American marketing company Forrester recently released its blockchain forecast for 2021. The report provides interesting results, noting that 2020 has been an important year for the growth of corporate blockchain and distributed management technology.
Martha Bennett, senior analyst at Forrester and co-author of the report, told Cointelegraph that the company’s blockchain forecasts are based on inflection points that show specific changes rather than ongoing trends. For example, the report predicts that 30% of global projects will go into production next year. This is partly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Bennett, many of the blockchain-based systems that exist today have one common factor: it takes less time to resolve disputes. In some cases, it may be immediate. Bennett noted that this common factor applies to both the use of supply chains and financial services:
“It’s not just about needing fewer people to accomplish certain tasks; this also applies to reducing wasted time and freeing up cash. The main point is that it can be done today, in relation to current operations and operating models.”
Development “takes time”
While it may be, Bennett shared that long-term strategic projects in financial services tend to incorporate potential changes in market structure and operating models. Many of these cases also require organizational adjustments. “It takes time, resources, and effort. This is the main reason why the volatility and uncertainty surrounding COVID are forcing many banks to temporarily abandon some of their long-term DLT projects,” Bennett said.
The report also states that nearly all initiatives that will move from beta to production next year will be managed on enterprise blockchain platforms using the cloud. Most likely these will be solutions from Alibaba, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, OneConnect, and Oracle.
Aleister Rainey, General Manager of IBM Blockchain, told Cointelegraph that expectations of 30% of corporate blockchain projects will enter production next year are in line with what IBM has already seen with clients:
With the growing tension the pandemic has wrought on supply chains, customers are discovering an urgent need to accelerate their digital transformation to become stronger than ever. We are seeing an expansion of existing and new blockchain projects. The most successful ones are those that rely on robust business scenarios and have well-defined value they can add to the business. ”
Key technical prediction: no evidence of knowledge
From a technical perspective, Bennett noted that the most important prediction included in the report is the growing need for zero-knowledge security. “ZKP is wanted due to privacy issues that currently hinder projects,” she said. The report also describes the problem that ZKP can solve:
For companies that did not want to rely on established encryption methods, the only options were to store hash in the chain or use combinations such as selective replication or private data sets. In many cases, current methods also fail to solve detection issues associated with the metadata. ”
Recently, however, much progress has been made in the field of ZKP. For example, one ZKP project was developed by Big Four Ernst & Young. This privacy program known as Nightfall will allow for blockchain-based private transactions using ZKP. Paul Brody, head of global blockchain at Ernst & Young, told Cointelegraph that the company’s top priority for next year is to make it easier for developers to use Nightfall and ZKP:
“The biggest problem with using and implementing ZKP is that it is much more complicated than coding a smart contract without privacy. I will compare this with adding SSL and encryption to web pages in the early days – this is not something most people learn when learning to develop resilience, and at the present time it’s not as easy as Should. ”
Brody also shared that working with Nightfall aims to improve transaction privacy by masking metadata that can be derived from analyzing network activity. And while the product currently supports private transfers and payments to meet government requirements, Brody explained that the company wants to expand this by creating new privacy tools. He said, “If we do our job right, people will move from developing DApps (decentralized apps) to developing ZApps (zero-knowledge programs).”
Related: Zero Evidence of Knowledge, Explanations
Additionally, IBM uses the ZKP blockchain platform to maintain privacy. Ramesh Gopinath, vice president of blockchain solutions at IBM, told Cointelegraph that IBM is using ZKP and related cryptographic systems as secure multi-party computing to provide strong privacy while maintaining analytics alongside AI data in the block.