Emerging Decentralized Technologies | Modis US

Emerging Decentralized Technologies

Modis Posted 26 March 2020

If you're a hiring manager working with IT & Engineering candidates, you know the world is changing fast.

And with technology continuing to drive constant change, it's important to keep an eye on the future direction of technology and the IT industry.

  • Blockchain-related products and services will hit $7.7 billion by 2022, up $242 million from 2017, according to Forbes.
  • Gartner reports that 60% of CIOs across sectors expect some adoption of blockchain in the next three years.
  • In 2019, 53% of respondents said that blockchain technology was a critical priority for their organizations -- up 10 points from 2018 -- and 83% see compelling use cases for blockchain, according to Deloitte.

In this post, you'll learn which emerging technologies will have the most impact and how to prepare so you can plan confidently and make better-informed decisions.

After all, it's an understatement to say that over the last decade, cloud technology has forever transformed the business landscape. Of all the outcomes of the cloud and tech explosion, one of the most exciting trends is decentralization—a phenomenon that is radically changing existing ideas about computing and communication.

If you're asking yourself, "What is decentralization?", Corin Faife explains the decentralized web as “a place where services are distributed rather than localized, where users own and control their own data, and where smaller players take back power from corporate giants like Google and Amazon."

Although the Web 3.0 movement is gaining momentum, decentralization may not be feasible in every industry or use case scenario. That said, decentralization will definitely make an impact on certain verticals and industries.

In fact, blockchain technology is one of the biggest drivers behind decentralization.

What is blockchain technology?

Gartner says, “Blockchain is an expanding list of cryptographically signed, irrevocable transactional records shared by all participants in a network."

Essentially blockchain is an expanding list of “blocks" -- a block is a record of transactions stored in a decentralized ledger-- that combine to form a “chain" in a peer-to-peer network.

Members of the network validate or verify the blocks. This eliminates the need for a regulator, accounting firm, or other central entity to authenticate the information. Experts claim the blockchain is secure and tamper-proof because once the network has verified transactions, they can't be changed.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about block chain technology along with some plain-English answers.

Q: Why is everyone so excited about blockchain?

A: Because blockchain technology can privately distribute information through a peer-to-peer system, it has the potential to eliminate centralized authorities acting as the middleman in many scenarios. For example, as Aaron Wright and Primavera De Filippi note, blockchain enables “self-executing digital contracts (smart contracts) and intelligent assets that can be controlled over the Internet (smart property). The blockchain also enables the development of new governance systems with more democratic or participatory decision-making, and decentralized (autonomous) organizations that can operate over a network of computers without any human intervention."

Q: If blockchain is so great, why hasn't it revolutionized everything already?

A: Even though you may hear a lot about blockchain, the technology is still in its infancy. Jules Miller, partner at the IBM Blockchain Accelerator said, “Blockchain is not magic, but it has interesting capabilities. Although there is a lot of hype and excitement about blockchain the technology is still in the early stages of implementation, and testing of its potential applications is underway."

Q: What industries are already investing heavily in blockchain technology?

A: Some of the top industry uses for blockchain include: tech giants like Microsoft and IBM; retailers such as Walmart and Overstock; financial institutions like Bank of America and Mastercard; and healthcare organizations across the world. Because blockchain provides a fraud-resistant, transparent, verifiable register of transaction data, the use cases are practically endless. Here are 55 more industries blockchain is poised to disrupt.

Q: What are some of the obstacles preventing us from realizing the full potential of blockchain tech?

A: In many locations (including the US) outdated laws and rules are one of the biggest roadblocks to blockchain adoption. Scalability and interoperability are also impediments. In other countries, inadequate digital infrastructure and relatively low financial literacy slow adoption. According to Kavita Gupta, founding managing partner of ConsenSys Ventures, the venture capital arm of ConsenSys, a blockchain software firm, “the pace at which users adopt blockchain depends on the quality of the UI (user interface) and UX (user experience)."

Q: What are the benefits of blockchain technology and why is blockchain important?

A: Some of the benefits of blockchain include better transparency, reduced costs, improved speed and efficiency, enhanced security, and true traceability. Because these benefits are universally sought-after, applications of blockchain exist in nearly every sector.

If you still have questions about blockchain, here's a list of FAQ about blockchain that dig even deeper.

global network

What would a decentralized internet look like?

