Exploring the commercial advantages of blockchain technologies
The initial commercial interest in cryptocurrency IT infrastructure was the potential to enable an alternative to government-backed fiat currencies. However, now most of the forward-looking focus is on blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underpins the new applications.
Although deployments are still very much in the realm of the early adopter, blockchain has proven advantages across several vertical industries: it is safe, decentralised, transparent and can reduce intermediary costs.
Blockchain use case market development
While many CIOs and CTOs believe that blockchain likely has a way to go before becoming a mainstream technology within their sector, five compelling use cases across asset tracking, financial services and digital identity are already in production.
They offer valuable business process improvements to the pioneering organisation that has already deployed a blockchain — whether in terms of increased efficiency, reduced fees and fraud, or full transparency across the whole network.
According to the latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research, the total value of B2B cross-border payments immutably stored on a blockchain will exceed $4.4 trillion by 2024 — that’s up from $171 billion in 2019.
Blockchain enables real-time clearing and settlement for B2B transactions, while offering increased transparency and reduced costs. These practical applications can deliver significant other benefits.
The new research revealed that financial institutions will save $7 billion by 2024, due to the automation of ‘Know Your Customer’ checks, allied to the involvement of blockchain in identifying users via self-sovereign identity.
Juniper Research assessed 15 leading blockchain vendors, scoring them on experience in the sector, marketing efforts and customer deployments along with their blockchain solutions. Juniper identified the 5 leading vendors as follows: IBM, Infosys Finacle, Guardtime, R3 and Ripple.
The analyst research scored IBM highly for its diverse blockchain solutions in production, with a strong client base for many vertical industries. Additionally, Infosys Finacle has established itself as a leading blockchain provider for financial institutions, with global partners and popular solutions.
“The implementation of blockchain is part of a wider strategy for financial institutions to digitally transform operations,” said Dr Morgane Kimmich, research analyst at Juniper Research. “Blockchain will enable stakeholders to reduce operational costs in a competitive market that is becoming increasingly commoditised.”
The research found that Ripple, Visa and IBM are driving blockchain innovation in cross-border payments. Ripple has led the market since 2012, capitalising on its early mover advantage to grow to over 200 financial institution partners in 2019.
Outlook for blockchain applications innovation
However, Ripple is facing increased competition from Visa B2B Connect and IBM Blockchain World Wire, which have already grown their presence in 60 countries and have high-profile partners in the financial services ecosystem.
Moreover, the Juniper analyst anticipates that both companies will continue to exploit their global presence, trusted brand names and established business partner networks to scale their solutions. These market leaders are experienced in market development, moving new product and service offerings beyond the early adopter segment. More deployment growth is sure to follow their lead.