The true capacity of blockchain is still far from being realised, as a handful of critical challenges remain unsolved, an ACS report has found.

Blockchain 2030: A Look at the Future of Blockchain in Australia, a collaboration report between ACS and CSIRO’s Data61, explores eight scenarios for future adoption of blockchain technology in Australia.

Each scenario challenges existing views of blockchain and illustrates uncertainties in areas such as data portability, privacy, user savviness and safety.

Research scientist at CSIRO’s Data61 and lead author of the report, Dr Alexandra Bratanova, said although the hype around blockchain has faded, the technology remains relevant.

“It’s fair to say that the hype around blockchain is fading and we’re likely heading towards what is sometimes called the ‘trough of disillusionment’. It’s been over a decade since blockchain was first introduced and though the hype has faded, distributed ledger technology is far from dead,” said Dr Bratanova.

Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy, Ed Husic, launches the report.

ACS President Yohan Ramasundara added, “Investment in blockchain is still growing significantly and right now there are 14 job positions for every blockchain developer. And while current activity is largely concentrated in financial and insurance services, there are many potential applications across the gamut of Australia’s industries.”

The report outlines Australia’s competitive advantage, already home to world-first blockchain applications in bonds operations, smart programmable money and international standards, as well as industry-specific trials in energy, agriculture and the public sector.

“Using the lens of the Gartner Hype Cycle for new technologies, the next phase of development is what is known as the ‘plateau of productivity’, where technologies simply become a part of the fabric of the technology and business landscape,” Dr Bratanova said.

“Trust is the big X factor,” said Mr Ramasundara. “Citizen reactions to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the banking enquiry and rising incoming inequality has seen an erosion of trust in centralised institutions. Should this trend continue, it may very well be the platform to ignite blockchain adoption and other decentralised technologies.”

To read the full report, click here.