The blockchain market size is expected to reach $2,450.4 billion by 2034, which reflects the industry’s rapidly expanding influence across various societal sectors. Intuitively, this growth is driven by innovations in the underlying technology behind blockchains – as in practice, better products are poised to garner more adoption (and therefore money). 

In this article, we will explore the future of blockchain innovations by highlighting key trends.  We will also reference analysis and predictions from industry experts, as in practice, it’s the pioneers of today that will shape the blockchain future of tomorrow.

We’ll examine its current climate, major industry players, and its potential applications across finance, supply chain, gaming, banking, healthcare, and other emerging technologies. By the end, you’ll gain a clear understanding over how blockchain technology could shape the future.

Key Takeaways

  • Multi-Chain Ecosystem: Future blockchain ecosystems will be interconnected, with various blockchains working together to facilitate decentralized innovation and seamless value exchange.
  • Financial Transformation: Blockchain will streamline transactions, reduce costs, and support the growth of DeFi 2.0.
  • Decentralized Gaming: The gaming industry will shift towards fully decentralized ecosystems where players own in-game assets and can earn through (real) Play-to-Earn models.
  • Supply Chain Transparency: Blockchain will become standard practice for real-time monitoring and compliance verification, enhancing transparency and collaboration in supply chains.
  • Asset Tokenization: Tokenizing real-world assets such as real estate, art, and stocks will simplify ownership transfer and enhance market accessibility.
  • IoT Convergence: Blockchain will enable decentralized IoT networks, secure machine-to-machine communication, and automate complex workflows, particularly in smart cities, healthcare, and manufacturing.

The Current State of the Blockchain Industry and Major Players

Blockchain technology in modern finance, with various digital currencies and futuristic cityscape.

As you may already know, blockchain technology is most widely known for its facilitation of cryptocurrencies. 

As of 2024, the inaugural and most famous cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) continues to dominate the crypto market. In brief, this is because of its robust security and operational features – as famously laid out in Satoshi Nakamoto’s infamous Bitcoin Whitepaper – its subsequent market cap of over $1.3 billion, and its stature as the only cryptocurrency able to replace traditional means of payment and transactions. 

On the other hand, Ethereum (ETH) has expanded the powers of blockchain tech by introducing smart contracts, which are self-executing digital contracts with the terms directly written into their code. These smart contracts have enabled the development of countless decentralized applications (dApps) and decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms.

For example, JPMorgan’s ‘bank-led blockchain platform’ ‘Onyx’ processes over $1 billion worth of transactions each day, showcasing the tech’s potential to diversify the financial services of traditional banks. Similarly, the rise of DeFi platforms like Uniswap and Aave has facilitated billions worth of peer-to-peer crypto lending, borrowing and trading (all without the need for intermediaries). 

As two more examples, Blockchain tech is also making strides in digital identity management. For instance, Microsoft’s ION, which is a decentralized identity solution built on the Bitcoin blockchain, is already enabling users to create secure and verifiable digital identities. 

And in supply chain management, companies like IBM and Walmart are leveraging blockchain tech to enhance transparency and traceability. This is done through IBM’s Food Trust blockchain – used by Walmart – tracking the journey of food products from farm to table, ensuring food safety and reducing waste.


Predictions About Potential Future Applications of Blockchain Technology

Blockchain enhancing supply chain management with transparent and efficient logistics network.

Now let’s explore the ways in which blockchain technology may evolve in the coming years:


Decentralization in a Multi-Chain Space

Cheng Wang (CEO of Alephium, a sharded Layer-1 blockchain scaling and improving on Bitcoin) foresees a future wherein decentralization becomes an ever present in everyone’s life, emphasizing the prospect that no single blockchain will ever satisfy all needs.

In turn, Wang predicts that the blockchain industry will evolve into a multi-chain space where blockchains with different user experiences will come together to thrive. 

Here, bridges connecting various protocols and communities will become an integral part of the industry. These bridges will facilitate an interconnected decentralized ecosystem for fostering innovation, streamlining processes, reducing political friction, enabling seamless value exchanges, and much more.


Fully Decentralized Video Gaming

Blockchain in gaming, showcasing players using VR headsets and digital currencies.

Ross Soroka (NFT & Gaming Expert at Atesis Capital) predicts that within the next five years, the gaming industry will witness a massive shift towards fully decentralized gaming ecosystems. 

