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The Results of a Survey on Blockchain Technologies and Related Services were Compiled

Blockchain technology is expected to be applied to a wide variety of fields, including IoT. To address this technology, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has conducted a Survey on Blockchain Technologies and Related Services and it hereby announces that it has compiled the results into a survey report.

1. Background

Blockchain technology, a new technology used for the trading of digital assets, e.g., digital currencies like Bitcoin, is considered to have a characteristic structure in which falsification thereto is extremely difficult relative to conventional centralized-management systems and in which inexpensive systems that have no downtime in effect could be built. It is expected to be applied to a wide variety of fields, including IoT.

However, Japanese companies have just arrived at the stage of starting respective demonstration tests of the technology, and it is a concern that overseas companies will take the initiative in the fields of the technology, which has the potential to be the next-generation platform in all industries.

Based on the recognition of this issue, METI has conducted a survey for the purposes as follows, including interviews with domestic and overseas companies involving blockchain technology and experts, and compiled the results into a survey report.

Purpose of the survey

  • Comparing and analyzing details of numbers of blockchains and advantages/challenges therein
  • Ascertaining promising fields in which the technology should be utilized
  • Ascertaining the impact of the technology on society and the economy
  • Developing policy guidelines for encouraging industries to utilize the technology in the future


(Fig. 1) What is blockchain?(PDF:363KB) PDF File

2. Outline of the report
Characteristic features of the technology

Concerning blockchain technology, which is a technology derived from Bitcoin, the report breaks the technology into elements and streamlines the functions and feasible matters. (Fig. 2)


(Fig. 2) Functions and challenges of Bitcoin blockchain(PDF:250KB) PDF File

Challenges and trends

The report highlights challenges in the technology and introduces the current situations in which a variety of new blockchains that will overcome the challenges has been proposed, the global trends of which are largely streamlined using three axes. (Fig. 3)


(Fig. 3) Recent trends of blockchain technology(PDF:373KB) PDF File

Impact of the technology on society

The report also introduces case examples of practical services, and exemplifies the use cases categorized into five groups having an affinity with the utilization of the technology, based on the characteristic functions of the technology, by providing pictures showing possible utilization and notes to be taken in such utilization as well as describing the impact of the technology on markets and industrial structures respectively. (Fig.4)


(Fig.4) Estimated size of market which blockchain technology can be effectively applied(PDF:882KB) PDF File

Mid- to long-term challenges and policies

Furthermore, the report shows mid- to long-term challenges, and compiles the measures that policies ask for. The major examples of the measures are as follows:

  • Promoting demonstration tests in the private sector to verify new business in which blockchains are utilized, and accumulating and broadly publicizing the results and challenges thereof, thereby facilitating the development of markets
  • Encouraging the verification of blockchains from the aspects of mathematics and information theory, which have been lacking areas, while taking advantage of the existing accumulated technologies, e.g., cryptography
  • Advancing the introduction of blockchains into administrative areas, while further enhancing and promoting the efficiency of administrative services, thereby exercising leadership and showing a role model in the field
  • Revising the related regulations or rules if necessary so as to smoothly implement blockchains in society

Reference

  1. Outline: Survey on Blockchain Technologies and Related Services(PDF:1,278KB) PDF File
  2. Full text: Survey on Blockchain Technologies and Related Services(PDF:2,129KB) PDF File

Release date

May 31, 2016 (Report in English)
April 28, 2016 (Report in Japanese)

Division in Charge

Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau

Related Information

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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