Scanning blockchain ecosystems

AuthorBellia, M.; Kounelis, I.; Anderberg, A.; Calès, L.; Andonova, E.; Pólvora, A.; Petracco Giudici, M.; Nascimento, S.; Inamorato dos Santos, A.; Rossetti, F.; Papanagiotou, E.; Nai Fovino, I.; Spirito, L.; Sobolewski, M.
29 2. Scanning blockchain ecosystems
2.1. Anticipatory scoping
To a certain degree, since 2014, the hype around
blockchain technology was in f‌luenced or shaped
by a spike in interest from f‌inancial institu tions.
Projections over its impact q uickly populated
a closely watched space, ranging from est imations
that DLTs could reduce banks’ infrastructure costs
by USD 15-20 billion per year by 2022 (Santander,
2015), to their ability to deliver USD 5-10 billion of
savings for the reinsurance industr y (PwC, 2016a),
or store 10 % of global gross domestic produc ts
(GDP) by 2027 (WEF, 2015). Some of this hype
was translated into pilots aimed at cross-border
payments and settlements, securities t rading,
capital lending, or ident ity management, a mong
other use cases.
But while more well-known applic ations in
the f‌inancial sect or were under development,
blockchain’s broader potential for other sec tors
increasingly came to th e fore (Forbes, 2015;
The Economist, 2014). A new set of players,
from industry to acad emia, governments and
supranational organisations, bega n ref‌lecting on
how blockchain could transform signif‌i cant
parts of industry, the economy and society in
the future (Davidson et al ., 2016; UK Government
Chief Scientif‌ic Adviser, 2016).
The focus is now on how to leverage blockchain
within other f‌ields as par t of the broader family
of DLTs. This is now one of the technologies
expected to have a profoun d impact over
the next 10 to 15 years (OECD, 2016), backed
in the short term by upward forecasts, such as
the expect ation that worldwide spending on
blockchain solutions will reach USD 2.9 billion
in 2019, an 88.7 % increase from the
USD 1.5 billion spent in 2018 (IDC, 2019).
Blockchain could be connec ted to new production
trends or the ‘fourth industrial revolution’,
which include other emerging tec hnologies,
from IoT to artif‌icial intelligence and robotics,
and new materials or additive manufac turing
(OECD, 2017; Schwab, 2017; Craglia et al., 2018).
Future scenarios powered by blockchain are
also marked out by potentially profoun d
changes in economic and governance models
towards decentralised exchan ges of value, or
even more inclusive, transparent and accountable
The rise of blockchain
technology is
witnessed by both
the sharp growth of
blockchain start-ups
and the volume
of their funding.

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