Checking in on Manufacturing Blockchain Technology
Bitcoin has suffered in 2020 so far, halving its value to match the decline of the stock market in March; and blockchain has suffered by affiliation — at least, in the eyes of the public. That said, although 2019 was a big year for conceptual blockchain innovations, 2020 is the year they’re finally rolling out into the field.
That’s right, blockchain is finally here, bringing an undercurrent of change that’s sure to ripple into the headlines soon enough. In fact, many manufacturers are already making great strides to adopt these game-changing blockchain technologies.
Technologies already in the field
Blockchain has quickly gone from novel concept to in-the-field technology for many industries. Chief among them is the energy sector — specifically, oil, gas, and solar. Blockchain monitors the seemingly infinite transactions associated with generating energy, and is extremely useful for validating contracts and pricing. Distributed ledgers have made it easy to verify the origin of certificates and control output.
As the smart car becomes more prominent, so does blockchain in the auto industry. Blockchain is already at work in modern vehicle maintenance systems, logging unimpeachable records of service, maintenance, repairs, sensor action, and much more. Decrypting a car’s blockchain record can tell a new owner or a manufacturer absolutely everything about the car. It’s an essential technology driving the autonomous vehicle curve closer.
Consumer goods manufacturing is also rife with blockchain examples. From tracking counterfeit goods to tracing products for the purposes of recall or rebate, blockchain’s distributed ledger system has become an inalienable standard for tracking the chain of custody.
Where’s the buzz on blockchain?
It seems like every manufacturing headline in 2019 was blockchain related. Where’s the buzz now? While the media is moving on to bigger and better things, blockchain is quickly becoming embedded into the modern factory.
The World Economic Forum predicts as much as 10% of global GDP will track against a blockchain ledger. Some reports even put this number as high as 25% of total U.S. GDP. The proof is in the market growth. Blockchain as a market was valued at a meager $2.6 million in 2017; by 2025, it’s expected value will be $543.5 million! 77%+ compound annual growth rate (CAGR) marks blockchain as a de facto priority for manufacturers.
Blockchain may be fading from the headlines and losing its buzzword status, but we haven’t heard the last of it … not by a longshot. The low barrier to entry, inherent security standards, and intrinsic visibility will make blockchain a staple part of any factory joining the Industry 4.0 movement.
The technologies will only get better, too. Harnessing blockchain for application-specific innovations at the factory level has strong potential. Manufacturers could be looking at a new age of proprietary processes, as well as cost-saving initiatives that help them control the bottom line and reinvest in other facets of connected manufacturing. Blockchain isn’t just poised for industry growth — it’s driving it.