Blockchain was originally a risky experiment, but today it is a groundbreaking and sophisticated technology that is permeating ever more aspects of daily life. Now that technological innovation has become commonplace, companies and investors must keep up with it if they want to stay competitive and beat out their rivals.
In 2008, the blockchain was developed as a system to support the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The popularity of Bitcoin peaked in 2018, and this marked the beginning of the technology’s formal recognition.
Since then, due to the volatility of its exchange rates, Bitcoin has frequently been in the news. According to Coin Metrics, the price of one bitcoin increased to $63,729.50 in April 2021. The amount reached its peak in the cryptocurrency’s entire history at that point. What is certain is that millions of individuals today deeply regret not purchasing Bitcoin ten years ago when it was merely a few dollars.
Regarding blockchain, the technology has emerged from Bitcoin’s shadow to upend a number of sectors, including finance, healthcare, supply chains, governance, and law. Most of the use cases now in use have nothing to do with cryptocurrency. With the invention of new use cases like NFTs, blockchain-as-a-service, digital IDs, and asset tokenization, blockchain technology now offers useful solutions for companies and private persons.
Continue reading to discover the most recent blockchain technology innovations that are influencing businesses around the world.
Let’s first take a look at the facts and figures demonstrating the expansion of the blockchain before delving into each trend.
- In the years 2022 to 2026, the size of the worldwide blockchain market is anticipated to reach $4,2 billion.
- There are 81 million crypto wallet users globally as of February 2022.
- There have been 748,655,000 transactions on Blockchain.com as of July 15, 2022.
- Accenture estimates that implementing blockchain might result in annual savings for financial companies of up to $12 billion.
- Blockchain will facilitate the global movement and tracking of $2 trillion worth of products and services annually by 2023, according to Gartner.
NFTs: Transforming Digital Art
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are distinct from one another and are not interchangeable. An NFT can be created from a single instance of a one-of-a-kind digital item, which can then be bought, sold, or collected. It’s important to remember that NFTs can’t be copied.
NFTs were first made well-known by the 2017 release of CryptoKitties. Players can buy, collect, breed, and trade virtual kittens in this Ethereum-based game. Each of these cats has a distinct look and personality.
Now that it has been four years, the NFT blockchain craze has exploded. News of token sales for staggering quantities of money has “flooded” media outlets worldwide. For instance, Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, sold his artwork “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” at Christie’s for $69.3 million as a non-fungible token.
An NFT can be anything. Almost anything can be exchanged, including artwork, movies, GIFs, collectible cards, postings on social media, concert tickets, and even in-person encounters.
As a result, non-fungible tokens and blockchain technology are changing how people view digital works and rights.
Blockchain to Monitor and Deliver Vaccines
For people all across the world, the effective development of COVID-19 vaccinations has emerged as the solution. The public distribution of vaccines in a safe and efficient manner represents the next challenge for governments.
Overall, supply chain management has found blockchain to be a fantastic tool since it increases process trust, accountability, and transparency. Several nations have started using blockchain to track the provision of vaccines in the current COVID-19 outbreak.
They chose blockchain because of the advantages it provides, including:
At every step of the vaccine delivery process, information is recorded by blockchain-powered systems, and it is impossible to edit or erase it. This information contains dates, timings, locations of transit and storage facilities, as well as manufacturer and receiver government agency details.
Blockchain enables supply chain parties to follow a vaccine’s delivery from production to administration and end-users, or the general public, in many circumstances. As a result, people will have more faith in governments and immunizations, which will hasten the coronavirus’s demise.
Reduced Risks and Prompt Vaccine Recall
Unexpected things could happen while the vaccine is being delivered to the patient. This could lead to rotting, storage conditions being broken, supply chain disruptions, and other issues. Blockchain enables the timely recall of vaccination batches by assisting in the detection of these incidences and alerting those involved in the supply chain.
Stablecoins: Continue to Expand and Draw Attention
Although Bitcoin and Ether are undoubtedly the most alluring and talked-about cryptocurrencies, everyone is aware of their one major flaw: they are incredibly volatile. On the one hand, holders of cryptocurrencies can profit from volatility when exchange rates increase. On the other hand, prices may drop sharply and you may suffer a significant loss.
