A new study from Juniper Research (www.juniperresearch.com) has found that the total value of Venture Capital (VC) investment into blockchain technologies and Bitcoin companies totaled $290 million in the first six months of the year, with more than 30 startups receiving funding in that time.
More than a third of all investment was accounted for by three companies: Circle, the social payment provider; Blockstream, the sidechain developer; and Digital Asset holdings, a distributed ledger solutions provider. The new research report highlights the increasing diversification of nascent blockchain deployments, with applications ranging from identity to asset management. It pinpoints the banking sector as being particularly proactive, with several banks having already adopted the Ripple blockchain protocol and others piloting competing solutions.
Juniper Research says that in areas such as transaction settlement, the introduction of a blockchain-based system would substantially reduce both the risk of error and the time taken for error checking. What’s more, the research group argues that in cross-border remittance, the technology could allow new entrants to offer services at significantly lower costs to consumers.
However, Juniper Research cautions that if smart contracts use blockchain technology, then their contents, including, potentially, bugs or flaws, are visible to all the users of that blockchain. It cites the recent case where a flaw on the DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organization) network was exploited by a third party, resulting in the misappropriation of cryptocurrency worth nearly $80 million.
According to research author Dr Windsor Holden, “While blockchain technology offers the potential for increased speed, transparency and security across an array of verticals, there has to be rigorous and robust roadtesting in each unique use case before any decision is taken.”