Blockchain enthusiast developer and writer. My telegram: ksshilov
We’re now in Spring 2020 and crypto isn’t dead (far from it!), unlike what most critics have predicted. The number of case studies where blockchain technologies found their market fit isn’t that big, sure (yes, that harsh reality is still the same right now), but the industry is doing quite well overall. Over the past few years, we’ve cut through the hype, eliminated the “get rich fast” scams, and continued improving our products.
But first, let’s summarize some of the fundamental facts about blockchain technology:
The number of crypto users:
Based on a Statista report, there are more than 42 million wallets registered so far (it’s still six times less than the 286 million accounts registered with PayPal), and we are still seeing linear growth. But this isn’t a very accurate metric for a few reasons: most of the wallets were created and never used, and some users have several wallets.
A more accurate analysis was conducted by Alex Lielacher in his article from Feb 2019. If we apply the same proportion to the current numbers, we’ll find that the possible number of active Bitcoin users should be around 33 million (1.3x growth since 2019). Given that Bitcoin is still the dominant coin, this amount is close to all active blockchain users.
TLDR: 33 million
The most active blockchain users:
Fintech and crypto exchanges, followed by mining hardware manufacturers, are still dominant in the crypto market given their huge user base. A more accurate analysis of the big companies that experiment with blockchain tech can be found in the “Blockchain 50: Billion Dollar Babies” article by Michael del Castillo.
And what about blockchain appliances for a non-fintech field?
2017 was full of expectations about how blockchain tech will bring average users over to the distributed world and give them power over their data. Projects like Steemit, Brave browser, Storj, and Status were quick to the scene with their prediction of a decentralized future for all users.
But now it’s 2020, and StateoftheDApp shows that most of the above products have a maximum of 1,000 users... that’s not great. I think it’s safe to say that in 2020, blockchain is not yet here for B2C products.
I want to feature the top four interesting predictions that I received last week after asking this question to blockchain founders all over the world.
At the top of the list, I would say the sustainability sector. We’re going to see more tangible solutions aimed at the carbon economy and tracking emissions with well-designed carbon registries and exchanges. COP 26 will provide more clarity in what types of credits constitute Internationally Traded Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs) and how trading carbon credits will operate across borders. We will see recycling supply chains primarily in the plastics and metals markets. In addition, low to net-zero processes (relative to traditional production processes used widely in industry) will record the amount of carbon generated during the creation of a product into a distributed ledger.
Next in line is the health industry. There are quite a few areas where significant improvements could be made, but the most obvious ones are the tracking of pharmaceutical drugs, emergency medical supplies, and medical equipment. Tracking pharmaceutical drugs can help alleviate the opioid crisis and bring more accountability in this space, but such solutions will reduce the number of mistakes with respect to administering vaccines that have been incorrectly labeled.
At the same time, patients' healthcare records could be stored in a secure format on a distributed database, and a public key infrastructure should be used to identify who has the authority of both viewing or updating these records. Think of how much more streamlined ER care, regular checkups, or specialist visits could be without having to use outdated faxes and forms to approve access to data. The number of lives that will be saved, not to mention the drastic improvement in the quality of care, would be tremendous. Also, healthcare will even be improved while fully maintaining a patients' privacy by sharing encrypted data that will be used in machine-learning applications.
Another sector of the market that will use blockchain extensively is the automotive industry. Numerous automotive companies have been researching and experimenting with blockchain use cases for a couple of years now. They have been looking at numerous applications: managing the supply chain, improving transparency, making the financing process easier, using digital asset transfers to speed up the operational processes, and more. At some point in time, these industries will adopt standards; however, they will start by using blockchain first internally and then migrate it across the whole industry. Widespread integration of blockchain into internal processes could easily happen by the end of this year.
With just nine months left in 2020, I believe only the crypto industry will use blockchain tech. Thus far, nothing borne of blockchain or decentralization principles is good enough to breach cryptoland's bubble. Every dApp I've ever seen is a poor shadow of an existing company with absolutely no reason to use blockchain other than to shill empty utility. However, there might be a glimmer of hope in Project Alfa (alfa.io (https://www.alfa.io/)) and its native token Enzo (enzo.io (https://www.enzo.io/)), which is set to launch in May. With 23 global patents and a solid plan for monetization to compete with tech giants, Alfa has the potential to deliver the first killer app and take the space to new heights.
Over the next few years, all industries will be reinvented by blockchain technology; however, I believe the three that are most likely to be disrupted in the next year are financial services, identity, and legal. Especially in regard to financial services, the cost savings and automation of working with digital assets is too significant to ignore for much longer.
1. Cloud computing – Based on Gartner data, in 2018 the market share of Amazon AWS was more than 47% with limited server location. The decentralization of cloud computing is very much required for enabling next-generation security.
2. Decentralized finance – To overcome the bank fraud loans and enable instant payout to users by putting collateral without much documentation.
3. Banking solutions – To improve the infrastructure and create an independent environment across the globe for borderless payments.
1. DeFi - Decentralized Finance, specifically the loan, and collateralized debt segments are seeing significant traction. SelfKey is launching a loans marketplace to be able to compare decentralized and centralized loans all in one place, right from a single marketplace.
2. Identity Management - Self-sovereign digital identity is starting to see more use cases and greater adoption from consumers and companies. SelfKey has launched a mobile wallet to complement it's desktop wallet and browser extension: SelfKey.org/selfkey-wallet
3. Travel rule solutions - June 2020 is an important date for the implementation of FATF's travel rule, a KYC mandate on all VASPS (virtual asset service providers). Solutions to this problem must be decentralized, preserve privacy, and be interoperable with each other - SelfKey has developed a compliance hub to help the industry adapt to changing regulations. https://kyc-chain.com/vasp-compliance-hub-fatf-travel-rule-solution/
Scandals about theft or unauthorized data sharing have become almost commonplace and hardly surprise anyone anymore. In today's era, data is the new oil of the world, as it represents information of crucial importance for companies in any industry.
According to Juniper Research, advertising losses were to reach $42 billion in 2019 and were predicted to be driven to $100 billion by 2023. Blockchain came into action to provide transparency while serving ads and paying for the real human interactions on the ads, not automated traffic.
We are getting tracked every day with hidden cookies, but Google recently announced the end of those famous cookies soon. Online advertising companies are already looking for a new process to replace these cookies. I am convinced that digital advertising companies using blockchain technology can reinvent the way they handle online advertising, with more privacy and respect for user data.
Companies such as SaTT are leading the initiative and have already developed many products, allowing them to manage a promotional campaign on different social networks in an optimized way. This does not totally replace the cookies, but isn't it better like that?
Let’s come back and check on these predictions at the end of the year.