The top stablecoins at this time are Tether ($61 billion), USD Coin ($26 billion), Binance USD ($11 billion), Dai ($5 billion), TerraUSD ($2 billion), and True USD ($1 billion), in order of market capitalization. There are around 200 stable coins in all. While some of them are still being developed, the majority have already been launched.
Blockchain Advancing Social, Environmental, and Governmental Goals
One of the trends for blockchain is to aid nations in achieving their environmental, social, and governance objectives.
Blockchain provides solutions that allow governments to manage recycling programmes and energy producers to trade electricity without the use of middlemen. Additionally, the use of blockchain technology makes it easier to manage the supply chain, improve traceability, and even monitor, confirm, and lower carbon emissions.
Let’s examine how each of these developments came to be.
Traditional power grids are centralized and frequently do not permit the efficient distribution of energy. Since those with excess energy can sell and move it locally, the adoption of a peer-to-peer energy blockchain system helps to reduce the need for long-distance transmission and storage of electricity. It is an excellent choice in particular for those who use renewable energy.
As an illustration, one such platform is SunContract. Customers may purchase and sell solar and other renewable energy directly from one another using this blockchain-based P2P energy trading system. This marketplace’s basic principle is that electricity should be directly traded between those who create it and those who use it.
Even though people recycle various objects voluntarily, you would think that being rewarded for it would make them even more motivated. Several blockchain-based recycling initiatives reward participants with digital tokens to encourage recycling.
The blockchain-based Plastic Bank initiative serves as a notable illustration. In underdeveloped nations, the project’s crew and volunteers set up donation centers where people—especially those in need—could gather to give plastic in return for money, services, or necessities. In order to combat poverty, Plastic Bank also works to clean up plastic waste. With 558 collection stations established and 26,733 registered members, Plastic Bank has recovered more than 22 million kg of plastic to date.
Governments and politicians are now advocating the use of blockchain in this field rather than just studying it and how it might be used to reduce emissions. For instance, the European Commission (EC), a body of the European Union (EU), has declared its support for the use of blockchain technology to increase the accountability, transparency, and traceability of carbon emissions.
IBM and the Beijing-based Energy Blockchain Lab have collaborated to develop a blockchain platform for China’s carbon emissions trading and monitoring. Using this effective method, companies can buy carbon credits from low polluters to reduce their emissions and meet quotas. Carbon emissions are anticipated to decrease by 20–50% as a result of the deployment of this blockchain system.
Climate change is a problem that will affect future generations, so the blockchain trend will continue to be important for a long time.
Because permissioned blockchain only allow authorized users, in this case, firm employees, to access the network, businesses are primarily interested in it. Access to certain documents and information is role-based and programmable thanks to the access control function that permissioned blockchain-based systems offer.
Enterprise blockchain consulting firm offers businesses improved security, transparency, process automation, and more productivity.
The market for business blockchain technology sales is expected to increase from $2.9 billion in 2019 to $13.2 billion in 2024, according to a Deep Analysis analysis.
Blockchain technology is steadily but surely making its way into the public as a business solution in 2021. According to the Deep Analysis study, blockchain projects may stop making headlines starting in 2023 as the adoption of blockchain-based systems becomes the new norm across numerous industries, particularly in government, legal, supply chain, healthcare, insurance, and media.
DeFi Apps: Transforming Traditional Finance
Decentralized finance, or DeFi, is a movement that is currently “relocating” conventional financial services and products on the blockchain, changing them.
Today, DeFi is bringing innovation to a variety of services and goods, including loans, insurance, and currency exchange. Lending platforms are one of the most well-liked variations of DeFi that have gained traction in 2021. How do they function? On a blockchain network, a prospective lender registers an account and purchases tokens to lend out at interest. As a result, both the lender and the borrower benefit by making money.
DeFi products provide barrier-free entry choices, opening up markets to a wide spectrum of people from many nations. This allows millions of people to enter the financial sector and become investors.
DeFi products typically allow customers access to:
- Substitute savings
- Borrowing and lending
- Paying quickly, cheaply, and securely
- Trading of fiat and crypto
- Inexpensive insurance
- Asset Management and Tokenization
Decentralized financial platforms have the potential to surpass banks because they allow for direct user interaction without the need for middlemen to take a cut.
Crypto Players Going Public
The largest US cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, came to attention this year as Bitcoin values reached all-time highs and revealed plans to launch an IPO campaign in 2021.
