Blockchain reached a milestone last year. In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries announced it had added the portmanteau to its definitions online, welcoming the term to the English lexicon alongside other entries such as cat café, mic drop and, tellingly, Brexit.
While blockchain’s ascendancy as a concept of interest caps off several years of exploding popularity since 2013, the technology itself remains a mystery to many.
In fact, blockchain’s public perception could be compared to that of another disruptive innovation: GPS navigation. Rooted in Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the workings of GPS are complex but how the technology could be applied is well understood. A similar fate for blockchain would be a positive pathway to adoption.
Some sectors of the financial services already recognise the competitive potential of blockchain. There are two particularly attractive aspects to the technology: first, that blockchain could make the financial services industry’s infrastructure much less expensive. Second, that its potential uses go well beyond financial transactions. That doesn’t mean to say blockchain will transform every part of a developed economy, but it is very well suited for specific industries and uses.
As part of our focus on upcoming technology trends, PwC paper Financial services technology 2020 and beyond offers this infographic on how blockchain operates — and where we might soon see it at work.