Hard disks inside a server room at a company in Bangkok. Photo: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha
Hard disks inside a server room at a company in Bangkok. Photo: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha

Research firm Genesis Market Insights has just released its global blockchain market report, which indicates that the Asia Pacific region will be the fastest growing for the technology over the next five years.

According to the research, the blockchain market was valued at $357 million in 2017. It goes on to claim that the market is expected to grow to more than $10 billion by 2023, a bold claim in light of the current bearish crypto-currency markets.

Last year the North American region held the highest market share, but the Asia Pacific is set to overtake it in the coming years. It is considered the fastest growing market due to the high adoption and acceptance of blockchain technology. By country the US, Japan and China are expected to see considerable growth.

A rising crypto-currency market was said to be the driver for Asia. Four of the five top crypto exchanges in the world are located in Asia, primarily in Hong Kong and South Korea. Many countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore are considered blockchain and crypto-friendly, whereas a lot of western nations including the US are still wary of the technology due to the volatility of the crypto markets.

The opportunities in the industry were cited to be increasing traceability and improved customer experience with greater security for online transactions. Blockchain provides an immutable distributed ledger that cannot be tampered with or hacked. Wallets and exchanges that store digital tokens, however, can be vulnerable as recent incidents have shown, but the cryptographic technology behind the blockchain itself is currently impenetrable.

The blockchain market is segmented on the basis of applications. The tech can be used in many scenarios and the report highlights the major growth areas. These include payments, smart contracts, exchanges, documentation, digital identity, supply chain management, governance, risk and compliance management and others such as digital voting and content storage management.

The payment segment that is expected to grow the fastest is cross-border transactions. Now these are slow and costly in Asia, with banks often charging high fees and applying skewed exchange rates that do not favor the customer. In addition to this, many hold on to funds for several days during the transaction process, which can happen in seconds using blockchain technology or crypto-currencies. San Francisco-based blockchain firm Ripple has already made progress in this area with banking partners in Japan and South Korea and India in addition to more than 100 others globally.

The current down trending crypto markets could just be a blip ahead of greater adoption of the technology and digital currencies over the coming decade.

Please contact us with feedback, news or stories: thechain@atimes.com