Coinbase went public through a direct public listing rather than a typical IPO. On April 14, Coinbase began trading on the Nasdaq, and it ended the day with a market valuation of about $62 billion.
The launch of Coinbase to the general public has gone down in history for cryptocurrencies and the whole crypto industry. The portal now serves 8,000 institutions in more than 100 countries and has an estimated 56 million users.
Kraken is poised to be the next major cryptocurrency player after Coinbase. Kraken’s chief executive officer and co-founder, Jesse Powell, revealed in April of this year that the business was also thinking about going public through a direct offering in 2022. Gemini, BlockFi, and Bakkt also intend to go public.
Since 2015, Ethereum has dominated the cryptocurrency market. These days, a huge number of blockchain projects, platforms, solutions, and tokens are built on Ethereum. After Bitcoin, it is the second-largest cryptocurrency.
Ethereum’s popularity is significantly impacted by recent developments in blockchain technology, such as asset tokenization, STOs, and NFTs, as these phenomena make use of the ERC-20 and ERC-721 standards, which are the most widely used protocols for issuing tokens. While the latter permits non-fungible tokens, the former permits the production of fungible tokens like digital money or voting tokens.
Additionally, in September 2022, Ethereum successfully finished the Merge to the Beacon Chain, which is the coordinating system in charge of producing new blocks, confirming their validity, and allocating user rewards. With the help of The Merge, Ethereum was able to switch from mining to staking, which ultimately resulted in a 99% decrease in the platform’s energy usage. On the Ethereum platform, a large number of new blockchain projects are anticipated to be born after The Merge.
Blockchain on Media and Entertainment
Blockchain and entertainment are no longer a strange pairing. By tokenizing their assets and converting them into NFTs, well-known sports, entertainers, gamers, and influencers have already attracted the attention of the entire globe to the blockchain. The time has come for blockchain technology to make an impact on social media.
Blockchain Social Media
We also need to discuss the “Blockchain for social networking” trend. According to statistics, there were 4.48 billion active social media users worldwide as of July 2021, or around 57% of the world’s population.
Addressing Interoperability Issues With Blockchain
One of the issues holding back the widespread adoption of blockchain technology is interoperability. Blockchain is comparable to a visitor who only speaks their own language and finds it challenging to interact with the community, in this example, other networks. As a result, users will find it extremely difficult to transfer their assets or data directly between platforms.
The ideal situation would be for users to be able to conduct cross-network transactions and share information without encountering any unwelcome delays or extra costs imposed by middlemen. Now, several of the top market competitors are concentrating on solving this problem.
The biggest and thus far most effective interoperability projects to be implemented in 2021, 2022, and beyond are:
In order to facilitate communication between the Echo, Bitcoin, and Ethereum platforms, this layer-2 protocol and decentralized application network (dApp) incorporates Ethereum and Bitcoin sidechains. You may use ETH, BTC, and ERC-20 tokens in the Echo blockchain and move them effortlessly between networks thanks to these sidechains.
The “Internet of Blockchains” is what Cosmos hopes to build. This ecosystem consists of a number of zones, which are separate yet related platforms. The consensus process used by a new zone may be whatever it wants, but it must adhere to the uniform standard. Users are now able to freely and easily swap data and assets across various blockchain networks thanks to this breakthrough.
The parachains (independent networks) that make up this blockchain ecosystem are connected through a single hub called the Relay Chain. The consensus procedure is the same for all parachains.
To Sum Up
Since there are so many platforms and use cases for blockchain technology, we could literally keep listing blockchain trends forever. The use of blockchain for streaming content, NFTs, the distribution of vaccines, central bank digital currencies, digital identity, and even environmental protection is no longer just a theory; it is now a reality.
In 2023, we may use blockchain technology to tokenize every kind of asset, encrypt personal information, control who has access to it, and increase business productivity and revenue. We’ll likely soon stop referring to blockchain as a brand-new, ground-breaking technology since it will already be the norm.
The execution of blockchain projects is still a difficult task today. You will need to collaborate with an established blockchain development company that has a strong track record of accomplishments. Blockchain experts will assist you in comprehending every facet of this technology, weighing its advantages and disadvantages, and providing a solution that is specific to your business situation.
Don’t fall behind; start your blockchain journey right away.