Regulatory uncertainty and mistrust of crypto users' biggest barriers to blockchain

PwC report finds that, while most executives are already utilizing blockchain, wariness of the technology is holding back development


Despite four out of five executives reporting that they are currently working on a blockchain initiative, regulatory uncertainty and a lack of trust in users are still major factors hampering the widespread proliferation of blockchain initiatives across industries, a new report from PwC has revealed.

PwC surveyed 600 executives across 15 territories to examine their views on and the development of blockchain related programs. In its report, "Blockchain is here. What’s your next move?", it uncovered that 84% of executives claimed to have a blockchain initiative underway, with 25% of them reporting their blockchain implementations or pilots are already live.

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Despite this widespread adoption, many of those surveyed still cited a number of concerns regarding blockchain technology. Other barriers mentioned were: the inability for separate blockchains to work together; inability to scale; intellectual property concerns; and other concerns regarding audits and compliance.

The report also noted that financial services are still leading the way with blockchain developments, with nearly half of respondents identifying it as a short-term leading sector (within three to five years). Other industries reflecting similar optimism in blockchain potential were respondents from the energy and utilities sector (14%), healthcare (14%) and industrial manufacturing (12%).

PwC also revealed that while the US is still leading the global market with blockchain developments, China's blockchain developments are not only perceived to be more advanced but believed to overtake the US as the center of crypto influence and activity.

Steve Davies, the blockchain leader at PwC, said in a statement alongside the release of the report: "Businesses tell us that they don’t want to be left behind by blockchain, even if at this early stage of its development, concerns on trust and regulation remain. Blockchain by its very definition should engender trust. But in reality, companies confront trust issues at nearly every turn."

Davies added: “Creating and implementing blockchain to maximize its potential is not an IT project. It’s a transformation of business models, roles, and processes. It needs a clear business case and an ecosystem to support it; with rules, standards and flexibility to deal with regulatory change built in."

He also noted: “A well-designed blockchain doesn’t just cut out intermediaries, it reduces costs and increases speed, reach, transparency and traceability for many business processes. The benefits can be compelling, if organizations understand what their end game is in using the technology, and match that to their design."

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