Last year was a year of unprecedented disruption and transformation in the consumer industry, and 2019 promises challenges of a similar or greater magnitude. Here, we explore the main trends that lie in store in respect of blockchain this year.
New for 2019 will be the use of private, permissioned, distributed ledger technology systems to settle payments among large entities.
Private payment networks are being implemented to compete with the SWIFT network by providing near instantaneous payment settlement at a lower cost.
Despite considerable hype, these payment systems may not rely on blockchain technology per se and may not utilize traditional cryptocurrencies to represent value.
The general idea is that instead of making a wire transfer, a traditional payment will be converted into a corresponding number of proprietary tokens, those tokens will be transferred on a proprietary network, and the received tokens will be credited to a transacting party's account in either tokens or a selected fiat currency.
Leading the charge to topple SV\7I FT is Ripple, a seven-year old company that raised nearly $100 million in investment funds and issued its own publicly tradable cryptocurrency, XRP.
The company's proprietary payment system "RippleNet" is advertised as a "frictionless experience to send money globally."
Recently joining the fray is JPMorgan Chase. The bank announced its own prototype "JPM Coin" to facilitate transfers among accounts held at the bank.
The JPM Coin will be pegged to the U.S. dollar and traded on its proprietary Quorum network. Although it initially seems to be merely an internal accounting unit, plans have been expressed to make the JPM Coin usable outside of the bank's own ecosystem.
In response, SWIFT is not standing still.
It has announced a partnership with R3, self-described as "an enterprise blockchain software firm," to implement a new payment system using R3's Corda technology.
Corda is based on open source software but can be implemented as a private network.
Global supply chain management continues to be a strong use case for blockchain technology.
Leveraging the immutable recordkeeping capability of blockchains, many companies have been exploring their application to the world½ride shipment of goods.
Pilot projects in 2018 have proven the efficacy of blockchain recordkeeping to track shipments.
As often happens, the adoption of new technology at the retailer level can be expected to drive adoption throughout the supply chain.
This article forms part of our Consumer Horizons 2019 report, which reviews what is on the horizon for the consumer industry and helps you identify evolving trends that will shape this year.
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