Although the phrase “Web 3.0" was first coined back in 2006, we're still waiting for the arrival of a decentralized internet.

The HBO show, Silicon Valley jokes about the idea of the decentralized internet. Yet, real-life visionaries are working towards making a "decentralized internet" -- the mission of Pied Piper, the show's fictitious startup -- a reality.

Without a doubt, the arrival of Web 3.0 promises to change the way we work, learn, and do business.

Right now, data breaches and privacy infringement are two of the driving forces towards a decentralized internet.

So, what will a decentralized internet actually look like?

Well, the DWeb -- a new decentralized version of cyberspace -- promises to enable better user control, more competition between internet companies, and less dependence on middlemen and large corporations.

Web 3.0 is about changing the way we access the internet and how we interact with it. Web 3.0 advocates want to use the technology underpinning blockchain to take back ownership from the big corporations that control access to the internet as we know it today.

Other emerging decentralized technologies to keep an eye on

Here are three more emerging technologies to watch:

Privacy coins

Privacy coins are a type of cryptocurrency similar to bitcoin used to ensure privacy.

The coins are used to conceal the information used to facilitate a crypto transaction in a decentralized manner. Because no record of the recipient's or sender's addresses is recorded and the transaction amount is obscured, privacy coins can be used as an anonymous payment system.

So, how do privacy coins work? They use:

  • Stealth addresses
  • Ring signatures
  • CoinJoin
  • zk-SNARKS
  • MimbleWimble
  • Tor

Some of the most popular privacy coins are:

  • Monero (XMR) – This is the most popular and most used coin. Transactions done using Monero coins are untraceable because both the source and destination are kept private.
  • Zcash (ZEC) – This coin offers two transaction options – one on the public ledger and the other which conceals the individual addresses, enabling anonymous trading.
  • DASH (DASH) – Originally named Xcoin, then Darkcoin, and finally Dash, this is one of the oldest privacy coins.
  • Verge (XVG) – This coin uses protocols like I2p and Tor and offers protection against 51% attacks using advanced security.
  • PIVX (PIVX) – This coin uses an on-chain solution and a decentralized marketplace built on the PIVX network.

Security expert John McAfee says one indication adoption for privacy coins is on the way is an uptick in use by criminals. McAfee notes that historically criminals have been early adopters of new technology while the government has been slow.

Prediction markets

Prediction markets -- also called predictive markets, information markets, decision markets, idea futures, event derivatives, and virtual markets -- are exchange-traded markets that trade the outcome of events.

These “mini Wall Streets" allow participants to buy and sell 'shares' in a future event. The price of the shares reflects the collective wisdom of the market on the probability of the event occurring.

More and more, prediction markets are used to make forecasts of all sorts, from the outcome of sporting events to the consequences of business decisions. Proponents say prediction markets let people aggregate information without the biases that plague traditional forecasting methods, like polls or professional analysis.

Here's a quick example of how these markets work:

A contract trades between 0 and 100%. You purchase a binary option that expires at the price of 0 or 100%. You can compare prediction markets to crowdsourcing, except instead of aggregating information on topics of interest, prediction markers gather data on beliefs over an unknown future outcome.

Autonomous corporations

A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), sometimes labeled a decentralized autonomous corporation (DAC), is an organization controlled by shareholders and not influenced by a central government. The company's financial transaction record and program rules are maintained on a blockchain.

That means basic tasks are executed via code and the logic of if this, then that and the use of blockchain technology to provide a secure digital ledger to track financial interactions across the internet.

Once the DAO is operational, it operates fully autonomously and completely independent from its creators. DAOs are open source, meaning their code can be viewed by anyone. Of course, this is a greatly simplified explanation of how DAOs work.

Key Takeaways

Blockchain, Web 3.0, privacy coins, prediction markets, and autonomous corporations are all emerging technologies with the potential to transform our lives.

Here's what that means:

Whatever your industry, to move these technologies forward, companies will need to work with top tech talent. There's no other way to realize the potential of cutting-edge innovation like these.

That's why there's such a big demand for blockchain developers right now -- a 517% surge in demand for engineers with blockchain development experience -- and blockchain development skills rank in the top three job openings in nearly every global region.

But there is a shortage of software engineers with blockchain skills to satisfy the demand. The good news is: If you need technology expertise, Modis can help. We have an extensive network of tech talent you can tap into.