Blockchain Technology concept with 3d rendering chains connect to binary code background. Photo credit: Getty
In May 2018, Anoop Nannra, Cisco‘s head of their blockchain initiative told CNBC the company had stopped researching blockchain applications in financial services ‘because it will take a while for the many players in the complex markets to get up to speed’. Nannra also stated that instead, the team was investigating blockchain applications in supply chain management.
An opinion piece in Wired in February 2019 posited that ‘there’s no good reason to trust blockchain technology‘ and it all comes down to trust. Despite the enthusiasts, the deluge of industry events and niche podcasts around blockchain, there’s still a long way to go before there is mass adoption, usage and trust of the technology.
Arun Ghosh, KPMG US Blockchain Leader, says the primary inhibitor to blockchain is a limited understanding of how the technology works and when it is appropriate for a business to implement it.
“Blockchain is not the solution to every problem. In fact, believing blockchain can be implemented overnight — and without a legitimate business need — will lead to failures, disappointed executives, and scuttled budgets,” said Ghosh. “Instead, the mass adoption of blockchain requires a realistic context.”
“By defining the parameters of when and how to leverage blockchain to solve a business challenge, companies will appreciate and reap the benefits such as transformed processes, operational efficiencies, cost savings, and potential new revenue streams,” adds Ghosh.
Ghosh says that businesses need to think about blockchain in the context of what they want to achieve – trust, transparency, and auditability – not as just a siloed solution.
Application of blockchain can be applied to a broad range of industries noted Ghosh. These include healthcare and life sciences, consumer and retail, and government – within business verticals, where we will see the initial impact is in procurement and the supply chain,” added Ghosh. “Digital-first businesses are looking to blockchain as a first-mover competitive advantage for their supply chains.”
“In an economy that is rooted in trust and transparency, these companies are working with blockchain to meet consumer demands,” said Ghosh.
Like any emerging technology, Ghosh says it’s impossible to predict how long it will take large enterprises with complex processes and multiple stakeholders to reach mass adoption.
According to a May 2019 survey by KMPG, 41 percent of tech leaders said that blockchain will change how their companies do business in the next three years. But 24 percent said that the biggest challenge to that adoption is an unproven business case.
“We are optimistic about the impact blockchain will have in the near future,” said Ghosh. “Blockchain is ubiquitous now. That’s why we expect adoption to increase in the near term – it’s currently commercialized, available and affordable, which will accelerate adoption.
Still, Ghosh says that blockchain is being implemented in more applications than most people realize – from supply chains to digital identity to new payments.
“As enterprises begin proving their concepts and scaling blockchain, there will be an increased understanding of when and where blockchain should be put to use,” adds Ghosh.
Ghosh says that blockchain will become similar to how we view cloud technologies – it’s not a matter of if blockchain will become part of a company’s technology stack, but when.