The State of Blockchain: Experts Weigh in on Adoption Around the World

Blockchain is becoming a hot topic, but is it being effectively implemented around the world?
Blockchain usage is exploding around the world. But despite the technology’s many vocal advocates, the spread of technology is never even. Adoption is limited by a number of factors, including infrastructure development, local resources and regulation.As happens with the spread of any emerging technology, certain regions are pulling ahead of the pack. Rado Dragov, the blockchain lead for the International Data Corporation, explained that there are a number of factors that can create favorable conditions for adoption, varying from investment to talent, adding:“Beyond these factors, blockchain investment is very much influenced by current and upcoming regulation, and the overall government attitude towards this technology. In some cases, regulation is missing and that uncertainty can spook a lot of investors. By adopting business-friendly regulation, some European countries like Switzerland, Estonia and Malta have become fertile ground for many blockchain start-ups.”Dragov added that, while blockchain investment is growing steadily, it still lags behind other technological investment in the information and communications technology sector:“IDC forecasted blockchain spending to be $2.7 billion in 2019 — an increase of 80% over 2018. While the current growth rate is quite impressive, it still represents a small portion of total ICT spending. As a comparison, IDC projected ICT investment in new technologies (IoT, AI, AR/VR, etc.) to have reached $961 billion in 2019.”Middle EastThe Middle East is a burgeoning tech hub. Many countries, especially smaller oil-producing states, have their own free economic zones dedicated to furthering technological development and innovation. The United Arab Emirates alone has 45 and both Saudi Arabia and Oman are quickly developing their own. Miami Devcon’s Saba Kifle told Cointelegraph that Middle East and African governments are putting these economic zones to good use by incubating blockchain projects:“Ultimately, governmental bodies in each of these regions have heavily invested in understanding how blockchain and digital currencies can improve the economic outlook for their regions. More importantly, they have taken intelligently cautious steps to stand up regulatory sandboxes to test how these technologies will affect that population.”Development in the Middle East and Africa is set to increase. A February report from the IDC forecast that governments across the region will witness a 400% surge in blockchain-based investment over the next four years.The report found that MEA countries will increase spending from $21 million in 2019 up to $105 million by 2023, a compound annual growth rate of about 50%. The report stated that MEA authorities were keen to explore blockchain solutions to tackle fraud, security and public administration.Although the sudden spike in blockchain investment is impressive, Jyoti Lalchandani, vice president and regional managing director at the IDC’s division for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa, said that MEA governments are not currently prepared for a significant digital transformation:“Governments across the region are under mounting pressure to become both more efficient and more effective. Whether it’s finding ways to integrate 5G, AI and blockchain or protect against intrusions

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