In such dynamic, players will own in-game assets on the blockchain, enabling Play-to-Earn (P2E) models where players can earn from their activities. Intuitively, it is thought that traditional gaming giants may face challenges from blockchain-based games offering these monetization opportunities.

However to counteract this, many also believe that ‘gaming experience’ will always be the most important aspect of gaming, which is a domain that well-established AAA Web2 games still dominate in. As a partial explanation, this is because tying AAA gameplay with blockchain technology (i.e. Web3 dynamics) is still a huge feat as of 2024. 

Read our detailed guide on the future of blockchain gaming for more information on how blockchain technology could evolve the gaming industry. 


Government Data Distribution

Blockchain in e-governance, featuring secure data exchange and digital identity management.

Governments are increasingly adopting distributed ledger technology (DLT) to replace traditional paper-based systems, enhancing trust, transparency, and security through encryption and validation features.

For example, the country of Estonia is now a pioneer in e-governance, as it uses blockchain tech to secure citizen data and streamline services. In providing a model for other nations, Estonia’s X-Road platform, which facilitates secure data exchange between government entities, has drastically improved the efficiency of bureaucracy in the country. 

As blockchain adoption grows, more countries will likely follow Estonia’s lead, implementing similar systems to enhance public administration.


More Collaborative and Transparent Supply Chains

In the future, blockchain technology adoption will become standard practice in all supply chains, enabling real-time monitoring and automated compliance verification. As its main goal, this will lead to zero-tolerance policies for fraud and counterfeiting. 

Further, IBM’s blockchain lead, Marie Wieck, predicts that “blockchain will be the backbone of supply chain transparency, helping businesses meet regulatory requirements and consumer demands for sustainability.”

Moreover, blockchain tech will enable more collaborative supply chains between companies that share data with one another, improving coordination and reducing delays in getting products to market. The World Economic Forum estimates that blockchain tech could increase global trade by $1 trillion by 2028 by removing supply chain barriers and other inefficiencies through decentralized ledgers.

To learn more about how blockchain will change this sector, visit our detailed write-up on the future of blockchain in supply chain management.


Greater Transparency Between Industries

As a bi-product of enhanced, interconnected supply chains,  the future will also see the emergence of unified blockchain systems shared across industries. 

IBM and Maersk’s ‘TradeLens’ platform exemplifies this trend by upgrading global shipping logistics – as here, TradeLens uses blockchain tech to provide real-time tracking of shipments, to ultimately reduce delays and fraud. 

Another example is the aforementioned collaboration between Walmart and IBM, with regards to their ‘food safety’ shared blockchain which enhances traceability from farm to table. 


Faster Transactions, Streamlined Finance

Currently, international transactions are slow and costly due to the involvement of multiple intermediaries. Per design – and in a general sense – the widespread adoption of blockchain tech is expected to completely eliminate these intermediaries, enabling almost instantaneous and cost-effective transactions. 

For example, Ripple’s blockchain-based payment solution ‘RippleNet’ is already streamlining cross-border payments around the globe, and experts predict that this trend is only going to accelerate. Further, David Schwartz, CTO of Ripple, believes that “blockchain will soon be as integral to the financial system as the internet is to communication.”

Additionally, DeFi will continue to grow through offering more and more innovative financial products and services. Better yet, DeFi platforms like Aave and Compound are just the beginning, as the future will see more sophisticated financial instruments become mainstream, such as decentralized insurance and mortgages. 

According to DeFi expert Stani Kulechov, “DeFi will democratize finance in the future, providing access to financial services for the unbanked and underbanked populations worldwide.”

To explore more about how blockchain can transform the financial sector, visit our in-depth article on the future of blockchain in finance.


Future of Blockchain in Banking

Blockchain will reduce settlement times for transactions, making instantaneous settlements the norm, whilst also improving liquidity management. In fact, blockchain-based solutions like JPMorgan’s Interbank Information Network (IIN) are already streamlining this process. 

Other predictions include future banking systems using blockchain tech for ‘know your customer’ (KYC) processes, real-time regulatory reporting, and fraud reduction. Smart contracts will automate complex transactions, such as mortgage agreements, transferring large funds, and designating property ownership when conditions are met. In turn, these systems have a reduced reliance on intermediaries, and are also a lot quicker and more economical. 

For more information about how blockchain may change the banking sector, visit our detailed article on the future of blockchain in banking.


