Ireland:

How Blockchain For Business Will Develop In 2020 And Beyond


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Many know blockchain as the innovative technology that allows
the cryptocurrency Bitcoin to work. The underlying blockchain
protocol can be repurposed for many non-currency purposes. The
blockchain protocol is suitable for anything that requires a
process to record transactions and track assets, whether those
assets relate to property, IP, finance or something else. It
promises more efficient and transparent business transactions
compared to existing solutions.

Blockchain is still an evolving technology. In the legal world
we are keeping a close eye on ‘smart contracts’ that use
blockchain. We are also looking forward to seeing how blockchain
for business develops alongside other disruptive technologies, like
big data analytics, the Internet of Things and artificial
intelligence.

Building Trust

As we enter this new decade, continued collaboration between
government and private enterprises is needed to help blockchain for
business gain momentum. It is vital for the technology to gain the
trust of stakeholders to encourage greater uptake. As blockchain
for business matures and the technology and standards develop to
address the challenges around data protection, regulatory
compliance and long term stability, many more projects are likely
to progress past the proof of concept phase.

Key Trends

We expect to see increased government and private sector
awareness and investment. Other trends to watch out for
include:


  1. Rise of private permissioned ledgers

Building on a current trend, organisations with
business-critical services or with sensitive data will opt for
‘blockchain for business’ private, permissioned blockchain
networks rather than public blockchain networks. The identity
management feature of a private, permissioned network that only
allows selected participants to join is better suited for business
to business (B2B) use cases.


  1. Digital IDs

Consortiums and individual organisations are exploring the
ability for blockchain to provide an efficient, transparent form of
digital ID for individuals or businesses. This will be valuable for
facilitating access to government services or streamlining customer
on-boarding and ‘know your client’ checks.


  1. Tokenisation

The ‘tokenisation’ of assets is the process of issuing a
blockchain token that digitally represents ownership of a real
tradable asset. Although tokenisation is in its early stages, the
tokenisation of assets and trading, and exchanging those tokens,
will pick up speed in sectors such as financial services and real
estate, improving operational efficiency and decreasing trading
costs.


  1. Digital Single Market

There is a strong belief at an EU level that blockchain
technology can help build Europe’s Digital Single Market. As
such, we expect to see significant steps this year on the drafting
and adoption of appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks for
blockchain to help foster innovation and harmonise standards for
the Digital Single Market.

Blockchain for business in Ireland

From an Irish perspective, Ireland has made progress to
capitalise on the opportunities that blockchain for business
offers. However, more work is needed to keep up with other
member states. To continue operating at the leading edge, Ireland
needs a clear plan and vision for blockchain. Building trust will
be crucial.

Regulation doesn’t need to mean the end of innovation. As a
small nation it is possible to implement a ‘blockchain
friendly’, innovative and technology-neutral regulatory
framework. Countries like Gibraltar, Liechtenstein and Malta are
leading the way. It is important that the newly formed government
is on board to help drive the agenda for our businesses at a
national and EU level.

Stakeholders, such as technology experts, banks and professional
services, need to actively work together to promote blockchain for
business-use cases. Ultimately, success will depend on support from
the wider community, through a mix of investment, collaboration and
innovation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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