Then President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko speaks at the World Economic Forum
Then President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 21, 2015. Shutterstock

A collaboration between the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Global Blockchain Business Council has produced a study that assesses the current state of blockchain tech., the WEF said on 14 October.

Named the Global Stadards Mapping Initiative (GSMI), the study represents the most “comprehensive” survey of blockchain technical standards, which also explores the reason behind the lack of well defined standards on a global level. The study draws conclusions from the data collected from over 30 technical standard-setting entities, 185 jurisdictions, and almost 400 industry groups. By mapping the technical standardization efforts, the GSMI aims to identify the gaps gaps in the industry, and what the “next steps” should be.

The report reads:


“Over the past few years, blockchain has gone through significant periods of hype and scepticism. Out of this, a few promising use cases and applications have emerged, and the ecosystem is moving forward with designing and building for scale. However, several questions critical to the success – or failure – of blockchain remain.”

According to the GSMI, one of the main issues of the industry is that organizations involved in setting standards are sometimes focusing too much on a specific area, resulting in standardization gaps in other areas. The study also points out that the spheres that experience an overlap of interest are security, identity, Internet of Things (IoT), DLT requirements and terminology.

The lack of standards that could define the suitability of blockchain tech for specific processes is also hurting the industry, the report claims. If such global standards are set, more players will be able to assess if the technology is right for their business, and what the risks and benefits are. Another weakness of the industry is the lack of standards that specify how a blockchain platform should be tested.

The report also noted that consistent definitions and terminologies are a key factor to the growth of the blockchain industry, and it is a fact terminology across the globe remains uncertain. The GSMI also pointed out that the “effectiveness of standards will ultimately come down to how well the technology is understood”, suggesting that regulators should educate themselves before setting any national or global standards.

Some notable entities working on blockchain also collaborated with the WEF in creating the GSMI, most notably MIT Media Lab, Accenture, and the Linux Foundation. Hyperledger, ESG Intelligence, Global Digital Finance, ING Group, Six Digital Exchange, the Milken Institute, and others, also helped with creating the report.

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