Electronic Health Records On The Blockchain

When it comes to the health sector, blockchain tech can reduce data breach risks by making patient data unchangeable and only accessible to authorized parties. With this in mind, future healthcare providers will likely adopt blockchain-based electronic health records (EHRs) for seamless and secure data sharing.

Blockchain tech could also enhance clinical trials by recording data on a robust and impenetrable ledger. Pfizer and other companies are already exploring the tech to improve trial transparency, believing that clinical research will rely on blockchain tech for data accuracy and regulatory compliance.

Get more insights on the future of blockchain in healthcare in our detailed write-up. 


Asset Tokenization

Away from fungible crypto currencies, another form of asset can reside on certain blockchains; non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Here, tokenizing an array of real-world, high-value assets is a prospect, which in turn would simplify ownership transfer and verification. 

For example, real estate platform Propy conducted the US’s first blockchain-based real estate sale back in 2019, demonstrating the potential for tokenized property transactions. 

Beyond real estate, asset tokenization has also expanded into art (i.e CryptoArt), commodities, and even stocks. For example, platforms like tZERO enable the trading of tokenized securities, offering greater liquidity and access to investment opportunities. In turn, this trend will make asset ownership more  accessible and enhance the efficiency of markets.


The Metaverse: Future of Decentralized Living

As this article has already explored, the concept of Web3 – i.e. the next generation of the internet wherein assets and data are stored on blockchains – encompasses many other concepts in of itself – be it crypto, DeFi, GameFi, NFTs, the tokenization of real-world assets/contracts, and more.

Furthermore, with the increased adoption of these concepts across global societies, these technologies will fundamentally render an alternative reality wherein all assets, data, and experiences will revolve around blockchain tech. Simply put, this blockchain-revolving reality is what many dub ‘the metaverse’.

Web 3 should be open and permissionless, with Ethereum and its competitors like Solana serving as the foundational infrastructure. This vision requires using blockchain’s scalability and the integration of fungible cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and NFTs to create a better, decentralized and open metaverse.

The realization of such a metaverse will necessitate the convergence of multiple technologies, including perfectly interoperable and globally-scalable blockchain networks, which can combine with innovations such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), ad-tech, e-commerce, and social media.

Ultimately, metaverses would rely on blockchain tech for enabling secure digital ownership, trustless economic interactions, and the seamless transfer of digital value.


Future Trends in Blockchain-IoT Convergence

Statista predicts that approximately 75 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be connected by the end of 2025

Experts like Ahmed Banafa, a prominent IoT and blockchain researcher, foresees a future where blockchain will enable decentralized IoT networks, reducing reliance on centralized cloud servers and enhancing data privacy. Further, he believes that blockchain tech will facilitate secure machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, allowing IoT devices to perform transactions autonomously. 

IoT research from IBM also echoes what we’ve discussed in this article, as it suggests that  blockchain integrations can automate supply chains, improve logistics, and enhance asset tracking, leading to more transparent and efficient operations. This integration will also enable smart contracts to automate complex workflows, reducing the need for human intervention and increasing operational efficiency.

These types of innovations are particularly impactful in sectors like future smart cities, healthcare, and manufacturing, where secure and efficient data exchange is indispensable. 


The Future of Blockchain – FAQs

The global blockchain technology market is projected to grow from $19.7 billion in 2024 to $2,450.4 billion by 2034, with a CAGR of 62% over this period.

This growth will be driven by increasing enterprise adoption, regulatory advancements, and the proliferation of blockchain-based applications in areas such as finance, supply chain, and digital identity management.

In five years, financial institutions will widely use blockchain for cross-border payments, trade finance, and digital identity verification. Supply chains will also benefit from enhanced traceability and anti-counterfeiting measures, and governments will use blockchain to improve public services. Finally, decentralized applications (dApps) will be more prevalent, providing new opportunities in various sectors such as healthcare, gaming, and real estate.

Governments will likely use blockchain to manage and distribute data securely, reducing bureaucratic inefficiencies and improving public trust. Additionally, blockchain tech will streamline processes such as voting, land registration, and identity verification, making public administration more effective and accountable.

In the future, blockchain will play an important role in digital identity management by providing decentralized, secure, and tamper-proof systems. For instance, it can allow for the creation of self-sovereign identities where individuals control their personal data and share only necessary information with verifiers. This can enhance privacy and reduce the risk of identity theft.

Blockchain will likely ensure transparent, immutable records of ownership and transfers. This will facilitate easier and more secure tracking of IP assets, reduce disputes, and streamline processes like licensing and royalty payments.