The World Trade Organization (WTO) published today, November 27, a report on the effects of blockchain technology on international trade. According to the study, the added value of blockchain on a world scale could reach almost 3 trillion dollars by 2030.
"Blockchain and international trade: opportunities, challenges and implications for international trade cooperation" analyze blockchain applications and challenges that must be considered before the development of technology in various sectors. The study takes into consideration the effects of technology on sectors such as commercial finance, customs clearance, logistics and transport.
Forecast of the business value Blockchain. Source: WTO
The study estimates that the blockchain has the potential to significantly reduce business costs by increasing transparency and facilitating process automation, including financial intermediation, exchange rate costs, coordination and other aspects. "The removal of barriers due to the blockchain could lead to over 1 trillion of new exchanges in the next decade," reads the report.
Blockchain is expected to contribute to the management of intellectual property rights in multiple jurisdictions, ensuring greater transparency and efficiency, and improving public procurement processes, including the fight against fraud and the management of public procurement.
Purely, Blockchain could improve supply chains, allowing tracking of shipments and demonstrating their authenticity. Furthermore, technology could open up new opportunities for micro, small and medium-sized businesses.
On the contrary, the study warns about the challenges to be faced before implementing the blockchain and its impact on international trade. Researchers point to a limited scalability of blockchains due to the predetermined size of the blocks, in addition to energy consumption and safety issues.
Although "blockchains are highly resilient compared to traditional databases because of their decentralized and distributed nature and the use of cryptographic techniques, they are not completely immune to traditional security challenges," the study says.
The report emphasizes the importance of developing a multi-stakeholder approach in order to find appropriate use cases in cross-border trade. According to the WTO, the blockchain requires frameworks that guarantee the interoperability of networks and provide a clear legal status for blockchain operations in all jurisdictions. The report concludes:
"Blockchain could make international trade smarter, but smart business requires intelligent standardization – and smart standardization can only be done through cooperation, and if we can create an ecosystem that is conducive to the wider development of the blockchain, international trade may appear radically different between ten and 15 years ".
At the beginning of this week, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said that the wrong application of blockchain technology in some industries leads to "wasting time". Buterin has argued that although there are a number of companies trying to set higher standards using blockchain technology, it does not think technology is applicable in any industry.