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Blockchain Outlook 2018: More Industries to Adapt, Regulations Begin

Earlier this week the Investing News Network (INN) reported on blockchain trends of 2017–which highlighted the surging increase of initial coin offerings and commercialization of the technology coming to the forefront, particularly in the financial services industry.

With the start of 2018 fresh out of the gates, it’s time to turn our attention to the year ahead and what’s in store for this new wave of technology.

Among some trends to keep an eye on throughout the year, Kevin Hobbs–CEO of Vanbex Group–told INN he expects there will continue to be caution in the market until there’s proper regulation, and that ICOs will still be “very popular,” but that there will be different strategies and structures “so that people can try to prepare for regulation.”

Blockchain outlook 2018: Healthcare implementing blockchain

While 2017 was without a doubt a big year for the blockchain industry, last year was only just the beginning for the sector. With more than 60 percent of banks already backing blockchain, moving into 2018 it’s expected that more industries will make the shift towards using blockchain technologies, with the healthcare industry at the top of that list.

“The focus has begun to shift to an array of non-financial use cases spanning across healthcare, identity and authentication, telecom, media, and supply chain management, among others,” BIS Research told INN in an email.

BIS Research also stated that healthcare organizations are also expected to begin the process from pilot tests towards implementation of blockchain towards the end of the year, highlighting that some of the biggest use cases behind adapting the technology includes: maintaining records of credentials and licenses, data exchange to enhance patient care, population health management, supply chain management, and medical monitoring.

“By 2020, 10-15 percent of the healthcare entities are expected to have integrated the technology in their operations,” BIS Research told INN.

Frost and Sullivan Research also estimates that  blockchain technology “holds the potential to eliminate the burden and cost of health data and reconciliation and facilitate interoperability.”

More specifically, the research outlet states that blockchain has the potential to provide a platform that helps decentralize health data, which will ensure access control, authenticity, and “integrity of protected healthcare information.”

That said, Frost and Sullivan acknowledge that blockchain is still widely misunderstood by many industries, but holds the possibility of helping industries save money by improving workflows and the disintermediation of “some high-cost gatekeepers.”

Blockchain outlook 2018: Regulations coming into play?

As Hobbs told INN, caution will still be prevalent in in the market until there’s proper regulation.

“ICOs or token distributions still going to be very popular and a lot of people doing them, but there’s going to be different strategies and structures for them so that people can try to prepare for regulation that’s coming down, except we don’t know really what that’s going to be,” he said. 

CBS Insights echoed similar sentiments in a report, stating that blockchain is still in its “nascent stages.”

“Teams holding ICOs have yet to collaborate with regulators to develop strong legal frameworks, and state bodies continue to grapple with the question of how to regulate inherently decentralized protocols,” the research outlet stated. “Given that major cryptocurrencies (like bitcoin) have often been used for illicit black-market transactions, regulatory clarity could be an uphill battle.”

AS BIS Research told INN, the Dubai government has partnered with a blockchain start-up in the UK, called ObjectTech, to create digital passports for entry at the Dubai International Airport “with the aim of eliminating manual passport verification, and creating the world’s first-gateless border.”

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