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Over two-thirds of Asia-Pac firms lack understanding of blockchain solutions: EY poll

WHEN it comes to blockchain solutions, over two-thirds or 68 per cent of Asia-Pacific companies lack understanding and education on its application, according to a Ernst & Young (EY) poll.

This lack of understanding and education is the greatest barrier for boards and executives when it comes to adopting blockchain solutions, the New York-based consultancy said on Tuesday.

Moreover, around two-thirds or 66 per cent of those surveyed believe they need a better understanding of the possibilities, risks and benefits of blockchain before applying it to their organisations.

EY conducted the poll during a live blockchain webcast with 576 attendees in Asia-Pacific, with 13.7 per cent from Singapore.

"Trust is a key factor and current barrier for companies in Asia-Pacific. Understanding and education is required to build trust and confidence with aspects of a business,” said Adam Gerrard, partner at Ernst & Young LLP, and EY Asia-Pacific Assurance blockchain leader.

For 46 per cent of respondents, the most commonly heard myth about blockchain is that it is a "trust-less" system and "does not require a central authority".

"Trust-less" refers to "not requiring trust" in this context, which is used as a term to describe the distributed nature of public blockchains, Mr Gerrard said.

This is different from private blockchains, which usually has a central authority controlling the code and protocols needed. Therefore, the term "trust-less" may not be a myth, but rather misunderstood, he added.

The next most common myth about blockchain Asia-Pacific firms have heard is that it is not as "unhackable" as believed. It is found that 51 per cent attacks, a specific type of attack on a blockchain, occur when a single entity gains control over 51 per cent of the network hash-rate, which refers to the processing power of the network. (see amendment note)

This entity will then be able to prevent valid transactions from occurring, and reverse already occurred transactions on the blockchain, according to Power Ledger co-founder and chairman Jemma Green.

Jimmy Ong, partner at Ernst & Young Advisory, and EY Asia-Pacific blockchain leader, added that the terms "immutable" and "unhackable" have been overused in the context of blockchain. While these terms are not completely wrong – they give the wrong impression.

Although blockchain is difficult to be modified unilaterally – hence “immutable – due to its ability to store data by linking it in blocks of transactions cryptographically to the previous block, the applications on top of it may not be infallible.

"Blockchains will do for networks of companies and enterprise ecosystems, what an enterprise resource planning does for a single company," Mr Ong said.

Amendment note: 51 per cent attacks are an industry-specific blockchain term which describes a specific type of attack on the blockchain. More here