Gartner sees blockchain as top tech trend for 2020

Research and advisory firm Gartner listed blockchain as one of the top ten strategic technologies for 2020. It said public blockchains are presently too immature for enterprise deployment due to poor scalability and interoperability but expects the technology to overcome these issues by 2023.

However, it sees a current role for enterprise blockchain in digital transformation with “evolutionary and incremental improvements” in trust and transparency.

The report, ‘Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020’, suggests enterprises at the very least start evaluating distributed ledger technologies (DLT), if not adopting it, citing the technology’s potential for disruption and revenue generation.

The research firm says blockchain has the potential to reshape industries by enabling trust, providing transparency and enabling value exchange across businesses. Other benefits include a reduction in transaction costs and settlement times and improvements in cash flow.

One of the issues with enterprise blockchain currently is that most networks are permissioned and run by a central authority.

However, Gartner sees this as an evolutionary phase and expects permissioned blockchains to integrate with public blockchains in the future. A critical enterprise requirement is private transactions which are increasingly being enabled on public blockchains. The integration of private with public blockchains will be possible with technology improvements while still supporting the membership, governance and operating model requirements of permissioned blockchains.

Gartner listed eleven use cases for blockchain. Many relate to data such as asset tracking, provenance, and both internal and shared record-keeping. Several applications orient around finance and banking including payments/settlement, trade finance, trading and insurance claims. Other use cases have broader applications such as identity and know your client, IoT and smart cities, and loyalty and rewards.

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