Market Insight

Blockchain Summit – Show Wrap-up

December 01, 2017

Don Tait Don Tait Principal Analyst, Cybersecurity & Digital ID

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This week my colleagues and I attended the Blockchain Summit in London at Olympia Conference Centre. There were over 2000 attendees at the day conference and exhibition. This was 1500 more than the anticipated number of attendees. There were also 70 speakers, 70 sponsors and exhibitors.

Conference themes

  • Increased interest across verticals – Interest is gathering rapidly for blockchain applications beyond the traditional finance and payments area.  Verticals such as healthcare, logistics, supply chain, pharmaceuticals and food have all seen an increase in trials around blockchains and potential use cases. However, commercial reality is still a bit further away for non-finance use cases.
  • Government and identity management - Blockchain can help government to improve identity management. Comparing with centralised database, the distributed nature of blockchain - decentralised database - would increase the data security and reduce identity fraud, as information stored on the ledger is encrypted at all times. This indicates blockchain can shift data ownership to individuals and allow them to grant government and other third parties to access the information, thereby increasing the transparency.
  • Smart city solutions - Blockchain will accelerate the development of smart cities and facilitate government to use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in city administration and services to improve aspects such as efficiency, security, the environment, citizen participation, the economy and others.
  • Collaboration and partnerships – To succeed in this brave new world of the blockchain companies cannot do everything by themselves. They will need to collaborate with one another and form partnerships.
  • Cryptocurrencies in a bubble– A number of attendees at the show thought that certain cryptocurrencies were overvalued and that sometime in the future there would be a market correction.
  • Tokens– The tokenised asset approach was mentioned by a number of speakers at the conference. Tokenisation is an intrinsic part of the blockchain technology that serves the purpose of platform identification and accessibility. The strength and identity of a blockchain product is most often represented by the characteristics of its token.
  • Healthcare – There are a number of inefficiencies in the healthcare and hospital environment. Blockchain in the healthcare sector for prescriptions and genomics were mentioned as good use cases for the technology. There are challenges for healthcare record sharing among hospitals and major healthcare organisations, as they have independent databases, which means patients need to re-register their details when relocate. Blockchain would help to build a sustainable database and enable record sharing through allowing citizens to manage their own healthcare record. Blockchain can also improve the drug traceability. Transactions between drug manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacists and patients can be tracked.

Our take

  • In summary, the summit was very well attended and there was a buzz around the venue. On the day of the summit Bitcoin even pushed through the $11,000 barrier.
  • Accountability and transparency are key things that are required for the blockchain to be a success in the future.
  • Everything does not need to be stored on a blockchain. In some instances, it makes more sense to have a centralized database.
  • No single vendor will win in this brave new world of blockchain. The successful companies will be those that collaborate with one another and provide solutions that are more cost effective and an improvement on what is available today.
  • Blockchain is a disruptive technology which is likely to change current business models in a lot of vertical markets. Watch this space in 2018!

 

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