Alibaba Outlines 10 Tech Trends for 2020: Large-scale Production-Grade Blockchain Applications Will Gain Mass Adoption

Alibaba DAMO Academy, the e-commerce giant’s $15 billion global research institution, published its prediction of 10 key trends that will hit their stride in the new year on Thursday Jan. 2.

From AI, chip and cloud computing to blockchain and quantum computing, DAMO (whose initials stand for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook) Academy forecasts these technologies will bring up disruptive breakthroughs in 2020.

The institute believes that in 2020, the threshold for enterprises to apply blockchain technology will be further lowered, and various hardware chips designed for blockchain will emerge at the right moment, bringing blockchain applications to more people’s daily life.

“Looking ahead into 2020, BaaS (Blockchain-as-a-Service) will further reduce the barriers of entry for enterprise blockchain applications. A variety of hardware chips embedded with core algorithms used in terminals, cloud and designed specifically for blockchain will also emerge, allowing assets in the physical world to be mapped to assets on blockchain, further expanding the boundaries of the Internet of Value and realizing “multi-chain interconnection”. In the future, a large number of innovative blockchain application scenarios with multi-dimensional collaboration across different industries and ecosystems will emerge, and large-scale production-grade blockchain applications with more than 10 million DAI (Daily Active Items) will gain mass adoption.”

The DAMO Academy has established a dedicated lab for blockchain research in 2018, with an aim to accelerate blockchain applications in commercial and financial fields. The lab, headed by Zhang Hui, director of Blockchain Department at Ant Financial, focuses on seven key areas, including consensus protocols, cryptographic security and privacy protection, trusted execution environments, cross-chain protocols, smart contract language and overall security analysis, integration of blockchain technology with IoT, and Integration of blockchain technology with secure multi-party computing (SMC).

Last year, the research institution proposed that the commercial applications of blockchain technology would speed up, which has been verified by reality. In 2019, blockchain technology rose to be a national strategy, gradually implemented in digital finance, digital government, intelligent manufacturing and other fields. Internet giants have also made a foray to explore the real value of blockchain.

Take Alibaba for example, its Ant Blockchain has been successfully implemented in nearly 50 scenarios, including the recent application in commodity traceability, copyright protection, digital identity authentication and supply chain finance during the Double 11 shopping spree festival in 2019.

Yang Dong, director of the big data blockchain and regulatory science and technology laboratory at Renmin University of China, commented that among all technologies, the essential advantage of blockchain over others such as artificial intelligence and big data lies in its ability to transform and improve the old production relations, so that it can better adapt to the new state of the digital economy.

The top 10 tech trends the DAMO Academy forecasts for 2020,

  1. Artificial intelligence evolves from perceptual intelligence to cognitive intelligence
  2.  In-Memory-Computing addresses the “memory wall” challenges in AI computing
  3. Industrial IoT power the digital transformation
  4. Large-scale collaboration between machines become possible
  5. Modular design makes chips easier and faster by stacking chiplets together
  6. Large-Scale Production-Grade Blockchain Applications will Gain Mass Adoption
  7. A critical period before large-scale quantum computing
  8. New Materials Will Revolutionize the Semiconductor Devices
  9. Growing Adoption of AI Technologies that Protect Data Privacy
  10. Cloud becomes the center of IT technology innovation
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