Blockchain is in a slump, with almost half its 2018 market value wiped out in 2020. But the silver lining in that downfall has been the resiliency of industrial applications, not least in the agri-food market, which has dominated blockchain success stories.
Analyst firm ABI Research said it expects industrial blockchain revenues to grow six-fold in the next five years, reaching $2.1 billion globally by 2025.
“Supply chain implementations have been particularly successful and are having the greatest impact on the agri-food industry,” explained Michela Menting, digital security research director at ABI Research.
“Combined with digital transformation efforts and IoT technologies, numerous blockchain-based platforms are moving into the production phase, paving the way for adoption into manufacturing, retail, and utilities markets. Transportation, shipping, distribution, and storage are key verticals for blockchain, and especially as they concern supply chain management, logistics, location and tracking, asset and inventory management.”
The blockchain market is still fairly young, with global revenues rather low, standing at $374 million by the end of 2020. Industrial applications are only just emerging out of R&D and into production.
“However, the opportunities are significant for distributed ledger technology, whether sharing a broad range of data and information or trade finance platforms and product marketplaces where industrial stakeholders can come together transparently and securely,” Menting said.
However, all of this would not be possible without the underlying R&D and support of the large enterprise IT providers like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. These providers offer the blockchain infrastructure to build and develop applications plus the ecosystem support through various consortiums and associations.
This has allowed the startup community to test and expand their capabilities quickly. Numerous companies are making innovative inroads including Blockfreight, Data Gumbo, Everledger, IOTA Foundation, Origin Trail, RoadLaunch, Skuchain, SyncFab, T-Mining, and Xage.
While many of these industrial applications appear promising, there are obstacles to implementation and adoption as with any new technology.
“But there is no doubt that blockchain can offer real added-value to industrial markets, in line with the Industry 4.0 movement and associated technologies,” Menting concluded.