Edition: December 24th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS
- Excerpts from article by Bernard Marr, published on Forbes.com
Blockchain is one of the most exciting tech trends at the moment. It is a distributed, encrypted database model that has the potential to solve many problems related to online trust and security. Many people know it as the technology that underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in general.
However, its potential uses are far broader, encompassing digital “smart” contracts, logistics and supply chain provenance and security, and protection against identity theft.
There are countless other uses. Blockchain evangelists say it can potentially be used to improve security and integrity in any system that involves multiple parties sharing access to a database.
During 2022, spending on blockchain solutions by businesses is forecast to hit $11.7 billion.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest blockchain trends:
1. Green Blockchain Initiatives
- Blockchains can potentially use a lot of energy and create high levels of carbon emissions.
- For this very good reason, during 2022, we are likely to see a great deal of emphasis on attempts to “greenify” blockchain.
- There are a few ways this can be done, including carbon offsetting, although many people consider that this often equates to simply patching up a wound that shouldn’t have been caused in the first place.
- Another is by moving to less energy-intensive models of blockchain technology – typically those that rely on ‘proof-of-stake’ (POS) algorithms rather than ‘proof-of-work’ to generate consensus.
- Ethereum – the second best-known blockchain after Bitcoin – plans to move to a POS model during 2022.
2. Expanding Use Cases for Unique Digital Tokens (i.e. NFTs)
- Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) were the big news in the blockchain scene during 2021. An NFT is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data – a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos.
- They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency, and they are generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos.
- Astronomical prices achieved by artwork created plenty of headlines, placing the concept of unique digital tokens residing on blockchains firmly in the public consciousness.
- It’s also firmly taken hold in the music world, with artists releasing tracks in NFT format. But like blockchain in general, the idea has potential beyond it’s first publicity-grabbing use cases.
- NFTs in gaming are starting to take off in a big way too.
- Dolce & Gabbana and Nike have both created clothing and footwear that come with their own NFTs.
- And the metaverse concept – championed this year by Facebook, Microsoft, and Nvidia – brings plenty of opportunities for innovative NFT use cases.
3. Greater Global Adoption of Bitcoin & National Cryptocurrencies
- 2021 saw El Salvador become one of the first nations to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, meaning it can be accepted across the country to pay for goods and services, and businesses can use it to pay their employees.
- It is predicted that at least five developing countries will start to accept Bitcoin next year, driven by global inflation and growing remittance fees from financial “middlemen” organisations used to send money home by overseas workers.
- National cryptocurrencies – where central banks create their own coins that they can control, rather than adopting existing decentralised coins – are another area where we will see growth in 2022.
- These projects typically involve digital currencies that will operate alongside existing traditional currencies, allowing users to conduct their own transactions and manage their custody without relying on third-party service providers, while also allowing the central banks to maintain control over the circulating supply – keeping the value of the token pegged to the value of the country’s traditional currency.
4. Blockchain & IoT Integration
- Blockchain is hugely compatible with the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT) because it is great for creating records of interactions and transactions between machines.
- It can potentially help to solve many problems around security as well as scalability due to the automated, encrypted and immutable nature of blockchain ledgers and databases.
- It could even be used for machine-to-machine transactions – enabling micropayments to be made via cryptocurrencies when one machine or network needs to procure services from another.
- Innovation in this field is likely to be driven by the ongoing rollout of 5G networks, meaning greater connectivity between all manner of smart, networked equipment and appliances – not simply in terms of speed, but also new types of data transactions including blockchain transactions.
5. Use in Vaccine Manufacture & Tracking
- It’s now clear that tackling the COVID-19 global pandemic will continue to be a priority throughout 2022 and a key use case for many of this year’s top tech trends.
- Blockchain technology has several important potential use cases in vaccine tracking and distribution.
- In a world where counterfeiters are known to be creating and selling fake vaccines, blockchain means the authenticity of vaccine shipments can be proven, and their distribution can be traced to ensure they are arriving at their intended locations.
- There’s also a need to ensure integrity at every point of the supply chain.
- A pilot project showed how blockchain could potentially speed up the ability to recognise where a product recall might be needed.
- Breakthroughs that come about due to the unprecedented response to this pandemic are likely to go on to enable more use cases for blockchain technology in the manufacture, distribution, and management of vaccinations in 2022.
Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)