January 29, 2021 By IBM Blockchain Pulse 5 min read

Predicting the future is a dicey business. Nonetheless, we see pundits of all stripes putting forth 2021 forecasts for blockchain. For example, as cryptocurrency creeps to the mainstream, 2021 predictions for bitcoin valuation vary wildly, from $46,000 to $146,000 to a hard fall reminiscent of 2018.

Projections for blockchain in business are more stable, with trust emerging as a key theme. Multiple prognosticators say growth will accelerate around blockchain’s role as the key technology to drive digital transformation around trust, a trend driven in part by COVID-19.

Others say blockchain adoption in banking, the financial sector and DeFi (decentralized finance) will also grow, and governments will embrace the technology by issuing new regulations and advancing exploration of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Other forecasts say blockchain’s role in healthcare, digital ID, supply chains and global shipping will continue to expand.

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Where does blockchain fit into your 2021 visions?

Blockchain in the news

IBM makes headlines as the year turns

Recent weeks have seen a number of announcements and news stories centered around IBM blockchain for business. In the wake of COVID-19, IBM and Salesforce have joined forces to help organizations and individuals verify vaccine and health status by integrating IBM Digital Health Pass with the Salesforce Work.com platform. The effort compliments the blockchain-based Vaccine Accountability Network established by IBM to strengthen trust and accountability in the vaccine supply chain, one of the biggest challenges of 2021.

In industry news, IBM announced that Thai Reinsurance Public Co. Ltd., a technology-driven professional nonlife reinsurer, launched Insurer Network, a reinsurance smart contract production network built on IBM Blockchain on the IBM Cloud. IBM and eProvenance announced the availability of VinAssure™ from eProvenance. It’s a new IBM Blockchain-powered platform that tracks wine from vineyard to consumer to help ensure that it’s handled properly during shipment.

Celebrating Hyperledger’s fifth birthday, Jerry Cuomo, IBM Fellow, VP and CTO of AI Automation, shared his views with Ledger Insight on Hyperledger’s accomplishments and the future of blockchain enabling greater trust in AI. VentureBeat interviewed Alistair Rennie, General Manager, IBM Blockchain, about what the technology offers to enterprise users. And Cointelegraph  placed IBM as the first technology company in its list of biggest enterprise blockchain players in 2020.

What else we’re reading

Blockchain technical standards and regulations remain fragmented
While 2020 saw USD $4.3 billion in blockchain spending, the World Economic Forum (WEF) maintains that global fragmentation of technical standards and regulations slows progress and adoption. That’s why the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) and industry stakeholders have started work on version 2.0 of the recently completed Global Standards Mapping Initiative (GSMI).

Using blockchain to protect the environment
A three-year study from Ford Motor Company showed that combining blockchain, geofencing and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles can improve air quality in cities by automatically activating zero-emission mode in low-emissions zones. Newlight is using IBM Blockchain to track and share the negative carbon impact of products made from its new biomaterial, AirCarbon. Bioenergy company Enviva piloted blockchain traceability of industrial wood pellets used as a renewable alternative to coal. And the WEF Mining and Minerals Blockchain Initiative completed a proof of concept for its Carbon Tracing Platform, which monitored greenhouse gas emissions end-to-end in the copper value chain.

Disrupting with blockchain
Zoracles Protocol has mapped out a new product that uses blockchain to receive credit scores, enabling an ad-free service that aims to disrupt the free credit scores industry. What’s the secret sauce that will empower IoT to be a game-changer? Smart contracts to automate transactions directly between parties and blockchain for trustless exchanges can eliminate the need for third-party gatekeepers. And two industry experts discuss the disruptive impact of blockchain on markets in this in-depth video.

January’s features of “watch, read and listen”

Gartner: Top 2021 Blockchain Trends

The events of 2020 fundamentally changed the business landscape, but businesses are continuing and accelerating projects with clear benefits. January 27 at 12:00 PM ET we heard Gartner Distinguished VP Analyst Avivha Litan share critical blockchain trends that will emerge in 2021.

Virtual event: The Decentralized Enterprise and the Future of Work
Commissioner Hester M. Peirce, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and a distinguished panel of finance and business leaders discuss the regulatory landscape of digital assets, how blockchain is already changing financial services and the impact it will have on companies in the future. February 2, 12:00 PM ET.

On Demand Webinar: What drives winning in 2021
Blockchain is a team sport, drawing strength from diverse groups working toward a common goal. Jason Kelley, GM of IBM Blockchain Services, sat down with five-time NBA All-Star Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who shares powerful stories on teamwork, overcoming obstacles and what drives winning.

Blog: Blockchain in 2021: Accessibility, authenticity and AI
Blockchain can help our world return to normal in 2021. Read our predictions for critical focus areas in the coming year.

IBV Report: Forging the future of hospitality
From the IBM Institute for Business Value, blockchain will be key as restaurants, hotels and airlines work to rebuild trust now and in a post-pandemic world.

Our solutions and how to get started

No matter where you are in your adoption journey or what industry you’re in, we’re here to help you use blockchain technology to reach your business goals.

Still not sure where to start? Schedule time to talk with one of our experts specific to your industry, and they can help guide you in the right direction.

Best wishes for a healthy and productive 2021 from all of us at IBM Blockchain.  We’ll be back next month with more news you can use. In the meantime, if someone forwarded you this email and you’d like to subscribe, sign up here.

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