'Big Four' professional services firm Deloitte has published a report that takes a look at the potential uses of blockchain technology while arguing that its acceptance and wider adoption are fast approaching.
Introducing the paper, two of the firm's partners say that while the tipping point for the technology may not occur until around 2027, Deloitte anticipates adoption "will occur much faster" as new applications emerge.
Deloitte anticipates a number of applications for blockchains across various industries. In a statement accompanying the paper, it cited some example use cases to illustrate the technology's potential.
In the banking and insurance sector, for instance, blockchains could be used to "strengthen and streamline" compliance checks on customers and reduce the risk of fraud, the paper contends.
In the media and entertainment industry too, it said, blockchains offer new business models to content owners, such as music artists. And in the public sector, there are opportunities to use blockchains for tax collection, to facilitate voting or as the official registry for government assets.
The firm suggested that, for these solutions to be adopted, it is "critical" to create a trusted environment for blockchain-based services, particularly when it comes to ensuring "robust and secure" authentication and identification.
"By using technologies such as decentralised architecture, cryptography and digital signatures, blockchain has the potential to offer a high level of assurance, as well as adding some new and unique characteristics to identity management."
Primer for industries
Deloitte said the paper aims to help leaders in different sectors "navigate the emerging opportunities offered by blockchain technology".
It further discusses some of the challenges facing organizations as they start planning to adopt the technology.
With diagrams to assist newcomers to the technology, the paper kicks off with an easy-to-understand breakdown of how blockchains work, the different types that can be employed and a definition of what Deloitte believes constitutes a blockchain.
It then proceeds thought three main sections covering blockchain technology as the "Internet of Value-Exchange", key challenges it faces, and what it will take to move from just an intriguing concept to real-world applications.
A final section breaks down the use cases across banking, insurance, the public sector and the media.
Deloitte revealed last summer that it is already seeking to use blockchain technology to automate client auditing and crowdsource consulting efforts, among other applications.