While the size of the global blockchain market is expected to grow 140 times by 2030, the technology still suffers, directly or indirectly, from certain weaknesses.
The blockchain, born with Bitcoin in 2008, is a decentralized system to conduct data exchanges and financial transactions in a secure manner. Apart from cryptocurrencies, it attracts a growing number of sectors of activity and finds multiple applications in supply chain, health, digital identity, asset transfer (title deeds, stocks, bonds, etc.), the Internet of Things. ..
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According to a study by Grand View Research, the global market size for blockchain technology is estimated at $10.02 billion by 2022. It is expected to reach $1,431.54 billion by 2030, with an average annual growth rate of 85.9% between 2022 and 2030. But this multi-benefit technology, which is considered untouchable, nevertheless has certain weaknesses.
A complexity of implementation
The company Nabu, a platform for speeding up the processing of documents related to the transportation of goods, emphasizes the importance of the blockchain as a major innovation in the world of international trade since the invention of the sea container. But not everything is 100% positive.
“Recently, 12 European banks have withdrawn from the we.trade platform; a very strong signal. This news shows how imposing the blockchain in this industry is particularly complex. We also note that another industry startup exited the blockchain the same week, fearing its model’s ability to gain momentum,” explains Arnaud Doly, CEO of Nabu.
What Arnaud Doly points out is the difficulty of deploying this technology in an industry where ‘paper’ documents are still very prevalent and where every international trade transaction involves multiple stakeholders.
“The format used has a very strong impact on the players involved. When I buy goods in China, dozens of stakeholders are involved. And if I offer my Chinese interlocutors a French blockchain, they will tell me that it is not compatible with their software solutions. There is a real challenge in terms of interoperability and, in some countries, adoption of foreign technology,” added Arnaud Doly.
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The issue of blockchain network security
For Michel Vujicic, technical director of I-Tracing, a French specialist in cybersecurity services, the blockchain represents an opportunity to accelerate and better secure transactions: from finance, energy, health or even industry.”
But while this technology provides a tamper-resistant record of transactions, according to the CTO of I-Tracing, blockchain networks are not immune to cyber-attacks and fraud. “When building a blockchain application, it is paramount to consider all business, governance, technology and process risks in order to mitigate the risks arising primarily from the decentralized nature of blockchains,” he says. .
In a nutshell, Michel Vujicic emphasizes the fact that the “blockchain component”, deployed as part of an IT service, is not enough to guarantee the overall security of this service. “It is necessary to verify that, at the periphery of this technology, the node access means, identities and permissions are properly managed. If there is a vulnerability at this level, it is possible that the blockchain service has failed,” he notes.
Another point of interest: the smart contracts developed on certain blockchain platforms. These smart contracts are actual computer programs that execute a series of predefined instructions. “From a cybersecurity perspective, these are specific applications that may be subject to code auditing or parameter verification and I/O management. In a fairly classic way, we find problems with secure development,” says Michel Vujicic.
Also legal limits
Now if we look from a legal point of view, the blockchain has many advantages, but also certain limitations. “NFTs make it possible to certify ownership of a work exclusively to an individual. But the problem that is becoming more and more frequent is that of the origin of the work. It’s a bit of a rat race at the moment. The rules of intellectual property, because it is digital, are not always respected,” notes Ludovic de La Monneraye, attorney at Vaughan Avocats.
Another limit: the applicable law in the event of a dispute. “Because the blockchain appeals to users from all over the world, the legal rules that apply today are still very vague. Some researchers suggest that the applicable law could be that of the country in which the servers are located. But for now there are no specific regulations”, concludes Ludovic de La Monneraye.
The blockchain, despite the immense development potential that characterizes it, still suffers from certain limitations specific to each emerging technology. The entire ecosystem will have to address a number of weaknesses in the coming years related to the interoperability of the various existing blockchains, the security of deployment environments and legal guarantees regarding content.