- What are the challenges and opportunities in relation to Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT)/Blockchain?
- What are the priority areas that may require future standardisation to support the growth of the technology?
In this report, we present an overview of the current landscape of DLT/Blockchain developments and closely examine the issues that are central to the development of DLT/Blockchain. We articulate a set of areas for further consideration by the DLT/Blockchain community regarding the potential role of standardization. Rather than providing a definitive list of topics, the aim of the study is to provoke further discussion across the DLT/Blockchain community about the potential role of standards in supporting the development and adoption of the technology. The research has been carried out using a mixed methods approach involving a focused review of the literature, in-depth interviews with experts from public and private organizations, and an internal workshop.
Challenges facing DLT/Blockchain
- Lack of clarity on the terminology and perceived immaturity of the technology.
- Perceived risks in early adoption and likely disruption to existing industry practices.
- Insufficient evidence on business gains and wider economic impact.
- Lack of clarity on how the technology is/would be governed.
- Uncertainty around regulation.
- Multiple non-interoperable implementations and resulting fragmentation.
- Maintaining security and privacy of data.
- Ensuring integrity of data and strong encryption.
- Energy-intensive nature of the technology.
- Lack of clarity regarding smart contracts and how to implement them through DLT/Blockchain.
Opportunities for DLT/Blockchain
- Providing efficiency gains (including cost savings) for businesses and end-users.
- Enabling new economic and business models.
- Improving resilience and security in transactional systems.
- Empowering end-users and improving trust in transactions.
- Offering benefits for recording and reporting of data and activities through immutability capabilities.
- Enabling management of digital identity through public key cryptography.
- Providing the underlying mechanism for smart contracts and enabling smart auditing capabilities.
Prospective role of standards in relation to DLT/Blockchain
Although it is too early to consider standards related to technical aspects, standards can potentially play a role in the following areas:
- Establishing consensus on consistent terminology.
- Ensuring interoperability between multiple implementations.
- Addressing security, privacy and data governance concerns.
- Fostering trust, including managing end-user identity.
- Facilitating implementation of provenance tracking.
Table of Contents
Introduction and overview
Study design and methods
Assessing the challenges and opportunities in relation to DLT/Blockchain
The prospective role of standards to support DLT/Blockchain
Overview of definitions of DLT/Blockchain
List of search terms used in the accelerated evidence assessment
Protocol for semi-structured interviews
The research described in this report was funded by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and conducted by RAND Europe.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.
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