World Economic Forum Report Evaluates the Value of Blockchain


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The World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) latest report, published July 16, 2019, aims to provide businesses, governments, and other organizations with a blockchain value framework to help them build out a business case for blockchain investment, and evaluate whether it is worth it or not.

The Report

In collaboration with the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation and with the support of Accenture, the WEF’s report engages with the topic of the blockchain and the value it brings to enterprise.

While it is certain that there has been more than enough hype regarding Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), and that there are still ongoing debates to on how to define blockchain, a  majority of people think the technology can bring value to the community. As a matter of fact, many companies are investing to increase their blockchain adoption.

Value Framework

The result of the report is a “Blockchain Value Framework” that should guide enterprises an understanding of how they may benefit from implementing blockchain solutions.

In other words, the framework is designed for executives who have figured out a specific use case to implement a blockchain-related solution but are struggling to understand what’s next. The framework is the result of an investigation that included a survey of 550 individuals within 13 different industries, plus an analysis of 75 different blockchain projects.

The report acknowledges that blockchain use-cases have the potential to impact on business mainly across three dimensions:

  • Improving productivity and quality
  • Increasing transparency among parties
  • Reinventing products and processes

The following picture summarizes the whole framework:

[Source: Crowdfund Insider]

Of course, payments and financial transactions are the most immediate sectors to benefit from distributed ledgers. The auditability, transparency, and reduction of process friction can streamline and cut costs. But blockchain may be able to accomplish a lot more in many other environments.

The WEF itself states:

“In nine of the industries surveyed, the full traceability and integrity of the data were the top two potential advantages of using blockchain technology. Most of the industries surveyed could benefit from smart contracts and automation provided by blockchain.”

Commitment to Blockchain

The WEF has been monitoring the blockchain landscape for a couple of years. This last paper intends to help organizations build out a business case after deciding that blockchain may be a good fit for a particular use-case. This report can be considered the follow up to another report the WEF released back in 2018 titled: “Blockchain Beyond the Hype“, which is in fact a practical framework that aimed to help decision-makers distinguish between hype and viable use-cases.

Furthermore, the WEF has offered small guidance to businesses that are willing to challenge themselves and rethink their current business models, relationships between ecosystem partners, customers, and their investments in technology. More guidance will likely translate in the widespread of more use cases for the blockchain technology.

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