Blockchain tech is still in the early stages, but companies such as IBM are rapidly coming up with a variety of ways to use it. Analysts have been suggesting use cases since bitcoin’s meteoric rise a couple years ago, but we are only just now starting to see some of those use cases implemented. Meanwhile experts continue to look years in the future in an attempt to predict where the technology will be used next.
Panelists discuss the future of blockchain tech
Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Graham attended the Money 20/20 conference this week to learn more about cryptoassets and blockchain tech. Among the panels he covered in his report on the conference were two focusing on the future of the technology. Experts shared their predictions for how the blockchain will be used more than 10 years from now and also about what they think the next phase for cryptoassets will be.
According to Graham, the general consensus about blockchain tech right now is a feeling of “optimism and excitement for what lies ahead. He also said experts see blockchain and distributed ledge technology as being in the early innings still, even though bitcoin, the first viable cryptocurrency, is now nearly 10 years old.
Blockchain tech in 2030
Graham feels the panel about the future of blockchain was the “most contentious” panel on the technology. BTCC Co-founder and CEO Bobby Lee faced off with IBM Blockchain Leader Dave Maddox, Juno Consultant Jill Carlson and Bloq Chairman and Co-founder Matthew Roszak. Each expert had their own view of what blockchain will look like in 2030.
For example, Lee said he hasn’t yet seen any use cases for blockchain beyond cryptocurrencies. He sees major limitations for blockchain that’s “truly unique and differentiated from traditional databases.” A true blockchain requires some information to be publicly verifiable.
Maddox disagreed with Lee, saying that IBM has already successfully implemented its blockchain strategy with more than 500 engagements and about 25 others in production. He mentioned one as a food trust network for Walmart, Carrefour and others in the food industry.
Carlson pointed out that confusion about the technology continues in both blockchain and cryptoassets. Roszak focused on the variety of tokens, which he expects to increase dramatically in the coming years as stablecoins, asset-backed tokens and many other types gain traction.
Blockchain tech on Wall Street
Graham also highlighted a panel which discussed using blockchain in the global finance industry. We have already seen a few implementations in this area, but more is probably coming down the pike.
For example, Jennifer Peve of the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation said they are considering how blockchain tech can change the way transactions are carried out. She said they’re also discussing ways distributed ledger technology is “uniquely qualified to solve pain points with the existing system,” Graham explained.
As far as specifics, Peve suggested that distributed ledgers will one day replace the current payment infrastructure. She added that attempts to place the blockchain on top of the current infrastructure haven’t worked and instead have resulted in added expenses.
Dave Morehead of Pantera Capital also pointed out that blockchain could reduce the fees associated with transactions, especially in cross-border payments. Meanwhile the technology could increase the number of transactions completed, thus improving the experience of users.
Another topic which arose during the panel discussion was securities tokens, which Igor Denisov of Polymath said could make it easier for all investors to make venture capital-type investments. Panelists also disproved the misconception that money launderers like to use cryptoassets.
Beyond the “dial-up days of crypto”
Another panel discussion on blockchain tech considered the near term for blockchain tech. Katie Haun of Andreessen Horowitz and Asiff Hirji of Coinbase talked about the next potential phase for cryptoassets.
According to Graham, Haun explained crypto’s potential as a way to provide financial services to the 2 million unbanked individuals around the globe. The world’s unbanked population not only doesn’t have bank accounts, but many lack the proper ID needed to open up an account. Hirji added that although fiat currencies aren’t bad, cryptoassets could fix some of the issues which prevent some of the world’s population from being able to participate in the financial system, such as high fees.
Panelists in this discussion also discussed stablecoins, which are pegged to more stable assets in order to reduce price volatility. Hirji sees stablecoins as a major step in crypto innovation, while Haun believes stablecoins are the key to “Internet 3.0,” Graham said. She equated the current state of cryptoassets with the “dial-up days of crypto,” adding that many people seem to think their current state is permanent rather than developing.
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