What is the future? One blockchain in every company


Article published in Milano Finanza – March 20, 2019

«In the Future I’ll see one computer on every desk and one in every home». Bill Gates, 1975. His prediction came true. But we waited 14 years for the birth of the world wide web that made the computer an indispensable medium for both work and leisure. Now the blockchain is following in web’s footsteps: its widespread in all areas – not only at industry and company level – was announced by leading experts on that.

Web was born in 1989, while blockchain – in the distributed version we know today – was introduced in 2008. However, in the first 10 years of their life, they increased in a similar way. Their constant growth assumes the definitive explosion of the technology became famous to support bitcoin. The process opened by “www” has been continued by the blockchain: the first one has made data open source and available to all, the second one has provided the tools to menage, secure and make the information both transparent and immutable. Blockchain, ultimately, put in order the chaos of the Net. This is a relationship of complementarity. Not hor nothing the mainstream adoption in areas other than original one (bitcoin) is possible thanks to the combination with the Internet of Things.

As seen for the web, the blockchain is being used in more and more areas. Between 2014 and 2018 its use has increased by 904 percent and the forecasts for the future are more then positive. According a recent study by the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide spending on blockchain solutions is forecast to be nearly $2.9 billion in 2019, an increase of 88.7% from the $1.5 billion spent in 2018. IDC expects total spending of $12.4 billion in 2022.

Cross-border payments are playing the main role with $ 453 billion in 2019. Money transfers are a fertile ground for blockchain and cryptocurrency, bitcoin above all. For the second year running, the main digital coin surpassed online payment giant PayPal in annual transactional volume: bitcoin network posted $1.3 trillion worth of transactional volume and Paypal $ 578,65 billion in 2018.

Now 32 billion of users have a blockchain-based wallet (they are the so-called “early adopters”), but the short-term forecasts indicates an exponential growth, as happened in the web revolution. The definitive affirmation of the financial technology, in the same way as the internet, will come with the regulation. We need clear and precise rules, shared by public and private actors, to reassure users and start a virtuous circle able to bring benefits to all actors.

Italy is in better condition than is generally supposed. A survey made by the Politecnico di Milano’s School of Management shows that our country is the third in Europe in terms of the number of solutions. Big companies and start-ups looking for operational support for the launch of ICOs especially submit projects. Most of the companies don’t have a budget and a special team set aside for blockchain.

If we look back and close our eyes we can all remember the deafening and annoying sound of the 56k modem. In a few years we made a quantum leap forward. The gates of the Internet of Value are opening for us. It allows the exchange of valuables without intermediaries and in a programmable way through Smart Contracts. The ambitious aim is to see one blockchain in every firm.