Executives see US taking lead in blockchain adoption

June 08, 2018
Chris Wheal

The US is likely to see the greatest adoption of blockchain technology globally over the next two years, according to a survey of senior executives conducted by Ernst & Young.

EY polled 83 senior professionals from a variety of industries at its recent Global Blockchain Summit in New York, with 28% expecting the US to take the lead in blockchain adoption, ahead of China which ranked second with 18%, Japan (13%) and the UK (12%).

Professionals believe that the US will take the lead in blockchain adoption in the coming years: Wikimedia CommonsThose surveyed also reported that regulatory complexity is seen as a major obstacle to more widespread blockchain adoption. Sixty-one percent cited it as the biggest barrier to widespread adoption, followed by integration with legacy technology (51%) and a lack of general understanding of blockchain’s capabilities (49%).

Yet while regulatory complexity was viewed as a deterrent, respondents also cited changes to regulation as the primary driver for the integration of blockchain technology into the broader enterprise ecosystem (37%), followed by adoption of blockchain as a digital currency by top companies (23%) and acceptance of the technology among central banks (18%).

“As blockchain platforms become more mainstream, putting a robust governance model in place will be key,” commented Paul Brody, EY global innovation leader, blockchain technology.

“This coupled with establishing best practices for reviewing the integrity of cryptocurrencies and their applications can help build trust in the company’s underlying assets, ensuring stakeholder voices are heard and ultimately instilling greater investor confidence.”

Finance at the forefront

Among other survey findings, 60% of survey respondents expect the financial/professional services industry to see the most blockchain breakthroughs in the next two years. Within finance, the same percentage of respondents believe that the industry will gradually adopt blockchain technology within the next year, while a further 17% anticipate rapid adoption in this timeframe.

Respondents also stated ranked operational efficiencies as the main advantage of blockchain technology (28%), followed by a high level of transparency (18%) and trust in data integrity (16%). EY has itself recently launched a suite of blockchain audit technologies to assist performing in-depth reviews of cryptocurrency business transactions.

Brody added: “As blockchain adoption ramps up, we see four transitions driving the technology’s maturity. These are, one, transitioning from private to public networks to create an open system for all users; two, shifting from synchronisation to tokenisation to improve accuracy and reduce risk; three, moving from cryptocurrency to tokenised fiat currency to transfer value on public networks; and four, shifting from parallel separate systems to integration with laws and regulation from central banks and governments.

“With these developments blockchain could become fully operationalised into enterprises, leading to a surge in applications across industries.”

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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