For many who entered 2020 optimistic about blockchain and cryptocurrency, the pandemic quickly raised fears that the bulk of an industry already fighting for mainstream adoption and monetization would soon be on its last legs. In yet another instance of how adversity can favor innovators, though, the year so far has been a surprising boon to stable blockchain projects as they advance the underlying promise of these technologies to tackle the kinds of problems we are now facing at worldwide scales.
If the pandemic has revealed the vulnerabilities of an interconnected global society, it has also in the process lent credence to the solutions that blockchain groups have long proclaimed to a largely skeptical audience. Where claims about the power of blockchain to secure, track, and authenticate data might once have begged the question, “Why?”, it now appears that these are precisely the lacking capabilities needed to optimize a global pandemic response, for instance, or to secure supply chains across shaken industries. As the Harvard Business Review reports, blockchain is also enabling new modes of production that are increasingly favorable to businesses navigating a rapidly shifting array of B2B and B2C consumer needs, as in the case of VeriTX’s decentralized, 3D-printing based manufacturing process; by enabling companies to securely generate components with crucial, high-stakes applications, solutions like these help de-risk innovation while lowering R&D and production costs that would otherwise be insurmountable barriers for companies seeking to pivot.
Digital currencies, the most popular application of blockchain technology epitomized by tokens like Bitcoin and Ethereum, have meanwhile seen a resurgence in recent months as speculators drive up their valuation in global crypto exchanges. While the values of these tokens do not necessarily correspond to the worth of specific blockchain platforms, they often do, particularly in the case of platforms that have used initial coin offerings (ICOs) to fund their development. The willingness of investors to seek out these financial assets amid economic uncertainty also gives proof of concept to their value as more than simply a lottery play or novelty item. Even traditional financial institutions are staking their prospects in an industry-wide pivot to embrace blockchain and cryptocurrencies, as for instance with Fidelity’s recent launch of a Bitcoin-only investment fund.
For years, government regulation has been viewed as the primary hindrance to blockchain’s mainstream adoption, with its often-ambiguous legal status ranging widely country to country. This too has begun to change, as widening government approval lends legitimacy to projects that have long faced the risk of becoming outlawed without warning. With the potential to revolutionize the manner in which virtually all industries are organized, the benefits of its getting ahead of its acceptance are rapidly outweighing fears of its disruptive power in traditional markets. Ongoing regulatory efforts in the United States, for instance, increasingly focus on how to safeguard legitimate economic political interests as cryptocurrencies gain adoption, rather than excluding cryptocurrencies from the market preemptively.
Blockchain is a uniquely global technology in the sense that it offers the same fundamental credentials and benefits to users regardless of their whereabouts or identities. By enabling applications that empower individuals to work, invest, and exchange information autonomously, anonymously, and with fewer restrictions, it is rapidly offering a new means of conducting cross-border exchanges, contracting services, and delivering products to consumers. With a global network of 10,000+ linguists and subject matter experts that we use to deliver custom localization and communication solutions worldwide, CSOFT can help innovators in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space grow their products and services in global markets and reach users and customers around the world.