2020 Vision: 7 Trends Bringing Blockchain Into Focus in the Year Ahead

This post is part of CoinDesk’s 2019 Year in Review, a collection of 100 op-eds, interviews and takes on the state of blockchain and the world. David L. Shrier is a futurist and globally recognized authority on financial innovation, with dual appointments at MIT and the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. His next book, Basic Blockchain, is being published in January 2020 by Little Brown (Hachette).

2020 brings us the start of a new decade, and with it comes the gradual maturation of blockchain technology, bringing it down from the stratosphere to tangible impact on real-world problems. We may be a turning point for the industry.

These seven trends are bellwethers for the industry’s health that I will be tracking in 2020, as we move from experimentation to implementation:

1. Blockchain, naturally

A challenge I have found over the past several years of educating blockchain entrepreneurs in over 130 countries in my work at MIT and University of Oxford is the need for more compelling use cases. Not just any use case, not just any scenario where distributed ledgers might be applicable, but natural uses cases where blockchain is clearly a superior platform versus other database technologies. I am hopeful that 2020 will bring a more acute perspective from the industry on where blockchain is best used and scaled.

2. Games people play

The $300 billion videogame industry and the $94 billion online gambling world (near-term projected growth) represent interesting application areas for blockchain.

John D’Agostino, founder of Digital Assets Working Group, says, “Gaming and commodification of the gaming experience” is what’s in for 2020. He goes on to state that he sees opportunity in “combining the theoretical fungibility, transparency and security of blockchain databases along with the ease and portability of tokens to create new markets for digitally native assets and experiences like online gaming.”

(What’s out, asserts D’Agostino, is…

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