This blog post is one article in a series on the book “Blockchain with SAP” (Rheinwerk Verlag, Bonn, ISBN 978-3-8362-6914-8), which was published in December 2019. This blog post is about the last chapter of the book, which gives an outlook on upcoming developments in the area of enterprise blockchains and the SAP Cloud Platform.
The SAP Cloud Platform will continue to be one of the growth drivers for SAP, which sees the future of its customers’ databases and business processes in the cloud. Launched in May 2017, it has firmly established itself among the cloud services of various providers and offers BaaS offerings for multiple blockchain frameworks:
- Hyperledger Fabric
Hyperledger Fabric 2.0
As one of the most successful projects of the Hyperledger Foundation, Hyperledger Fabric is under constant further development. A preview of the Hyperledger Fabric Version 2.0 has been available since April 2019, and it was officially released on January 30, 2020. Among other things, it offers support for the creation and tracking of self-created asset tokens. This is an interesting new feature that can accelerate financial transactions to the benefit of all participants in enterprise blockchain networks. It seems to be only a matter of time before the SAP Cloud Platform supports latest version of Hyperledger.
Quorum, an Ethereum dialect developed by the US bank J.P. Morgan for use in private networks, is also about to be introduced on the SAP Cloud Platform, and is particularly suitable for use in the enterprise environment due to its support for the protection of private data. The project boasts fast block creation times (typically 15 seconds), and will also benefit from new features for the underlying Ethereum blockchain.
The new MultiChain version 2.0 has also been available for some time; its biggest innovation is the support for smart contracts, which it calls Smart Filter. Also already available in a trial account, the new version has not yet released for productive use in the SAP Cloud platform.
Hyperledger Grid is a collection of tools designed to help accelerate the development of blockchain-based applications for supply chains. Based on the standards of the GS1 organization, the project provides data models and descriptions for typical components of a supply chain to allow it to be digitally mapped.
Future developments in the field of databases
Connecting classic databases to blockchains is likely to become more important in the future. Even established database companies such as Oracle are discovering the advantages of the blockchain, and are increasingly offering database bridges to transfer or merge inventory data into a blockchain. This trend will probably continue to increase in the future, and we will surely see additional data bridge adapters being published.
Forecasts for blockchain use in the next few years
Blockchains will continue to grow in importance in the coming years, even if many decision-makers still have reservations at the moment. In contrast to a classic database, the technology is not easy to understand and also requires a rethink of corporate policy. Sharing business data with partners or even competitors for the benefit of an overriding goal is not everyone’s cup of tea, and external pressures such as new legal requirements or obligations to provide evidence are often required to take the step towards blockchain.
Activities of the European Union
At the level of the European Union, further developments are monitored in the EU Blockchain Observatory. The EU has also founded a European Blockchain Partnership, which in turn has joined the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INABTA). Especially in the pharmaceutical industry, the PharmaLedger project is an initiative in which leading pharmaceutical companies will research the use of blockchain technology for the healthcare sector. An overview of all EU activities can be found on the Blockchain page of the European Commission.
Activities in Germany
The Bitkom Association has set up seven committees of its own on the topic of Blockchain alone and issues regular publications. Particularly noteworthy is the study “Blockchain in Germany – Use, Potentials, Challenges”, which discusses the results of a representative survey of German medium-sized companies. Technology has also become the focus of the major parties, such as the CDU, which has written its own position paper on the subject. The blockchain strategy of the German government has also generated a lot of attention, but it is increasingly (only) setting priorities in the area of token economy and the use of block chains in the financial sector.
According to various market observers and management consultants, the future of the blockchain is positive. The following graph shows a projection of the estimated market volume for blockchain applications, averaged from various publicly available statistics. The market volume is expected to grow steadily to represent a total volume of 23.3 billion in 2025.
As always, such figures should be treated with caution as they are only projections. However, blockchains are constantly opening up interesting new fields of application with the help of smart contracts. Cryptocurrencies will also certainly take their place in the ecosystem. Irrespective of whether they will also carry an inherent monetary value, they will at least allow double-entry bookkeeping, thus simplifying and facilitating the traceability of cashflows.
More articles of this series can be found here:
- Blockchain with SAP: What is Blockchain and How Does It Work?
- Blockchain with SAP: Blockchain-as-a-Service Products from the SAP Cloud Platform
- Blockchain with SAP: Cloud Computing from SAP: The SAP Cloud Platform
- Blockchain with SAP: Business application scenarios for blockchains
- Blockchain with SAP: The First Steps to Having Your Own Blockchain
- Blockchain with SAP: Developing Applications with Hyperledger Fabric
- Blockchain with SAP: Developing Blockchain Applications with Hyperledger Fabric
- Blockchain with SAP: SAP HANA Integration
- Blockchain with SAP: MultiChain Applications
- Blockchain with SAP: MultiChain Applications
- Blockchain with SAP: Hybrid Network Architecture and Camelot Hypertrust Platform
Do you want to learn more about the possibilities of blockchains in connection with the SAP Cloud for your company? Do you have questions about the development of block chain technologies and your future? In our book “Blockchain with SAP” we explain the advantages of these technologies in detail. The publisher provides a detailed sample of the book online.