As cryptocurrencies got more popular with their skyrocketing rises in 2017, so did the underlying technology that provides the bases for them – the blockchain. First implemented for the public to use when Bitcoin was released in 2009, the blockchain has become one of the most-talked about trends, hitting its peak in terms of search volume on November 26th, 2017. While this seems good for the adoption of blockchain, how is it actually going in numbers? Let’s take a look at adoption rates over the last couple of years.
2016 – The Enthusiasm Started Growing
Although at this time the price of Bitcoin did not hit its All-Time-High (ATH) of $20,000 per BTC, blockchain was still recognized as a technology that offered the potential to change the world. This was evidenced by Deloitte’s report that stated there were almost 27,000 new blockchain projects in GitHub, an online software development platform. The report further stated that the blockchain technology relied heavily on its communities, that were spread among various blockchain projects. A pure example of how a blockchain project reaped the benefit of community work was Ethereum. What started as a work by “just two central figures” from the Bitcoin project, ended up having a lot of support as it had the most number of active projects in the year. Ethereum even continued to hold the number 2 spot in crypto market cap by the time this article was written (October 16th, 2018).
However, still in the same report, there was an average project failure rate of 90%. Usually a blockchain project only started and got active development work on it for about a year, during which the first six months was thought to be the crucial time for it. ICOs were not popular yet, with only 29 raising money that year. In a report from 2016, around 65 percent of surveyed banks were expecting to have new blockchain solutions in production in the next three years time from the date of the survey.
2017 – The Big Exploding Year
2017 was when people “really” started to turn their heads towards the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, as marked by the success of ICOs, raising $5.6 billion. If anything, the success rate of these ICOs was not as encouraging as one might think it would be, with approximately less than half of them (48%) being successful – in the sense that these projects continued to be developed. The good thing was that, probably, various industries and institutions all around the world started their work towards global adoption of the blockchain. For example, IBM, the computer giant, started the development of their product alongside Hyperledger, Linux Foundation’s project, to build a commercial blockchain service that would be able to process more than 1,000 transactions per second.
Adoption further spread in 2017 to the healthcare sector. PokitDok, a healthcare API company, teamed up with Intel to provide a new, blockchain-based solution via smart-contracts. With this solution, they believed it would help increase efficiency, reduce processing times for insurance claims, and cut down on unnecessary bureaucracy processes, resulting in higher customer satisfaction rate.
In terms of general blockchain projects, though, the “less-than-encouraging” fact remained: only 8% of them were generally maintained, meaning that 92% died out for one or more reasons.
2018 – The Year Of Mainstream Adoption?
Nicolas Cole believes it may be. When cross-checked with other sources, one thing is clear: that it looks like blockchain is here to stay for years to come, as there are now thousands of cryptocurrencies, and by the first half of 2018, ICO volume was already double that of the previous year in 2017. General awareness of blockchain and its potential has also been high this year, with more than 8,500 people attending the blockchain week’s Consensus Conference in NYC – a figure definitely higher than the just 700 that attended when the first Consensus Conference was held years ago.
China, despite their ban of cryptocurrencies and mining rigs, is leading in terms of patents secured in the areas of blockchain and cryptocurrency. In India, there’s a new trade network that’s powered by blockchain, developed by Infosys. And, despite their usual attitude that seems to always negate blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the banking world this year has also started real adoption of blockchain technology – for example, HSBC announced their first finance transaction on a blockchain platform.
While adoption seems to be only getting higher and higher, it cannot be overlooked that, still, more than 90% of blockchain projects have ceased to exist – lasting less than 15 months, with approximately half of the ICOs offered failing in the Q2 of 2018.
What To Expect
There’s always two sides to a coin, despite them being digital coins. This being said, while most of ICOs and blockchain projects usually do not survive, we can be hopeful that the other side of the coin can sometimes show up – albeit the chance is currently around 1/10. And this belief is not merely an optimistic outlook – there are reasons why we can think that blockchain has the potential to change the world: its seemingly limitless use outside of the traditional financial market, as well as its security are just to name a couple of them (Forbes seems to agree with us by the way).
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