Blockchain technology has the potential to boost the global GDP by $1.76 trillion, according to a new PwC report titled “Time For Trust,” with 40 million jobs “enhanced” in the process. But despite forecasting blockchain’s increasing economic impact over time, PwC dismisses the technology’s rising importance in China.
According to PwC, blockchain technology has yet to have an appreciable economic impact in China. The Time for Trust report contradicts findings from Forkast’s China Blockchain Report, which demonstrates that blockchain technology is already making its mark on the Chinese economy. For instance, VeChain, as of June 2019, has already built out a traceability system with WalMart, which works to solve a major pain point that has been impacting the Chinese food supply: tracing the supply of food to ensure that the food in consumer’s pantries — or in the kitchen of a restaurant — is what they think it is.
Cupids Farm Milk, produced by Bright Food, has implemented a system powered by the VeChainThor blockchain to allow consumers to track the product from farm-to-table. With this system, key data is measured via IoT (internet of things)-enabled sensors and certified by DNV GL, which tracks everything from bovine health to additives placed in the milk to the temperature it was stored at enroute to the customer.
Another example featured in the China Blockchain Report is how the used car sector is embracing the technology. Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Co. (BMBS) has integrated a platform developed by PlatON to track a vehicle’s actual value. Via a network of sensors placed within the vehicle, data is securely recorded and logged on a distributed ledger, which would allow a third party — like an appraiser — to gauge its real value. An estimated 30% of total warranty costs can be eliminated through the integration of blockchain in the management of warranties, according to a study by McKinsey & Company.
But these are just two examples of the countless companies that have developed real-world, blockchain-based applications across a variety of industry verticals. On The Current Forkast, we’ve covered how blockchain is being integrated in everything from the country’s court system, to notaries, to product provenance.
And it’s not just us: Qianzhan, an industrial research consultancy from China, pegs the blockchain industry as being worth US$178 million, or 1.2 billion RMB, in 2016 up from $14.8 million RMB in 2016. The firm estimates that by 2022, it will be worth closer to $1.4 billion, or 100 billion RMB.
Of course, within this growth there’s a high noise-to-signal ratio. Of the 35,000 companies in China that have “blockchain” in their official name or claim blockchain as a major part of their business, only 730 actually have a blockchain service filing number showing they are doing real blockchain work. Analysts say that most companies with blockchain in their name don’t actually engage in any meaningful blockchain-related activities.
To be sure, its its Time for Trust report PwC believes that blockchain is going to have an impact on the Chinese economy. Just not this year. According to its report, by 2030 the economic impact of the technology jumps up to $440 billion. But from what?
“China is embracing innovation and pushing ahead with its own central bank issued digital currency, DCEP (Digital Currency Electronic Payment). This will help it reap a US$440 billion reward over the next decade, representing a potential 1.7% boost to GDP,” says a PWC spokesperson, referring to page 14 of their report.
Which is a fair point — it’s tough to deny DCEP’s potential impact on China’s economy — but everyone has been very explicit: DCEP is not blockchain. It’s on a digitized, not decentralized, ledger with asymmetrical cryptography. Other central bank digital currencies might differ in this regard, but the People’s Bank of China has been very clear: don’t call this blockchain.