Three things to know
The adoption of blockchain continues to advance as users are eager to realize its benefits. Two of the more frequently discussed benefits, lower costs and faster speeds, form the cornerstones of two significant developments. A third benefit, and less often discussed, is the increased competitiveness provided by blockchain.
Lower costs are a big reason the Chinese government is transitioning its social security program to blockchain. By year-end 2016, this fund is expected to total more than $356 billion. Specific cost projects were not mentioned, but a quick analysis shows that any cost savings will likely be significant.
Speed is at the core of the use case for the first blockchain-based trade finance deal. Barclays helped an Irish agriculture consortium to trade butter and milk with a foreign company. One benefit was immediately obvious. The process, which once required between 7 and 10 business days, was complete in less than 4 hours. Additionally, the transaction provided auditable records, more security, and was more reliable.
Credit unions across the country decided it they could no longer sit back and allow the global banks to set the technology standards. Credit unions got together to form their own version of the financial services blockchain consortium “R3”. The consortium, known as the CU Ledger project, is focused on using blockchain to enhance consumer offerings. One of the first areas they will consider is security. While the benefits of blockchain are attractive, this is a move to increase the competitiveness of credit unions as they square off against traditional banks.
The pace of blockchain adoption is accelerating. Blockchain practitioners often hear that adoption will be limited and is as much as a decade away. These cases demonstrate that tangible benefits are being realized through a variety of applications. Are the estimates of widespread adoption being 5 to 10 years off accurate? Only time will tell, but based on these developments, the smart money may be taking the under.
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