When Bitcoin first launched, people discussed the economical, political, and ethical elements of a truly cyber currency
Powering Bitcoin, however, was a tool that many believe will play an important role in companies in the future: The blockchain. Gartner recently released a study examining the adoption of blockchain technology and what CIOs think of this much-hyped technology.
Despite the discussion surrounding blockchain technology, Gartner’s study revealed that only one percent of CIOs report that their companies are currently using it. This number could rise in the near future, however, as eight percent of respondents are actively experimenting with the technology or plan on using it in the short term. Another 14 percent are in medium- or long-term planning. In total, only 23 percent of companies are using or plan to use blockchain technology, even in the long term. Slightly more than one-third of CIOs claim to have no interest in blockchain technology, and another 43 percent are following the technology but have no action planned for the foreseeable future.
Although overall interest in blockchain technology is low, some sectors see relatively high interest. Financial service companies are following the technology closely and experimenting with it, as are insurance companies. Telecom companies are interested as well, as mobile payments, aided by blockchain technology, allow them more control over customers and their payments. The blockchain has the potential to change supply chain and logistics management as well, so government and utilities sectors are showing interest.
When discussing the report, Gartner Fellow and vice president David Furlonger noted that finding qualified engineers to handle a blockchain implementation is already difficult, and projected growth will create even more challenges. He also pointed out the unique challenges poised by implementing blockchain technology, as it represents a fundamental shift across multiple areas of conducting business. Furlonger also wonders adoption is “massively hyped” and whether companies with an interest in blockchain technology will actually implement it, as moving to a decentralized and distributed network represents a fundamental shift from standard means of conducting business. Legal, ethical, and logistical issues will need to be handled.
The challenge for CIOs is not just finding and retaining qualified engineers, but finding enough to accommodate growth in resources as blockchain developments grow. Qualified engineers may be cautious due to the historically libertarian and maverick nature of the blockchain developer community.
Blockchain technology presents a compelling opportunity for businesses, and many experts believe it holds tremendous potential. However, the technology is still relatively new, and it’s only been studied as a serious possibility for commercial use for a short period of time. Still, the potential of blockchain technology is high, and all CIOs should as least check in on the technology on occasion to see if it merits further study in the coming years.