Gartner colleagues Whit Andrews Homan Farahmand Martin Reynolds Scott Smith and I recently hosted a Gartner webinar that was especially lively thanks to the constant flow of great questions from a highly inquisitive audience. You can listen to the replay here: The Opportunities and Challenges Surrounding Blockchain
Enterprise interest in blockchain is alive and well as some 450 attendees participated on a mid-August day. The stimulating session points to a bright future for blockchain innovation.
While three fourths of organizations are trying to figure out the relevance and usefulness of blockchain, a full 11% already employ blockchain today.
See Figure 1 below for results from our informal webinar poll. These percentages are consistent with past formal Gartner surveys of CIOs and Blockchain Consulting and System Integration firms.
10 Key Areas of Blockchain Innovation
Much of our panel discussion highlighted the important role of blockchain innovation, which we categorize here into ten main areas. These are key to future maintream adoption of blockchain, and the integration of centralized services with decentralized applications:
- Analytics and Intelligence for on-chain and on/off chain data: for various use cases ranging from system performance, smart contract behavior, anti-money laundering, forensics, security monitoring, fraud detection and customer analytics.
- NFT Markets and Data; NFT marketplaces: Opensea Rarible NFTs and community (coins) for influencers, e.g, musicians, athletes Nft.Kred NFT data, e.g. Genome data Nebula new forms of NFT asset based securities, securitized debt; Drops NFT platform; Persistent storage ecosystems: Arweave Filecoin
- CeDeFi Services and Products driven by centralized companies wanting compliant protected access to DeFi: Sample vendors: AllianceBlock Bcware Templuminc Ciphertrace Defi Compli
- Tokenization of Real World Assets driven by new forms of liquidity and yields; Sample vendors: Fortunafi Centrifuge Legal issuance: DLA Piper Toko
- Blockchain Data Security and Trust; driven by ESG; for oil and gas sector – DataGumbo Context Labs
- Institutional Custody for Digital Assets, including wallets – driven by access to new digital financial products and CBDC evolution
- Retail Wallets (some with innovative ‘consumer friendly’ security protocols) driven by access to new digital financial products and CBDC evolution: Sample vendors/products: Conio Metamask
- Decentralized Identity Services (with centralized identity issuers); driven in part by financial inclusion, verified credentials, and access to credit; Sample projects Kiva Credit Bureau of the Future in Sierra Leone , Cardano National ID Blockchain in Ethiopia
- Blockchain Integration and Abstraction Middleware; Decentralized Oracle Networks (Hybrid Smart Contracts), Token Bridges. Sample products/orgs: Chainlink Api3 Lithium
- Enhanced Blockchain as a Service; supporting multiple clouds, multiple protocols and services for applications, and interoperability between blockchains and legacy systems. Consensys Kaleido Settlemint Vendia SimbaChain
It’s a lot to keep up with as innovative blockchain projects multiply to support on-ramps, off-ramps, bridges, interoperability, integration, secure off chain computing, secure persistent storage, abstraction layers, analytics, user interfaces, and more. These products and services will support new forms of assets, commerce, trade, trustworthy contracts, authenticated data, social structures, and democratized governance mechanisms.
From a developer point of view, these represent a lot of new components to keep up with. But that just means there are a lot more capabilities developers can imagine, build and deploy.
Web 3.0 and the decentralized Web really is a major leap forward. Given the plethora of existential problems we all face today, it represents one bright path out of them.
Figure 1: Blockchain Adoption amongst Enterprises today
Figure 2: Personal Knowledge of Blockchain Technology