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Blockchain: Hurry up and wait

Despite the huge amount of hype surrounding blockchain, new research from Gartner bursts the bubble somewhat and finds that very, very few organisations are actually implementing the technology yet.

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Despite all the noise, only one per cent of CIOs are deploying blockchain within their organisations, according to new research from Gartner. What gives?


Blockchain, Gartner concludes, is “massively hyped”. Further, much of the technology remains immature and untested, and best practices are hard to come by.

Curious but cautious

Gartner analysts also warn that rushing into blockchain deployments could lead to wasted time and money – something the public sector certainly can’t afford.

That doesn’t mean we should throw the blockchain out with the bathwater, though. Now’s the time for cities and companies to better understand the technology, find out what problems they could realistically solve with it (that wouldn’t be cheaper and simpler to do another way), and evaluate how blockchain fits into their organisation.

Gartner found that in general, only 8 per cent of CIOs are in short-term planning or active experimentation with blockchain, and three quarters say they have no interest it.


Uncharacteristically, government appears to be ahead here with a vision for what’s possible. Two-thirds said they’re interested in blockchain, even though only 20% have any specific action planned.

We’re already seeing some early experimentation and trials in cities, and much of this work seeks to not only address real city problems but to also tackle the practical challenges around implementing new technology, such as ensuring regulation keeps pace.

Trailblazers

Smart Dubai estimates that blockchain technology will enable savings of £1.08 billion in document processing alone, as well as cutting C02 emissions by 114 metric tonnes.

Dubai authorities also recently unveiled a blockchain project to facilitate the process of companies setting up and operating in the country.

Moscow’s citizen engagement platform, Active Citizen, uses blockchain to support secure citizen voting on issues such as naming a new metro line or whether they want their homes included in a housing relocation programme.

Singapore’s Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore is working with DEX and PwC Singapore to trial a new blockchain-powered decentralised data-sharing model that seeks to “enable safe, trusted, and effective data exchange”. IMDA will provide regulatory guidance and co-create new codes of practice.

 

Platforms and blockchain are being used to help regenerate and stimulate local economies, and to see these efforts scale.

Blockchain is enabling people without bank accounts or digital identities, such as refugees, to quickly access financial services.

Hype vs. hope

It will be fascinating to see how these initiatives and others develop, even if it takes a little while or they don’t work out as we anticipated.

 

We want to hear your plans and thoughts about blockchain too.

What’s just hype and where’s the real hope when it comes to blockchain for cities?

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