Blockchain use on the rise despite Gartner survey showing otherwise
A study released by the American research and advisory company Gartner on May 3, 2018, revealed that a vast majority of surveyed Chief Information Officers (CIOs) reported their companies having little to no inclination towards adopting blockchain technology. A mere 1 percent of all surveyed CIOs confirmed their organizations were actively developing a blockchain-based platform.
— Gartner (@Gartner_inc) May 3, 2018
Gartner’s findings come at a time when the hype surrounding distributed ledger technology is perhaps at an all-time high worldwide, with governments such as India and China acknowledging its benefits. A fair number of US states have also expressed interest in it, with Delaware and Wyoming being the most blockchain-friendly in terms of regulation.
While blockchain has already found relevance in a number of industries, it can be argued that its full potential has not actually been realized yet. However, as with any new technology, distributed ledger tech will have to be carefully evaluated by companies before integrating it into core products and services.
David Furlonger, vice president and Gartner fellow, alluded to this as well, stating that “rushing into blockchain deployments could lead organizations to significant problems of failed innovation, wasted investment, rash decisions and even rejection of a game-changing technology.”
Nevertheless, the number of new blockchain-based developments continues to be on the rise and that includes currently niche applications by major technology companies.
One of the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturers, Huawei Technologies Ltd, is reportedly considering a blockchain-enabled handset that would be able to natively run decentralized applications. A couple months after those rumors surfaced, a technology startup named Blacture announced its own smartphone, ‘Motif’, with blockchain capabilities. The Android-based handset, developed in collaboration with industry experts and startup Zippie, allows blockchain-based payments for everyday transactions.
Another interesting application of blockchain technology is its application in the cobalt supply chain in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cobalt is an important constituent of lithium-ion batteries, commonly used in mobile phones and laptop computers.
However, the extraction process of Cobalt currently involves the employment of young children that pluck the metal by hand. To abolish this practice and keep track of the entire supply chain, a blockchain platform is currently in development by DLT Labs and Cobalt Blockchain Inc.
In terms of radicalizing the field of scientific research, the California Institute of Technology also announced a new initiative involving blockchain technology that would enable cellular biologists to share their findings with other academic institutions in a secure and transparent manner. Instead of relying on a traditional database for such complex data, a blockchain enables researchers to safely store datasets.
Blockchain-based applications are also starting to gain steam in relatively unconventional sectors such as sports and media. Formula One team Williams Martini Racing recently announced that it will soon be employing decentralized ledgers to log and track the overwhelming amount of data collected for any given driver and vehicle.
Slow adoption of blockchain technology
Addressing the problem of blockchain’s slow adoption, Mr. Furlonger believes that the cause is primarily because of how fundamentally disruptive the technology is.
“Blockchain technology requires an understanding of, at a fundamental level, aspects of security, law, value exchange, decentralized governance, process and commercial architectures,” Furlonger said.
The Gartner survey also revealed that blockchain trials and experimentation were highest at companies offering telecom, insurance, and financial services. Furthermore, businesses involved in supply chain and logistics are also more likely to give adopt the technology because of its unrivaled efficiency advantage.
Despite blockchain finding its way into relevance over the past couple of years, it is clear that it has a long way to go before finally achieving mainstream adoption. With sufficient research and development to implement the technology into less obvious applications though, distributed ledgers may finally become more ubiquitous.