When I founded Deep Analysis, I genuinely thought that Enterprise Blockchain was the topic that would grab the attention. A good friend and industry legend told me at the time that I was completely misguided and that Blockchain was a fad. He was half right as I was somewhat misguided, or at least overly optimistic. As for the first two years of Deep Analysis, it seemed like I was the only one that wanted to talk about Blockchain. But the tide is turning, and far from being a fad, Blockchain is gaining momentum and looks set to disrupt the industry. One of the advantages of having been around a while is that you have learned that disruption usually happens slowly. Disruption creeps up on you from behind and then before you know it you are either riding the wave or find yourself adrift.
This month we launched our first Enterprise Blockchain Market Forecast. In it, we detail how the market is shifting away from the stealthy and steady growth of Blockchain infrastructure into the world of business applications. The biggest surprise in the report is something that is hiding in plain sight, as from nothing the Enterprise Blockchain market is already in 2019, a $2.9B market, one that is set to grow to over $12B by 2024.
It’s there in plain sight, but nobody seems to see it. Some people still (incorrectly) equate Enterprise Blockchain with Bitcoin, but for many others, it is the sheer simplicity of Blockchain that befuddles them. For at its most fundamental level, Blockchain does one thing – it provides a shared version of the truth. A little like the concept of ‘love thy neighbor,’ a shared version of the truth is a simple concept at one level, but profoundly transformative on another.
To take this to the proverbial coal face, a supply chain made is up from multiple disparate organizations; growers, processors, shipping & truck firms, warehousing, and distributors, etc. If they were to share the same version of the truth (bills of lading, certificates of origin, etc.) that would be transformative, that would reduce waste, fraud, the number of errors and time it takes to resolve disputes. It would improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve margins. It may seem utopian, but in an industry plagued by such problems, the fundamental promise of Blockchain is exciting, it is revolutionary. No wonder, so many leading firms in the supply chain are in the process of adopting Blockchain. The same goes for Government, Legal, Healthcare, etc. The promise of Blockchain is revolutionary, and though they understand that change takes time to enact, they all want to be a part of it.
The cost of Enterprise Blockchain is going down, few are still trying to build their own infrastructures, IBM Hyperledger, Ethereum and R3 Corda are rapidly becoming the de-facto platforms of choice. Applications running on these platforms are in development and coming to market. Some of them will succeed, some will fail, but either way, change is on the horizon. It’s sneaking upon us, and by the time we realize its real and not a fad, the lucky are swept forward on the wave, and others are left behind, wondering what just happened.
As an analyst, I don’t care who wins and who loses, that may sound harsh, but the opportunities are there for anyone that wants to take them. In the tech world, just as in the real world, revolutions don’t happen overnight, they ferment until the change is an inevitability. To misquote the great Gil Scott Heron, ‘The Blockchain revolution will not be televised, the revolution will be live’…….