The year 2016 has been a very active year for the Blockchain with several ideas and innovations flooding the industry. We have seen different creations by a lot of companies emerge, all presenting their functional real case uses for the disruptive technology.
Governments and banks have also not been left behind in the developmental processes of the Blockchain, as we have seen a number of tests and implementation of the Blockchain at these levels.
Reviewing the year ending 2016, principal consultant at Bankcoin Reserve Pty Ltd, Thomas McAlister, says that we have seen great exposure for Blockchain technology. According to McAlister, this exposure was mainly motivated by the race for market capture, as many companies made efforts to showcase their product within this emerging industry in order to achieve meaningful followership as early as possible.
Proof of Stake role to increase
McAlister thinks that 2017 will be a year of patent litigation and heavy negotiations as the dust begins to settle and pieces of the puzzle start becoming adjusted. McAlister believes this necessary for the industry to assume a proper formation.
“We have seen Proof of Work (POW) run its course and expose its limitations. I believe Proof of Stake (POS) will play a major dominant role in the market moving forward, in particular loans and deposits, superannuation and value asset exchange, which will essentially mean that a more stable and flexible financial instrument will become more visible. I am excited for what's to come in 2017.”
President at Crypto Consultant, Jason Cassidy, believes that 2016 will be remembered as the year that Blockchain technology's impact was felt beyond the realm of financial services.
According to Cassidy, healthcare, identification, real estate, voting, gaming, tourism and even gold all made news on a global scale, powered by Blockchain technology.
Cassidy also identifies some of the trends or events in the Blockchain space from this year that have helped define the landscape going into 2017.
Governments talk Blockchain
With the increased awareness of the technology and pressure to provide a legal framework, governments have begun taking a closer look at what a Blockchain is and what it can do for them. This acknowledgment, according to Cassidy, is an important development in the on-going story of global Bitcoin and Blockchain adoption.
Cassidy observes the perceived overwhelming trend of ICO's that poured into the Blockchain ecosystem, describing the phenomenon as hitting a new level of hype and awareness in 2016. So much so that many regulators across the world are now taking a closer look at this new investment mechanism.
“Every day we have a new Blockchain offering in the form of an ICO. It is now at the point where it is becoming a sub-industry of its own.”
Smart, but not brilliant contracts
Cassidy made reference to the DAO incidence which occurred around the middle of the year. He says that for many in the industry, the incidence was a watershed moment which brought about a controversy and ultimate decision that some feel goes against the very ethos of decentralization. He notes that few events had a more polarizing effect in the Blockchain industry, even making it into mainstream news.
The increase in Blockchain awareness is also a development which Cassidy sees as significant:
“Whether it is local meetups, facebook groups, educational courses or major conferences, Blockchain’s profile grew leaps and bounds over the past twelve months. Groups like Hyperledger are also helping growth in this vein by promoting collaboration across many levels.”
He also notes that major corporations are joining the fray by creating brand new Blockchain products and services and helping to ensure they are not disrupted by a competitor as industries of scale entered the Blockchain race en masse in 2016. “This is can only mean good things as the threshold of innovation is set to be challenged once again.”
More of the same?
As far as what the community can expect from the Blockchain space in 2017, Cassidy predicts a continuation of mainly the same processes.
Cassidy says that as adoption grows, many of these trends will continue to play out and inevitably give way to new ones.
“We are still in the bottom of the first inning of a nine-inning ball game with regards to where the technology is at.”
Two areas which he identifies as desperately requiring improvement next year is talent recruitment and education.
Talent and regulation
He says that the education will naturally filter down and help out the talent recruitment as more and more people enter the space. Cassidy notes that presently, there are too many people in the industry that do not yet possess a true understanding of what Blockchain is, giving rise to limitations on what can and cannot be done viably on a Blockchain. “Better education around the technology is critical,” he says.
Cassidy concludes by stating his belief that there will be more regulatory involvement in the realm of ICO's as currently, many investors who take part rarely possess the requisite knowledge about the technologies being promoted. This leaves investors in a situation where they are making less informed investment decisions.
“This is part and parcel of why I am working with regulators and other governments. There does need to be some level of protection to the investor. To offer this requires a better understanding of the process behind ICO's themselves and the technology behind each offering. This is where I come into the picture to offer that guidance. You can expect big things in 2017 for Blockchain technology. The future truly has never been brighter.”