Closing in on 2020, our forecast co-aligns with follow-ups of abundant commercial applications the blockchain industry saw the past year. Namely, with enough data gathered to add business value, companies can start processing it and putting it to use. Furthermore, the degree of blockchain adoption across organizations and businesses asks for interoperability, compatibility, scalability, and standardized governance models.
In addition, an emergence of new validation tools will give an added layer of protection to data likewise to physical objects, or products.
Machine Learning & AI
While the IBM Food Trust initially sought to enhance supply chains, the platform enabled third-party vendors to extend its functionality. By this, companies can integrate tools to optimize other aspects of their operations, using information recorded since boarding the system. Specifically, an analysis of historical data can continuously improve production and manufacture, and the automation of processes through IoT devices.
Coupling ML and AI with distributed ledgers make sense because decisions made by AI are traceable by traversing the blockchain. Considering the role of AI in industrial robotics next to humans, quick identification and prevention of future mistakes is essential. Moreover, blockchain addresses safety issues in swarm robotics, where several robots work on the same task in complex production environments.
However, resource-hungry applications of the two technologies reach a bottleneck in computing power. Herein, a Forbes article suggests that neuromorphic chips are both an A.I. breakthrough and solve blockchain’s issue with power consumption. Conversely, A.I. can make blockchain networks more efficient, secure and tailor a fusion of the three technologies to customer needs.
Improving Scalability for Enterprise Applications
Scalability continued to plague blockchain, especially public iterations, where individuals or companies can issue their own tokens. Luckily, there’s reason for optimism in view of migrations to agile consensus algorithms, data sharding and layer two workarounds. Respectively, some leading blockchain networks will either replace Proof of Work with Proof of Stake (PoS) or upgrade their PoS implementations.
To be more specific, data sharding on Ethereum starts with datasets, continuing onto the blockchain state. Meanwhile, the Lightning Network as a second layer drastically improved Bitcoin transaction speed, becoming a veritable option for extending functionalities. Within the second layer, Bitcoin codebase blockchains are data anchors, with Smart Contracts and DApps built on top.
Interoperability of Blockchains & Legacy Systems
Seeing the advantages of sharing data across blockchain systems, R&D and healthcare are the first that come to mind. Since R&D benefits from a larger quantity and diversity of data, establishing compatibility layers accelerates the process of new discoveries. Secondly, healthcare facilities that adopted blockchain will improve services through a unified method to access and revise patient history.
Additionally, projects solving the same problem will need to collaborate, share knowledge and data to avoid creating a future bubble. For now, blockchain technology is best suited for particular tasks when it works side by side with legacy software. Seemingly, the trend set by Samsung and Pega continues, wherein businesses plan to integrate ERP and CRM solutions with blockchain.
Standardized Governance Models
Blockchain technology emerged as an industry with growing demand but clients look for permanent implementations in partnership with solution providers. Whereas hierarchy in a decentralized environment is problematic, standardizing certain technical and administrative aspects can lower complexities in real-world scenarios. Thus, blockchain consortia will establish methods for coordination and principled incentivizes for contributors because they’re fundamental to reliable decision making.
More so, developing permissioning schemes will result in faster transactions and enable large entities to meet and enact data-sharing compliance. Due to these measures, the prosperity and performance of the blockchain is assured. As a result, consortia will gain credibility, allowing members to apply their business and technological model to appropriate clients.
Cyber-security is usually linear and in spite of asymmetric cryptography used in blockchain, quantum computing was considered its Achilles heel. IBM combines a digital signature with a computer dedicated exclusively to remote validation, called a Hardware Security Module. Similar to time-delayed safes, in case of a data-breach attempt, HSM slows the decryption rate down to detect the perpetrator.
Outside standard computing environments, the technology comes in the form of crypto anchors and links with blockchain through IoT beacons. Being smaller than salt grain, it’s deployable in the form of edible dye, hence its use in counterfeit detection. For example, it’s possible to store it in a malaria pill, where the colors only show upon contact with water.
Other takeaways include governments putting personal data on the blockchain, which meanwhile becomes more accessible with specialized BaaS deployments. Concretely, Microsoft Azure and Google will start providing a means Smart Contracts and Dapps in cloud computing environments. Lastly, blockchain-based fintech solutions launched by financial companies worldwide reach maturity, bridging the investment gap between classic and digital assets.
Needless to say, all of this adds up to another dynamic year for the blockchain industry. Make sure to follow us on all our social channels to stay posted on the latest business and technological developments.