the economy," he shared.

As the world continues to understand more and more about the technology, he is optimistic that existing pilots are going to be heading to production and companies will be looking to take advantage of these systems for various operational reasons in order to become more secure and more efficient.

"Some of the earlier challenges regarding how to initially approach and apply the technology have now been addressing by the community. In fact, our own company MonetaGo deployed the first Hyperledger Fabric blockchain for multiple financial services companies earlier this year because we were able to demonstrate clear value propositions to those institutions," he said.

Regulators Nod

From the securities market to banking, lack of transparency is on the major challenges across the world and the watchdogs have realized that blockchain can solve this problem and are actively discussing the importance of sharing data.

From the SEC in the United States to the MAS in Singapore, and everywhere in between, Jesse Chenard, CEO, MonetaGo feels they are getting more comfortable with how financial institutions are looking to deploy DLT for everyday use and are spending a significant amount of time looking at POCs and engaging in pilots, as well as fostering projects and setting up sandboxes.

"Initial fears have by and large vanished and are being replaced not only with a permissive attitude but more and more with a desire to participate in the evolution of the distributed systems which can benefit the markets they regulate. In fact, in many areas we are seeing regulators leave the government sector in order to pursue careers in the private sector because they have realized that the regulations are not going to be stumbling blocks for the adoption of the technology," he added.

Even Raunaq Vaisoha, CEO, Elemential Labs' opinion echoes with the Chenard. Giving an example, of NSE as it attempts to leverage blockchain for E-Voting, he says the technology will "enable them (market players) to integrate with regulated parties and processes and create a transparent, real-time view for regulators without adding big overhead."

Talent Pool

In 2018, one of the key challenges among blockchain companies/startups was talent. As per to Upwork- a global freelancing website, demand for talent with skills in blockchain has been on a steady uptick to the tune of more than 2,000 per cent per quarter for three straight quarters as of Q1 2018.

But Vaisoha says a quick LinkedIn search will tell you there are roughly about 2000 engineers with a blockchain certification.

Having said that, the entrepreneur thinks the hunt for human resource is no longer going to be the industry top concern.

"The emergence of a strong tooling ecosystem supported by players such as Hyperledger, IBM, Corda and several start-ups has created collective knowledge and platforms to enable upskilling of our engineering talent. This means growth in available engineering talent for blockchain. This would also have a positive correlation with enabling maturity in blockchain technology and bringing more implementations to scale," he pointed out.

In Your Pocket

Experts believe that DLT technology based approval and audit process will revolutionize the financial services industry in 2019 and this can achieve early through integrating blockchain micro nodes in the phones.

Earlier this year, Taiwan-based HTC and Switzerland-based Sirin Labs, respectively announced their own version of blockchain smartphones.

In fact, mobile chipsets companies like Qualcomm are building a co-processor in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE).

Wondering how does it serve the purpose?

Kumar Kushal from Belfrics explains that in this secured processing zone, the phone manufacturers can install a separate secured OS and provided data storage and application framework creating applications with the user interface and transaction services which are not accessible through normal Android OS or applications.

"By creating a blockchain node in TEE of smartphone chipsets government and enterprises can create irrefutable digital approval processes to expedite business processes bringing unprecedented efficiencies. These custom smartphone applications are the authenticated conduit for financial transactions, performed step by step for businesses and retail customers, assisted remotely through a combination of human and robotic automation," he shared

This will also help you store crypto tokens in the phone while identity tokens can be used for signing smart contracts, as well as for authentication & authorization for various payment processes & approval processes.

"Just imagine our cabinet ministers and bureaucrats leveraging this technology. Issues are presented to them through secured user interfaces on their smartphones. With the clarity of approval timelines and access to all stakeholders at their fingertips through encrypted voice and video chats sessions, they can make faster decisions and approvals. This innovation uses immutable data capturing along with digital identity and biometrics on mobile phones to create faster approval processes in an enterprise with multiple stakeholders," Kushal added.

Vanita D'souza

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

I am a Mumbai-based journalist and have worked with media companies like The Dollar Business Magazine, Business Standard, etc.While on the other side, I am an avid reader who is a travel freak and has accepted foodism as my religion.

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