In 10 years, money could turn digital. A significant part of it will definitely do.
In the same way as books and music are found lesser in the form that many people grew up with, paper money could soon be a thing of the past. The long-term change is making industries turn on its head and making access to services and products easier.
It is not just about money. The world’s analogue systems and processes are turning digital. A change in the way digital money exchanges hands, or wallets if you will, could impact trade and businesses too.
At the heart of that change is the emerging world of cryptocurrencies, driven by the underlying blockchain technology. If there is one technology that has the promise to change the way the backend systems across networks are organised, it is this technology.
Companies with smart implementation of the technology for business solutions are making their mark. Large companies are working with niche applications to solve their critical business needs.
Blockchain adoption is booming in the US. Gartner has found that the highest rate of adoption of blockchain is in the pharmaceuticals, energy, natural resources, utilities and transport sectors. The study was published in December 2019.
Companies driving the change
If there is technology and if there is a global opportunity, can Amazon stay far behind? The tech giant has recently secured a patent for using blockchain to track delivery packages. Improved supply chain efficiency could drive the companies of tomorrow and Amazon hopes to do that.
The world’s largest retailer, Walmart (NASDAQ: WMT) is already using the application of the technology built by Hyperledger Fabric to create a food traceability system. It has run the process for pork sold in stores in China. When they ran the process for tracing the details for mangoes, it could cut downtime from 7 days to 2.2 seconds. Buoyed by the success, it now wants to deploy blockchain-based technology to track leafy greens.
Voting at the annual general meetings of companies could not get the tech edge. Since attending AGMs of companies is difficult in the post-COVID-19 world, the problem can be addressed with innovative blockchain applications.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) partnered with Maersk and EY to create an innovative, and perhaps the world’s first, marine insurance platform. After it was launched, it planned to expand the use of the technology and the platform to marine cargo, global logistics, aviation and other sectors too.
While the giants are finding the applications useful, the smaller companies are trying to ride the opportunity.
Overstock.com invests in businesses that are thriving due to blockchain in a variety of sectors. Listed on Nasdaq, Overstocks’ investments are routed through Medici Ventures. It also defended Voatz, a blockchain-based mobile voting app.
Funds lining up
With widespread applications across sectors, funds want a slice of the action.
Andreessen Horowitz has recently raised $515 million for a second crypto fund. The fund will invest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects. Its first $300 million fund.
For the crypto world, Andreessen Horowitz fund carries a lot of weight since Marc Andreesen has been pushing for a cryptocurrency since 2014. He is also on the board of Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), whose digital currency project, Libra, has been talked about around the world. The fund has invested in Libra, Checkout.com, and Shopify.
To capitalise on the opportunities it presents for business, crypto funds are floating all around. There could be at least 800 funds launched so far after the first fund was launched in 2013.
Money traditionally, has made the world go round. Now it is the turn of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.