Blockchain 'could revolutionize world trade'

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Blockchain could become a key component of world trade in the future, according to the World Trade Organization.

The technology behind blockchain could revolutionize world trade and lead to improved interactions between businesses all over the world, according to a new report.

Although the World Trade Organization (WTO) document acknowledged that more needs to be done in order to join up the various innovation taking place, it predicted blockchain "could well become the future of trade infrastructure and the biggest disruptor to the shipping industry and to international trade since the invention of the container".

Indeed, the report suggested there could be a possible increase of $3 trillion in new trade as a result of it by 2030.

For this to come to fruition, the WTO said issues around interoperability between blockchain platforms and standardization would need to be resolved as obstacles to widespread adoption.

A regulatory layer would also need to be applied and all banks properly connected, which could present quite a significant technological challenge.

"Without this regulatory layer, blockchain will likely be confined to proofs of concept and pilot projects," warned WTO senior analyst Emmanuelle Ganne.

The report concluded that all stakeholders will need to come to terms with the legal implications of blockchain adoption and participate in more years of pilots and proofs before a sustainable model can be created and fully rolled out.

Earlier this week, seven EU member states - France, Italy, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain - signed a joint declaration to promote the use of blockchain technology to boost government services and economic wellbeing.

They each committed to collaborating on development in order to become a leading region in the sector.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media found that 15 per cent of German companies think blockchain will change society and the economy as much as the internet.

Some 36 per cent of larger companies in the EU country hold the same opinion, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported.

Blockchain is defined as "an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value", according to Don and Alex Tapscott, who wrote Blockchain Revolution in 2016.

It is similar to a spreadsheet that is duplicated across a network of computers, but is also designed to be regularly and independently updated.