If only we could predict the future! While we can’t know exactly what’s going to happen (that’s some serious superhero shxt), however; we can make educated guesses based on tried-and-tested Futures Studies methods, insights from industry experts and a bucketload of data.
So, can we know where blockchain technology (including NFTs) will be in 5 years time? The answer lies somewhere between “probably” and “kind of”.
While we’d like to say we gazed into our crystal ball, we’ve actually dug into sources ranging from The Economic Times to Quora — doing the intellectual legwork so you don’t have to.
Here’s what we found…
The future of blockchain
One thing is clear: people are waking up to the idea that blockchain is about more than just cryptocurrency, and that they’re both about more than just Bitcoin.
There are so many conflicting views and strong feelings on the topic, it’s difficult to guess which sides will win out. But here are our best guesses:
Expanded use cases
According to a Gartner Trend Insight Report, the business value of blockchain is set to grow to more than $3.1 trillion by 2030. Clearly, use cases for blockchain technology are set to expand (even explode) in the next 5 years, as businesses and individuals become increasingly comfortable with the idea of engaging with public distributed ledgers in daily life. Uses cases include:
- DeFi, a.k.a. Decentralised Finance
- Cybersecurity and Identity Management
- Supply Chain Management
- Real estate transactions
- Voting verification
These are just a drop in the ocean. Blockchain is set to disrupt everything from Healthcare to Retail, Mining, Education and more.
As industry becomes more comfortable harnessing blockchain technology, it should also become increasingly accessible to emerging economies.
For example, you can read about the impact of NFTs in Africa here.
*Brushing up on the basics? Learn about NFTs (for free) through NFT Academy
Blockchain as a Service (BaaS)
At their heart, all the use cases above are — or rely on — a secure transaction of some kind. This opens up the opportunity for service providers to offer Blockchain-as-a-Service (Baas), much like subscription-based software (or “SaaS”) offerings are now the norm.
BaaS offers cloud-based hosting services for businesses wanting to build blockchain applications (dApps) who may not have the capital or technical expertise needed to do so in-house. Harnessing the power of blockchain for their business benefit becomes cheaper and more user-friendly in this way, as their service provider takes care of the technical gear (like servers) and skills (like developers) they’d need to maintain the blockchain their app is built on.
Developments like BaaS, which makes the technology more user-friendly and accessible, is partly why we’re so confident that we’ll see a boom of blockchain use across industries in the next 5 years.
Related: Has all this talk about blockchains whet your appetite for more? Get everything from beginner-friendly basics to expert news in this blog post that lists Great Sources to Learn About Blockchain Technology.
Stronger positions on cryptocurrency by governments
The state is reliably late to adopt any innovation, but the gap between blockchain and the government is starting to close. This is especially true for cryptocurrencies (though closer scrutiny of the blockchain technology they’re based on may come later).
Over the next 5 years we should see governments around the world take increasingly strong positions for or against blockchain and cryptocurrency. On one extreme, we already have a pioneer in El Salvador — currently the only country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. On the other hand, we have countries like India, China, Bolivia and Qatar who are currently bent on doing all they can to prevent crypto-adoption — including issuing absolute bans.
Thankfully, the vast majority remain open-minded, often recognising cryptocurrency as an asset class and remaining friendly towards it — even if they’re not as enthusiastic as El Salvador. Governments in this camp include the European Union, the US and Canada, Australia and Mexico.
We can’t say which way states will regulate but clearly the window for fence-sitting is closing. It’s also hard to tell whether their attention will remain solely on crypto, or if it will grow to include evolving segments like DeFi or even the blockchain as a whole. We only hope that world governments find themselves on the right side of history on this one…
For better or worse, governments will decide for or against supporting blockchain and everything that comes with it. This means we’re likely to see an explosion of government-issued legislation such as tax laws, and bills that range from regulation through to outright bans. For now, all legislation focuses on cryptocurrency, but it’s likely other economic disruptors like DeFi aren’t far behind.
While regulatory frameworks may be implemented with good intentions, for example to protect underserved populations or the darker side of criminal activity, we hope that they don’t end up strangling the potential cryptocurrency has to make the world a better place.
The future of NFTs
As one of the many blockchain use cases, we can expect to see many blockchain trends mirrored in the future of NFTs. These include:
- Expanded use cases. NFTs are fast becoming more than just a way to track the provenance of digital art. While that’s an important and useful function, we should soon see NFTs also being widely adopted in gaming, security and identification, promotional campaigns, ecommerce, supply chain logistics and more.
- Increased regulation. Early adopters of NFTs have seen both the best and worst of human nature play out. While it’s proved a lifeline to many digital creators, some unscrupulous louts have taken advantage of the unregulated space — pulling off scams and copyright infringements, minting work they didn’t make. We expect regulatory frameworks, best practice benchmarks and security measures will ramp up to vanquish this dark side.
- Increased accessibility. NFTs can be prohibitively expensive and hard to understand. Thankfully, we should see a spike in initiatives that make NFTs accessible for all. The plethora of new user-friendly platforms (like Momint!) and education resources are matched by technical innovations that make it easier to buy into the high-value NFT market. For example, by using ERC-20 tokens, people can now purchase a small part, or fragment, of an expensive NFT — called “fragmentation”.
Related: Excited by what you’re hearing but think you’ve missed the boat? We’re not so sure you have! Find out why in our NFT Academy video: Is it too late to get into NFTs?
How do we know that we know?
We know that we don’t know. No journey of progress is free from its fair share of ups and downs. But one thing is clear: when it comes to blockchain technology and all of its derivatives, the next 5 years will see things moving forward.
Think we’re pulling your leg? Burning with questions? Or found something about blockchain and NFTs you just HAVE to talk about? Join us on Discord!