What the Business World Sees as Blockchains Biggest Barriers

August 31, 2018 / by Jackson Rickun

Subjective regulatory uncertainty and trust are barriers to blockchain adoption among businesses, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey.

The study surveyed 600 business executives around the world from over 10 industries, asking respondents a series of questions regarding the adoption of blockchain in the next three to five years. Executives also said that separate blockchains not working together, an inability to scale, intellectual property concerns, and audit/compliance concerns were also among the top barriers for blockchain adoption.

While many cryptocurrencies are centered around an ethos of trustlessness, companies and their executives still put little trust into these technologies. For example, a company’s specific protocols are sometimes hard to reconcile with decentralized blockchains whose rules are based on decentralized consensus.

“Take payment systems and mechanisms in banking. Though everyone plays by the rules of existing systems today, they don’t necessarily agree on how an alternative blockchain-based model should be designed and operated,” the survey summary said.

Despite these concerns, it’s clear that blockchain is at the forefront of their attempts to innovate. Four in five executives (84 percent) said that they’ve already started blockchain initiatives at their companies. Within this percentile, about 25 percent are already in pilot programs or are already live.

Within the industries surveyed, 46 percent of respondents said financial services are the most advanced in blockchain technologies while about 12 percent of respondents said industrial products/manufacturing, energies, and utilities are most advanced.

Perhaps most interesting is subjective perception of global leaders in blockchain. Respondents said that the US is most advanced with 29 percent, and China is second at 18 percent. However, by 2021-2023, respondents said that dominance will completely flip — 30 percent believe China will be leader by 2021-2023.

With subjective regulatory uncertainty as the main barrier to adoption, it makes sense why business executives believe China will become a global blockchain leader within the next 5 years. With Chinese business seen as more heavily integrated with government than American businesses are with American governments, it’s likely that China will provide more favorable regulatory pathways for the Chinese to grow into blockchain adoption at a more rapid pace and with more pervasive influence.