1 May, 2018
IBM’s general manager of blockchain initiatives, Marie Wieck, is calling for governments worldwide to adopt blockchain technology. Speaking to The Australian Financial Review in Las Vegas during IBM’s THINK conference, she recommended that governments use blockchain for public services in an effort to speed up the adoption of the technology in business.
Wieck stated that blockchain could be a great boon to the global economy, contributing an estimated $3.1 trillion of business value-add by 2030—but that advances could be hindered if countries have opposing policies regarding its use. Some governments are currently embracing blockchain while others most definitely are not.
South Korea is one of those countries with a rigid stance against blockchain development despite the popularity of cryptocurrency among its citizens. Then there’s Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, whose government recently issued a regulatory mandate for the use of blockchain.
“There is no question that the level of blockchain activity in Dubai far exceeds just about every other place because it has made the mandate, from a government perspective, that in December of 2021 they won’t be using any paper-based systems,” explained Wieck. To accomplish this, Dubai is “putting all documents on a blockchain.”
One important effect of this mandate is that corporations will have an incentive to adopt blockchain technology as well—especially when working with the Dubai government and others that support blockchain. Corporate investment in the technology would undoubtedly spur accelerated growth.
Wieck also suggested that industry groups invest in blockchain and get their members on board. Blockchain can support established rules and guidelines about data sharing within these groups, potentially making the proposition more attractive to members.
“My very simple analogy is that 2016 was all about blockchain tourism and sightseeing, and last year was pilots and proof of concepts. This year, those plans are all going into production,” Wieck said. It is certainly an interesting time for blockchain. If governments continue to embrace the technology, there’s a chance that—as Wieck believes—blockchain will eventually affect every industry worldwide.