Blockchain may be considered the latest and greatest technology but it seems that organisations in Ireland have yet to succumb to the hype.
Research carried out at NUI Galway shows adoption of the technology remains relatively low with just 40 per cent of Irish enterprises having embraced it to date.
The findings have led the authors of the research to call on the Government to do more to promote the technology in Ireland.
Blockchain, which has been hailed in some quarters as the most revolutionary technology since the internet, is forecast to disrupt a large number of industries.
The technology in its simplest form represents a new way to access and trust data communicated over the internet by providing a decentralised shared database system that allows users in a network to verify and store records,
It should be noted that just 20 companies were selected for the new study, which was carried out in association with the Blockchain Association of Ireland. Nonetheless, given that there has been little research to date on adoption locally, the findings will likely to be of widespread interest.
Of the 20 companies interviewed, eight had already adopted blockchain and 12 had not, or did not intend to do soo ver the next two years. In terms of awareness of the technology, five out of 20 respondents interviewed had a basic level of blockchain awareness, while six had a medium level and only nine were able to demonstrate a high level of knowledge.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, support from top management and organisational readiness were identified as key enablers for blockchain adoption. Legislative uncertainty, a lack of business cases and in-house expertise, were cited as the main deterrent alongside its association with initial coin offerings and digital currencies, which were perceived negatively.
Speaking about the study, Dr Trevor Clohessy at NUI Galway called for government action to promote blockchain in Ireland through the roll-out of a national initiative, such as has happened in other countries.
“One of the benefits of blockchain is that once transactional data has been entered into the digital ledger it is immutable, which means it is not possible to either amend or remove data entered, ensuring the integrity of all transactional records. And its shared ownership makes it less vulnerable to cyberattack,” said Dr Clohessy.
“Beyond business, other beneficial uses of this technology would be in voting machines and ballot boxes to address electoral fraud and potentially looking at a blockchain enabled technology-controlled border identification system that could provide a possible solution to the current North/South Brexit border challenges,” he added.
The J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway is currently exploring ways to address a gap in the lack of educational courses on the technology.
The university recently introduced blockchain as a module for students studying for the MSc Business Analytics and MSc Information Systems Management programmes.