In cryptocurrency and blockchain, the past year has been significant. Blockchain enjoyed a rise in mainstream enterprise interest. And now, we’re seeing even more momentum around how cryptocurrency and blockchain can be applied to deal with some of the public crises emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adoption for cryptocurrency will likely grow as governments and financial institutions look to digital money as a way to distribute aid and other financial services. Medical supply, pharmaceutical and other industries may look more closely at how distributed ledger technology can fix some of the problems we’ve seen in supply chains and distribution of critical goods. Beyond the aftermath of the pandemic, industry watchers will likely continue to see an uptick in cryptocurrency investigations and litigation.
Below is a list of predictions and expectations for what will take shape in these arenas in the coming year and in a post-coronavirus world. These include:
1. Cryptocurrency legislative activity: we’d see the first formalized cryptocurrency regulation come to fruition in the new year.
2. Public banking enablement: In New York, a team of politicians and a law professor drafted a bill proposing what they called an Inclusive Value Ledger (IVL), which is designed to provide public banking for the millions of people who do not have access to bank accounts or have low incomes. This system would allow users to store money digitally and transfer money to other users for free. Under the plan, the state of New York would issue digital wallets to all individuals (and businesses) in the state and give everyone in New York the ability to transact using a statewide, public digital currency.
3. Blockchain connecting nations: Blockchain is already being used in Asia as a way to track coronavirus-related financial aid and donations to businesses and individuals. For example, insurance companies are reportedly using it to fast track claims payouts. These use cases demonstrate the technology’s capabilities to track, log and securely share sensitive financial information. In a similar manner, I expect that we will see governments leverage blockchain systems to track other critical data regarding the global spread of the virus.
4. Increased adoption in financial services: Cryptocurrency use may continue to rapidly mature, especially among traditional financial services institutions. we’ll see digital currency become more widely used by the public, in retail, at ATMs and in mobile apps — particularly as people seek to transact without contact.
5. Enterprise blockchain demonstrating ROI: Enterprise blockchain could continue to make great progress and drive innovation and disruption in many business processes. This could include blockchain as a viable solution for smart city initiatives, consumer products and supply chain disruptions. More blockchain companies are probably going to enter the market, and pilot programs could begin to show ROI and other measurable benefits, which would drive more adoption and interest.
Despite certain challenges, such as a lack of familiarity with the technologies, It’s time for organizations in every industry to run toward innovation. They should think of ways do so in ways that prioritize optimizing processes, new business opportunities and, yes, creating a better world.