- 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.
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