Blockchain technology has been predicted to take off for some time now, but governments seeking to reboot their economies again could be the catalyst for adoption.

Multiple predictions have been made in recent weeks about how much blockchain investment will take off in the years to come.

Earlier this month, Forbes Business Insights predicted the market would be $21bn by 2025. Considering the market was only $US1.64bn in 2017, this level of growth would equate to a 38.4 per cent compounded annual rate.

This followed on from a similar prediction last month made by American analytics firm CB Insights. It thinks spending will surpass $US16bn by 2023 and has practically limitless potential in 58 industries.

To date blockchain has been more hype than reality with it having very little impact on people’s daily lives.

But signs in recent days point to a brighter future for blockchain, with lawmakers starting to seriously consider its potential as an economic growth opportunity.


China v US in the blockchain battle

One of the more notable pushes towards blockchain adoption is in China, where currently the National People’s Congress (NPC), the top legislative body, is holding its annual meeting.

A Beijing News report over the weekend suggested deputy to the NPC, Jieqing Tan, would propose setting up a special fund for blockchain industry development.

Such a fund would support the development and growth of blockchain enterprises and cultivate a new generation of unicorns.

While Tan may be just one lawmaker, the embracing of blockchain has made its way higher in China’s ranks. Last year, President Xi Jinping made multiple statements in support of blockchain technology.

The news excited the industry in China, and globally, at the time, but China has since been preoccupied with the virus and its economic impact.

Meanwhile, in the US last week one of the most conservative Republican representatives, Brett Guthrie, introduced an “Advancing Blockchain Act” into the House of Representatives.

He said the act would promote the use of blockchain in the economy.

“The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that we need to maintain American leadership in technology,” Guthrie said.

“America is a nation of innovation and enterprise – and we need to keep it that way. We cannot let China beat us.”

But it’s not just the world’s two most powerful nations where blockchain advocacy has reached law-makers. Japanese officials are looking into blockchain technologies too.

Senator Otokita Shun, a member of Tokyo Nippon Ishin’s Financial Affair Committee, said digital assets would become more important for the economy in the future.

In a tweet on Saturday he said the Diet (Japanese parliament) would call for improvements to tax and regulations that hindered innovation.


Blockchain’s role in COVID-19 recovery

Probably the most noticeable use of blockchain that would impact people’s daily lives would be as the basis for a proposed immunity certificate or passport.

This document would certify the holder either cannot be infected by COVID-19 or is at lower risk. This would potentially give governments confidence to re-open their borders to tourists and business travellers again.

Three firms in Europe — Guardtime, SICPA and OpenHealth — are working on such a project.

A finished product would contain people’s COVID-19 test results and consequently help governments monitor the population’s state of immunity. Patients would only need a smartphone or computer to sign up.

The companies hope it will be adopted en-masse by European lawmakers.

They claim that the data will be secure and impossible to falsify, a critical element in the continent with the world’s strictest data protection laws.