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Blockchain Technology Reports & Analysis

Blockchain is digital ledger technology (DLT) that uses cryptography and timestamps to create permanent, unchangeable records. In the case of public blockchains, these records are held simultaneously on thousands of computers worldwide, which check each other constantly to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the information within them. A record can be updated but never erased. As a result, blockchain technology creates a single, secure, shared and auditable source of digital transactions.

In addition to providing a master version of digital truth, blockchain enables individuals to engage in peer-to-peer transactions without central intermediaries. The financial services industry was an early adopter of blockchain with the advent of bitcoin in 2009. As many are now aware, bitcoin is a digital currency that harnesses blockchain technology to offer a peer-to-peer payment system that operates without a central bank or financial intermediary. Blockchain has the potential to penetrate many areas in financial services, from securities such as equity and project finance, debt and derivatives, or crowdfunding to digital currency, including eCommerce, remittances and microfinance.

Beyond financial services, industries as diverse as healthcare, energy and real estate are using blockchain to manage information, patient records, property rights, contracts, audits, supply chains, logistics, workflows and the workforce. While blockchain’s commercial value remains unclear, and challenges loom, its adoption will ultimately depend upon continued experimentation across various application areas, demonstrated use cases, and the evolution of business models to harness its potential.

With deep expertise across capital-intensive industries and markets, IHS Markit is uniquely positioned to provide integrated analysis and coverage of blockchain, along with insights into which industries it is likely to disrupt. We invite you to bookmark this page and check back regularly for our latest thought leadership and resources.

Benefits of Blockchain
  • Transparency – Each individual can observe information being entered into the network, providing accountability and ease of audit
  • Security – Once verified, records are immutable, mitigating fraud and risk
  • Efficiency – Removal of intermediaries reduces transactions from days to minutes and cuts costs
  • Environmental sustainability – The technology is being used to promote solar power in developing countries
  • Confidence –The “single source of truth” framework fosters trust among partners to a transaction
Challenges facing Blockchain
  • Governance – Removal of intermediaries and absence of clear legal/regulatory framework can lead to loss of oversight and impede blockchain adoption by companies and users
  • Sensitivity – Questions arise regarding privacy vs. transparency (e.g. patient or tax records)
  • Scalability/Transaction speed – As a blockchain grows, it requires greater computation requirements to maintain speed of execution
  • Permanence – The same immutability that confers security on blockchain data also makes it all but impossible to remove or revise a record
  • Complexity – Blockchains can be complicated and require management of cryptographic keys and addresses
  • Cost – Fees are applied in various ways, depending on the system, and can add up, making ROI a difficult calculation to execute
  • Overvaluation – Cryptocurrencies have displayed a need for a market correction
  • Poor fit – Some items are better stored on a centralized database rather than distributed ledgers
  • Environmentally taxing – Blockchain itself is a heavy consumer of energy
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