Consultants PwC surveyed 600 executives across fifteen territories about blockchain’s potential. The results published today reveal 84% of executives reported having blockchain projects in progress. At the same time, 45% believe trust could delay adoption.
Steve Davies, blockchain leader at PwC, said: “Businesses tell us that they don’t want to be left behind by blockchain, even if at this early stage of its development, concerns on trust and regulation remain. Blockchain by its very definition should engender trust. But in reality, companies confront trust issues at nearly every turn.”
He continued: “Creating and implementing blockchain to maximize its potential is not an IT project. It’s a transformation of business models, roles, and processes. It needs a clear business case and an ecosystem to support it; with rules, standards and flexibility to deal with regulatory change built in.”
Of the 84% who have blockchain projects, the status breaks down into: 15% live, 10% pilot, 32% development, 20% research, 7% paused.
Most of those involved in live blockchains (88%) participate in a blockchain consortium.
Financial services is still perceived as the leading sector by 46% of respondents, with energy and healthcare distant seconds (14%).
Executives view the US (29%) and China (18%) as the leading territories, but in three to five years that’s expected to switch around to US 18% and China 30%.
The study highlighted areas that require attention. Firstly it’s important to make the business case, it’s not about technology, and it’s evolution, not revolution. Secondly, there’s a need to build an industry ecosystem. Incorporate rules and standards, as well as legal, compliance and cybersecurity professionals. And finally, there’s a need to navigate regulatory uncertainty.
The trust challenges
PwC states that first there needs to be trust in the technology. Especially given doubts about reliability, speed, security, and scalability. There still a lot of misunderstanding about blockchain which doesn’t help. Part of the issue is because it’s relatively intangible or abstract.
One of the most significant issues is building trust in the network. It’s a challenge reaching a consensus on the design and governance of a blockchain-based model.
Finally, there’s significant uncertainty about the regulatory environment.
This year there have been numerous blockchain surveys. The results are quite diverse. PwC previously published results of a China survey.
Deloitte’s survey was one of the more optimistic, and Gartner‘s the most pessimistic. EY published research focused on the banking sector, and AxiomSL surveyed compliance executives.