Exploiting the full potential of blockchain requires a solid technology infrastructure, along with the necessary skills to set it up, maintain and operate it. Often, innovators in public administrations or SMEs tend to start with pilots with limited scope in order to test the value of this new way of processing information and showcase its benefits to management. However, the initial investment, in terms of time, budget and resources, can appear prohibitive. In addition, the number of available technologies, tools and framework is increasing, making the choice more time-consuming.
For start-ups and individual businesses, without access to a client base, the expertise to navigate the regulations and licensing of the finance industry, client confidence, and robust global infrastructure, these new entrants can only go so far on their own. Collaboration between incumbents and new players will be essential to fully comprehend the effects (both positive and negative) of technological developments.
The time has come for one further change; a shift in mind-set from one of competition to collaboration. By exploring strategic partnerships, such as between traditional banking providers and new innovators, will create long-term success for the benefit of all.
In order to work together to shape a new future, the various industries and stakeholders need to take a collective view on the potential of the technology. They must embrace this potential, show patience with its development and invest in various innovative solutions to bring it to bear. It is up to major established players in the market to work with innovators to develop standards, while also preserving the existing strengths of the ecosystem, and navigating the complex worlds of regulation and legal oversight.
There is also the need for the creation of fora that educate regulators and the business community on the opportunities and risks. One will also require collection and assessment of best practices. A database should be set up to track and evaluate these applications and to provide the necessary empirical evidence on which sound policy making can be based.
Investment in blockchain technology should not come only from the private sector or from direct stakeholders. Government and authorities should also be spurring innovation through co-financing and non-financial means.