Bitcoin continues its recent rise in value in the wake of the currency’s recent hard fork that led to the creation of a new currency, Bitcoin Cash, but Juniper Research sees blockchain technology as having more potential outside of cryptocurrency.
A recent whitepaper by the research firm focuses on new uses for blockchain, and makes the case that the brightest prospects in the sector came from deployments of private blockchain technologies for permissioned ledgers, rather than the public chains running cryptocurrencies. According to Juniper, much of the initial interest in cryptocurrencies centred around their potential as alternatives to fiat currencies, but increasingly, attention has shifted to the potential of the blockchain technology that underpins them.
A clear indication of blockchain’s increasing maturity is the extent to which an industry which was once the preserve of fintech start-ups is becoming crowded with Tier 1 technology platform providers, many of whom are developing their own offerings. IBM unveiled Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) for Developers in February 2016, for example, which is being used by Canada’s major banks to collaborate on a new shared service.
Juniper found that not only are many companies now actively considering blockchain deployments, a significant proportion are anticipating integration of blockchain into their systems. Among large companies (20,000 or more employees) considering deploying or were in the process of deploying blockchain, 54 per cent had reached the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage, and a further 16 per cent were involved in trial deployments of those companies in the PoC stage, two-thirds expected blockchain to be integrated into their systems by the end of 2018.
Juniper noted the “big four” consultancy firms – EY, KPMG, PwC and Deloitte – are all active in the blockchain space, with latter being the first mover with the release of its Rubix software platform in 2015.
The research firm believes the industries and use cases that will stand to benefit most from blockchain are those with a need for transparency and clarity in transactions, a current dependence on paper-based legacy storage systems, and a high volume of transmitted information.