Although the hype died down a bit compared to the 2017 frenzy, Blockchain technology is here to stay. With the technology maturing through the past few years even more discussions take place to assess whether and how it will change the way business works. This post highlights the most interesting Blockchain key trends in 2019 based on visiting the Malta Blockchain and A.I. Summit.
SEEBURGER attended the Malta Blockchain and A.I. Summit in St. Julian’s on Malta May 22-24. Malta, the self-proclaimed Blockchain-Island is spearheading the adoption of Blockchain and A.I. solutions on its territory like no other country in Europe. In 2018 the government passed three bills creating a benevolent regulatory framework for companies building solutions based on these technologies.
Unlike Zug in Switzerland, which has become known as the advertised “Crypto Valley” and other countries innovating in the Blockchain and crypto space, Malta is taking a different approach, namely “technology first” to the overall industry. While many countries are purely concerned with the financial gains from the cryptocurrency area, Maltese officials are evaluating the technology explained in the white papers of operators interested in coming to Malta to launch ICOs and other offerings and provide a certification process to ensure regulatory compliance.
Blockchain Trends 2019
Exhibitors and attendees we spoke to responded very positive when we touched the topic of regulation – by taking a proactive approach like Malta, governments can bring certainty for operators and entrepreneurs. Because without a legal framework, Blockchain related business can be easily made illegal by new laws.
Regulation aside, there was a lot of buzz around new decentralized exchanges for digital goods, new services for tokenizing securities, as well as consulting and analytics services specially tailored for the needs of companies using distributed ledger technologies. Based on the different discussions, main stage key notes and presentations the hot topics of the summit were all touching the following thoughts:
Crypto-Currencies and the Future of Money
While the roller-coaster for crypto-currencies is not affecting the Blockchain ecosystem itself, May’s market rally shows that the hype around the technology is slowly growing stronger after the ruinous bear market of 2018/19. As more and more investors get interested in the speculative aspectof Blockchain – Google Trends shows a level of interest not seen since the all-time high in late 2017 – the momentum is building up again. With the appearance of stable coins linked to real world values like USD or Gold (less volatility – less risk) the future of money has become an important discussion topic. A part of the presentations and exhibitors thought it possible, for countries to tokenize their own currencies to have government-backed crypto-currencies, like for example an e-Yen. An even larger group thought it was a solid conclusion taking the decline of cash payments into account.
Disruption in the Financial Services Area
Overwhelming consensus across the participants of the debates uncovered what most of us already knew: general banks cannot provide a high level of services across all their fields of operation and innovate at the same time. This allows agile FinTech to disrupt the ongoing business operations of banks with specialized services, ranging from decentralized KYC, AI-supported customer service to high-speed transaction settlements on the Blockchain. However, as long as there is no unified regulatory framework, banks will still have a big issue with compliance especially if transactions need verification against KYC/AML/ Sanction Lists in real time.
Data Security on Blockchain
There is a rather strange dichotomy when Blockchain and crypto-currencies make it into the news: it is either when crypto-exchanges are hacked or when crypto-currencies have been used for illegal activities. With the advent of Blockchain adoption across industries data Security becomes much more than a mere topic related to hacks and criminal activities. It forces us to rethink theway in which data can be stored in a safe and decentralized way. In the world of centralized data, where companies rely heavily on cloud service providers like AWS or Azure, the service provider handles data security. However, Data at rest is vulnerable, data in transit can be intercepted and keys can be stolen. But a decentralized world, where companies use Blockchain for data storage, needs a new way of securing the storage systems in the cloud. Especially, if one accounts for the millions of new IoT-Devices that continuously stream data into the cloud.
Efficiency Increase in Logistics
The idea of digital twins was conceived in the late 1990’s, but it was not explored in detail until the technological advancements of the last two years made it possible. With the rapid rise of IoT-Devices and smart sensors a new generation of startups is trying to prove their worth by taking proven approaches and expanding those with the benefits of Blockchain technology. The idea is to create a Digital Identity for Things so that they can be tracked in a better way. Using Smart Contracts on a private Blockchain logistics companies can then hold their vendors accountable thanks to enhanced shipment visibility, real time information on the status and the replacement ofpaper by using single data storage in the Blockchain.
With the maturing of the technology more startups emerge that are actively looking to promote their feasible use cases for the application of the Blockchain and strive to solve real world problems with it. All in all the Malta Blockchain and AI Summit provides a great outlook for the future of the technology.
As a market leader in business integration software, SEEBURGER is constantly looking for new ways to innovate and bring even more value to our customers and business partners. In a series of upcoming blog posts we will dive in deeper into specific industry-related applications of Blockchain for FSI, Logistics, Healthcare and more. We will also keep you posted with more Blockchain and distributed ledger technology related information as well as other improvements of the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite (BIS), stay tuned!
SEEBURGER also provides thought leadership and advice for API programs including support for workshops, which are often used by banks and other financial institutions to drive API usage and engage FinTech companies
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Written by: Julien ZiemnickiJulien Ziemnicki, Senior Consultant, is working with strategic business development activities in Europe and the North American Market related to vertical market innovation. Julien has more than 5 years of experience in software solutions working with API, MFT, Analytics, Big Data and Digital Transformation. Julien has been with SEEBURGER since 2016 and prior to this with SAP.