Death or glory? Reports on the future of blockchain

August 01, 2018
Chris Wheal

Research reports on blockchain are proliferating at the same speed as the technology itself, and on Tuesday, two were published in the US with very different findings: blockchain has never been so healthy, or is on the verge of dying.

Blockchain technology ha attracted its devotees and critics in equal measure

New technologies are never short of devotees and critics in equal measure, but blockchain and the cryptocurrency universe it underpins have attracted more than their fair share of the tech headlines.

KPMG report

The first report: “The pulse of fintech”, by one of the big four global auditing companies KPMG, said that blockchain investment in the US in the first half of this year had exceeded the total seen in 2017.

Its report suggested that blockchain technology was “moving beyond experimentation” and had gathered “significant” investor attention in the first half. It added investments were focused on experienced companies that were seeking their second round of funding rather than entrants to the sector.

The report added that blockchain consortia were becoming a more common facet of the sector, in particulary those whose research and pilot tests were focused on trade finance and supply chain management.

Forrester Research

The second report by US market analysis firm Forrester Research suggested that the vast majority of blockchain projects launched by American companies would be abandoned in 2018.

Forrester Research estimated that 90% of blockchain projects would “never become part of a company’s operations” as they fail to establish effective use cases for the technology. They are now pulling out funding and scaling back their blockchain ambitions, the report said.

Back in November 2017, the research firm’s principal analyst Martha Bennett said: “Forrester sees 2018 to be the year of reckoning for blockchain initiatives.”

“Those who failed to translate the headlines into reality will write off their investments and give up, while others that have a deep understanding of the technology and its transformational potential in the long run will continue to forge ahead,” she added.

Hyped technology

Bernard Marr, author and regular contributor to Forbes, said at the same time in his 2018 predictions for blockchain that several initiatives would fail this year.

Explaining his rationale, Marr said: “With any hyped technology there is a danger that the compulsion to avoid missing out can prompt action which is overly hasty or badly conceived.”

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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