Let's Talk Payments, a website devoted to tracking the FinTech space, recently produced an infographic that attempts to provide some guidance as to where the Blockchain will see the greatest traction in the coming year.
While we applaud the effort, and support many of the observations here, we think there are some nuances that LTP has overlooked, so it the information bears a few postscripts. Much of the data is obvious to those in the industry, so we'll focus on what is not as instantly apparent.
Check it out and see our comments after.
Ok, so here is what we would add for consideration (in no particular order):
1. Fine Art Title, Financing and Insurance: LTP doesn't mention this sector at all, which is a little strange. With a "reported" US $115 Billion in yearly revenues and a "speculated" US $1-2 Trillion out floating around, there is a major move afoot to add a layer of blockchain transparency and track-ability to this largely unregulated and definitely opaque (and somewhat slippery) market. Watch this space in 2016.
2. Real Estate: This industry has all of the elements necessary to support Blockchain disruption in full force. Title, escrow, settlement, money transfer, etc., bodes well for 2016. While Factom may be the most vocal (or obvious) in the space on this matter, we will definitely see numerous solutions arise in 2016. Bet on it.
3. Review/Endorsement: We are somewhat bullish on this play. However, what we see is Review tied directly to real-time distributed digital commerce. There are some awesome concepts floating around that are in stealth mode but getting ready to break. It's closer than you think.
4. Diamonds: We're torn here because the Blockchain is perfect for the global diamond market. That said, a couple of interesting points factor into our thinking. First, the luster seems to be wearing off diamonds in general, helped in no small way by the looming specter of "blood diamonds". Hi-powered players like Leonardo DiCaprio, (who starred in the actual movie "Blood Diamond"), have been driving this meme home to consumers for a while. LDC has even invested in a startup that promises to "take down the diamond industry" by "growing actual diamonds in two weeks". Which leads to point 2; diamonds have always been hugely inflated and subject to cartel-like pricing based on artificial scarcity. With an aggressive ad campaign, DeBeers literally invented the diamond engagement ring hoax, and how much of his yearly salary a man should pay for it (interestingly, the brainchild of women ad and PR execs). This manufactured value has held sway for decades. However, it is increasingly clear that the ride - while not necessarily stopping cold- is showing significant cracks. If diamonds are democratized/commoditized, (as they probably should be), then the need to track them may become less crucial to holding their value. Possible reversal: If the new diamonds come built in with a relentless and successful ad campaign, it could explode the market and render all of this moot. In that case, the Blockchain may stand a chance in this market.
5. Secure Data Storage: We know too many companies in this space that are potential game changers, so we'll bifurcate this into two camps: Enterprise and Consumer. On the enterprise level, companies are fighting several wars at once, such as decades of entrenched thinking, CTOs who don't want to upset their own dominion or look like they're behind the times, and many other obstacles -- so we agree with LTP's assessment on that side. The consumer market holds more promise, although getting people to sign up for more security stuff may prove difficult. There will need to be a LOT more consumer education about the integrity of the Blockchain for this to "move the chains" for consumer adoption. Based on the recent failure of the commercial data security service Lifelock, it may prove to be a tough thing to do. That said, if in 2016 Blockchain marketing can break the blood-brain barrier with consumers (for security in general or specific to a company), the sector explodes -- period.
6. The Internet of Things: This is a foregone conclusion. The two concepts (Blockchain and the IoT) are occurring in tandem -- almost in lockstep -- so it's the right place and time. Done deal.
In general, we think that most of what LTP offers in their infographic is more or less on point, with some caveats within an acceptable range of correctness. While this is a reasonably good barometer of where we're headed with all this, much needs to be done to educate both businesses and consumers in 2016.
Follow us at Agentic Group in 2016 as we do just that.