Everybody is already looking at the year 2020 and what it will bring in terms of blockchain advancement. So many predictions have been said already but what about the year 2019? It is easy to forget so many important and successful projects crop up last year. That is how hectic it has been in the blockchain space in 2019, and it is safe to say we are even prime for more disruption and adoption of blockchain technology in 2020.
Highlights of 2019
So many blockchain projects such as Libra, China’s plan for cryptocurrency, etc. made the headlines in the year 2019 that we easily forget other blockchain projects that have been on ground previously and have been delivering quietly. A good example is the Australian Securities Exchange project to migrate its CHESS to Digital Asset’s distributed ledger technology. This is aimed at optimizing the equities settlement and clearing processes utilizing the Digital Asset Modeling Language. The project has been breezing through its set milestone without substantial delays. Wider industry applications are expected to start in 2020.
When talking about fresh blockchain developments, 2019 was dominated by digital asset infrastructure, stablecoins, and payment networks. A good example is the announcement of Libra stablecoin herald by Facebook and 27 founding members of the Libra association of which MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal have pulled out.
The growing interest in digital assets that continue in 2019 certainly means the industry must consider the infrastructure that can hold them securely. Storing them in a compliant and regulated way is deemed a major constraint especially for new players in the industry. However, 2019 welcomed the entry of key players. This includes Fidelity Digital Assets and Bakkt that were able to secure and provide custody along with other services for these assets.
The Financial Sector Hurdling for a piece of the Pie
In 2019, the retail-banking sector, in particular, the back-office services of reconciliation, visibility, settlement, and transaction audit, saw some fascinating developments based around Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and stablecoins. Projects such as J.P. Morgan’s stablecoin as well as Utility Settlement Coin/Fnality were launched. J.P. Morgan’s project had backings from banks such as Barclays, UBS, and many more. The main aim of the program was to create a stablecoin. In turn, that coin can be utilized by the network members and the banks.
Towards the end of 2019, China announced its own blockchain and cryptocurrency initiatives. Towards this end were the introduction of several new pilots, government funding, venture, and consortiums into the blockchain sector. While this was happening, Europe too made known its plan for the EUROchain project while perfecting the regulations regarding digital assets. Europe certainly does not want to play second fiddle in the blockchain innovation race. Overall, over 18 central banks have serious plans to launch a cryptocurrency project.
What does the future hold?
Generally, the financial sector is witnessing greater and better improvements in the adoption of blockchain. This is in comparison to other industries such as insurance and healthcare. Nonetheless, there is room aplenty for more openings to be tapped and accomplished with plenty of positive sentiments. A quick look at the organizations, governments, and large sponsors supporting the enterprise blockchain sector provides encouragement of its continued success story in 2020 and beyond.