Regulatory uncertainty holding back blockchain adoption

August 28, 2018
Chris Wheal

The main key for early blockchain adoption is regulatory clarity, according to a new survey of 600 executives from around the world by business advisory group PwC.


PwC survey shows regulatory and trust issues hold back industry adoption of blockchain

Nearly half of those surveyed – 48% – said that regulatory uncertainty was the biggest barrier for companies looking to adopt the distributed ledger technology.

Regulatory minefield

Global regulators have widely-differing approaches to the regulation of cryptocurrencies – the management of which is still blockchain’s most-prevalent application. Blockchain itself has met similar levels of adulation and suspicion in equal measure.

China has been particularly heavy-handed in its approach, while areas such as Malta and Switzerland’s Zug canton have welcomed blockchain and digital assets openly.

“There’s a lack of comfort regarding regulation,” the survey’s authors said. “The majority of regulators are still coming to terms with blockchain and cryptocurrency.

“Many territories have begun studying and discussing the issues, particularly as they relate to financial services, but the overall regulatory environment remains unsettled.”

Lacking trust

A further challenge to adoption of blockchain is trust, with 45% of respondents citing lack of knowledge and understanding of the concept. The technology’s role as a new form of infrastructure and as a way to digitise assets is not easy to explain, PwC said.

It added: “Think about other new technologies: users can try on virtual reality goggles or watch a drone take flight. But blockchain is abstract, technical and happening behind the scenes.”

Nevertheless, 84% of those polled in the survey said their organisations had some involvement with blockchain technology – whether just investigating its possibilities within their business environment or actively experimenting in the lab.

Of that 84%, some 20% were in the research stage, while 32% were developing applications. A tenth of them had entered into pilot programmes, while 15% were already running live projects.

Financial services was by far the biggest business sector to adopt blockchain, with 46% of the projects. Meanwhile, industrial and manufacturing and energy and utilities each with 12%. Next was healthcare with 11% and government with 8%.

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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