It is always difficult to predict the long-term impact of an innovative technology. However, the following aspects are promising candidates for becoming the long-term accomplishments of the blockchain:
- Disintermediation. The blockchain does not destroy the role of the middleman but instead it establishes itself as a digital and strictly rule-following middleman. Establishing a system that orchestrates the direct interactions of peers in a secure way is indeed a huge achievement.
- Automation. To fulfill its role as digital intermediary, the blockchain relies on automation. The more this technology is used, the more it will replace manual tasks of established intermediaries by automated interactions between peers.
- Standardization. These automatic processes are based on the existence of rules and standards. Hence, the more the blockchain is used, the more transactions and interactions between contracting parties will be standardized.
- Streamlining Processes. As a consequence of the above factors, business processes will become more transparent and streamlined. The introduction of this technology forces us to review and analyze the existing business processes and redesigning and streamlining them.
- Increased Processing Speed. Disintermediation, standardization, streamlined processes, and automation lead to a significant speed up of processes. The more this technology is used, the timelier transactions and interactions between contracting parties will be executed, now burdened by time-consuming manually performed tasks.
- Cost Reduction. The economic consequence of the above mentioned factors is the reduction of costs. This phenomenon has driven and reshaped many industries and as a result made many goods affordable to a wider range of people. The cost-reduction of intermediation could be the most noticeable long-term contribution of the blockchain from an economic point of view.
- Trust in Protocols and Technology. The blockchain replaces trust in people and organizations with the trust in the unerring logic of computer-based verification and the power of consensus. This changes our perception of trust and reliability on the individual level as well as on the level of the society. What initially may seem worrisome and disheartening is, to a great extent, a relief when we become aware of the high level of fraud that surrounds us in all the areas.
- Credibility. As a result of automation and standardization, the initiation, execution and settlement of business interactions will be more reliable and secure, as well inexpensive and ubiquitously available.
- Increased Technology Awareness. The blockchain is a complex technological construct that solves a very technical problem: that of achieving integrity in distributed peer-to-peer systems by using immutable data structures and a consensus algorithm. What might seem something alien to the business world has become something that attracts attention and that makes us aware of the role that technology plays in our lives.
Therefore, the greater the implementation of this technology, the greater its contribution to the transformation of economic industries that will impact on an improvement of the quality of life, of the individual and society.