Blockchain technology has undoubtedly one of the most booming technologies in the year 2021. It has certainly been one of the trends that have been most talked about over the past few years and the same is expected in the time to come. The concept of blockchain technology is still evolving and there are many who are still confused about the entire concept. In a very simple manner, blockchain can be thought of as a database or a storage infrastructure for data that is strictly secured by encryption as well as decentralization.
Blockchain technology has been advancing and emerging on a regular basis. Moreover, its applications have been spreading like anything in the past few years. Similarly, there was a lot happening in blockchain in the year 2021 such as newer applications, new milestones, various events scattered across the globe, and many more. It is expected that as years pass by more such happenings are bound to occur at an increasing pace. So, as the year 2021 is on the verge of ending and the new year 2022 is only a few hours away, let us have a brief recap of blockchain in the year 2021.
Blockchain to Track and Distribute COVID 19 Vaccines
One of the major milestones of blockchain in the year 2021 is its use in tracking and distributing COVID 19 vaccines. The development and launch of COVID 19 vaccines were one of the primary steps in defeating the deadly virus as well as saving the world from the adverse effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. But appropriate tracking and distribution of vaccines by governments across the world is undoubtedly a huge task. It is precisely the situation where blockchain has a vital role to play. The need for the vaccines to be kept in refrigerated conditions and a limited supply is a tough task for which blockchain has the solution.
In the next year, it is very likely to be seen that there is an increasing usage of blockchain to track COVID 19 vaccines starting from the point of manufacture and to the point where people are given the vaccine. At each point of the journey, blockchain technology is used for the creation of a permanent as well as a non-falsifiable record of the exact location of each batch at any given point in time. This, in turn, would enhance the speed of vaccination and at the same time be helpful in the forecasting of demand, supply chain management, as well as authentication.
Tech giant IBM has been implementing blockchain-based solutions in the field of medicine and discussion is ongoing with pharmaceutical companies to launch a pilot project. Two hospitals in the United Kingdom have trialed an expansion of a blockchain system presently used for tracking the distribution of chemotherapy drugs and COVID 19 vaccines. Vaccine shipments are fitted with internal sensors to make sure that they lie within the safe temperature limit along with the automatic addition of a permanent and non-erasable entry into the blockchain that ensures the safe removal of vaccines from the supply chain. If all trials are successful, time is not far from where we can see blockchain become an integral part of the pharmaceutical industry.
Rise of Enterprise Blockchain
Enterprise blockchain which is also known as permissioned blockchain, or private blockchain refers to deployments that, unlike the flagship use case of cryptocurrencies, come under the control of a centralized “owner” usually the business or organization that has deployed the chain. The year 2021 has seen a significant rise in enterprise blockchain. Bitcoin and its exponential rise in value made it to the headlines. It means that the people are not aware of the innumerable uses of the technology ranging from the pharmaceutical industry to diamond mining and finance.
While cryptocurrencies proved their robustness, different businesses across the world have been busy utilizing the potential of blockchain to enhance efficiency and bring about a reduction in the costs for day-to-day operations. It is forecasted that investment in blockchain technology by different businesses would reach about 16 billion dollars by the year 2023. Blockchain technology has already been adopted by banks & financial institutions because of its suitability for accounting, ledgering, etc., and is all set to lead the way in terms of investment in blockchain. In addition to this, sectors such as healthcare, distribution, manufacturing, and professional services expect to see a rise in investment.
Non-fungible tokens or NFTs have undoubtedly boomed in the year 2021 and the same is expected to rise further in the coming years. NFTs were always the big news in the blockchain world in 2021. NFTs are typically digital assets that live on a blockchain and therefore have a unique value. Some notable occurrences in the NFT market this year are listed below.
- The musician Grimes sold an NFT artwork at 6.6 million dollars.
- The NBA generated a total amount of whooping 230 million dollars in sales of video clips throughout its Top Shot NFT marketplace.
In addition to the above, there are a number of other examples as well and several blockchain enthusiasts have rightly referred to 2021 as the year of NFTs.
Blockchain as a Service
The model, blockchain as a service has undoubtedly been the key in 2021 towards the rapid adoption of trends in technology such as IoT or the internet of things, AI or artificial intelligence, ML or machine learning, and cloud computing. Blockchain is on the verge of being the next with renowned names like Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM. Different organizations are trying to explore the possibilities of blockchain and leverage the technology without any upfront investments in infrastructure as well as skills. In addition to operating as a store or record of value, different advanced implementations of blockchain like the Ethereum Network and Hyperledger Fabric permit the creation of smart contracts as well as other decentralized trustless architecture that find innumerable applications.
Craziness Around Cryptocurrencies
The craziness around cryptocurrencies was a point to be noted in the year 2021. Starting from the mystery surrounding the creator of Bitcoin to the tendency of Elon Musk in making market-moving announcements and the high price volatility in the crypto market has made the world of cryptocurrency quite exciting. In addition to Bitcoin, Altcoins & stablecoins have also grabbed the attention of many which have been a part of the news every now and then.
Top Blockchain Events in 2021
Blockchain events and expos have been taking place throughout the world in the year 2021. Here is a list of the few notable blockchain events this year.
- AIBC Summit Europe, 15th to 19th November 2021
- Blockchain Fest, 2nd and 3rd December 2021, Cyprus
- Blockchain Europe 2nd to 4th December 2021, Germany
- Cloud Expo Europe 2021, 8th and 9th December 2021, Germany
- European Blockchain Convention, 13th to 16th December 2021
- TADS Awards, September 30th, 2021, Hong Kong, China
- The Future of Money, Governance, & the Law, September 30th, 2021, Washington, DC, US
- BII SUMMIT Dubai, September 29th, 2021, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- CoinAgenda Europe, 28th to 30th September 2021, Monaco
- Club Fest Virtual (Online), 28th and 29th September 2021
- Mainnet, 20th to 22nd September 2021, New York, NY, US
- Digital Asset Summit, 14th and 15th September 2021, New York, NY, US
- APAC Blockchain Conference, 6th to 8th December 2021, Sydney, Australia
- Blockchain Expo Global, 6th and 7th September 2021, London, UK
- REIMAGINE (Online) 15th August 2021
Blockchain Technology Applications in 2021
Blockchain technology has been regularly finding newer and newer applications. Constant research is going on to make the fullest use of the technology and let us have a look at a few of the interesting happenings in 2021 in terms of applications as well as usage of blockchain.
- Blockchain for artificial intelligence and the internet of things
- Integration of blockchain and internet of things
- Secure sharing of medical data
- Development and operation of NFT marketplaces
- Applications of blockchain technology to counter fraud
- Tracking of music royalties
- Blockchain for smart contracts
- Cross-border payments
- Real-time IoT operating systems
- Use of blockchain to secure social media platforms
- Personal identity security
- Anti-money laundering tracking system
- Supply chain and logistics monitoring
- Voting mechanism
- Advertising insights
- Original content creation
- Creation of operation of cryptocurrency exchanges
- Real estate processing platform
Blockchain technology is still in its evolving phase. The potential of the technology has not yet been utilized. But it has been observed that the use and adoption of blockchain technology have been on the rise over the past few years. The year 2021 has seen several instances of increasing use as well as the adoption of blockchain in various industries which is all set to rise in the coming years when the fullest potential of the technology is realized slowly and steadily.