While only 6% of companies are ready for blockchain now, market indicators suggest explosive growth within the next five years. FinTech exec Monica Eaton-Cardone explores five applications that can lead blockchain from uncertainty to ubiquity.


TAMPA – A recent analysis of blockchain in retail projected its market value will be 29 times higher in 2023 than 2018, rising from $80 million to more than $2.3 billion, at a compound annual growth rate of 96.4 percent.

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Though only six percent of businesses are ready to use blockchain for payment initiatives today, survey findings suggest 13 times as many will be onboard within the next five years.

Monica Eaton-Cardone, a FinTech executive specializing in risk management and fraud prevention, examines the challenges that have hindered blockchain’s implementation to date and the applications that are likely to fuel widespread adoption in the future.

While just six percent of companies are ready to embrace blockchain now, another nine percent are less than a year away and a further 43 percent set their timeline at one to three years; within the next five years, fully 78 percent of businesses say they will be ready to integrate DLT for payments.

However, the retail sector has already begun using blockchain for other applications, and Eaton-Cardone believes these successful use cases can help hasten adoption rates throughout the industry.

Monica Eaton-Cardone
Monica Eaton-Cardone

“Bitcoin has suffered high-profile hacks and wildly fluctuating prices in recent years, so wariness of cryptocurrency has led some to be leery of blockchain by association. But the technology is starting to spread throughout the retail industry now that early adopters are proving its real-world potential,” said Eaton-Cardone, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Global Risk Technologies and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Chargebacks911.

As more companies discover blockchain’s usefulness in solving some of retail’s biggest challenges, Eaton-Cardone says it should become clear why its market value is expected to soar nearly 30 times higher in just five years.

Eaton-Cardone points to five blockchain applications that are changing the face of retail:

1. Supply Chain Management – Blockchain is able to capture a data trail that can trace a product from its source to retail shelves and all stops in between. For example, Walmart and IBM have partnered on a blockchain-based Food Traceability Initiative that can identify the origin of produce almost instantaneously; instead of taking nearly a week, that data can now be retrieved in just 2.2 seconds. This is critical in cases of food-born illness outbreaks and safety recalls. It also enables retailers to demonstrate compliance with regulations aimed at eliminating slavery and human trafficking from supply chains and allows merchants to unequivocally assure customers that products are ethically and/or sustainably sourced.

2. Inventory Management – Blockchain is making it easier for merchants to track the location of goods—from manufacturer to warehouse to backroom to checkout—and replenish inventory in enough time to avoid backorder and out-of-stock scenarios, which reportedly cost retailers worldwide nearly $1 trillion each year.

3. Authenticity Verification – Counterfeiting and theft are ongoing problems for manufacturers and retailers, whether it’s knockoffs of high-end goods such as handbags, fragrances and watches or criminals trying to sell stolen art or automobiles to legitimate dealers. Blockchain trails can help manufacturers detect product diversion and trademark infringement, and they also enable resellers to verify ownership.

4. Auto-Renewal and Subscription Services – In the case of goods and services sold via subscription/recurring billing, blockchain can help protect both sellers and consumers. Sellers can use it to prove they have obtained a customer’s consent to charge their card/account on a recurring basis and demonstrate compliance with relevant laws, while consumers can prove when they have requested cancellation.

5. Customer Data and Loyalty Programs – Blockchain allows retailers to save and use customer data for future orders and product recommendations without storing that data on their servers, where it could be susceptible to breaches or hacks. It can also be used to tokenize loyalty and reward programs, which helps to attract customers by making it easier for them to track, redeem and/or trade points.

Eaton-Cardone acknowledges that there are still questions and considerations that will need to be addressed before blockchain is fully implemented on a global, industry-wide basis, from the privacy of data stored on peer-to-peer networks to the need for a common platform to emerging legal and regulatory developments.(5) However, she is encouraged by blockchain’s growing presence and progress in the retail industry, with new applications such as Provenance, IBM Food Trust and TrustChain capitalizing on its capabilities and big names like Walmart, Carrefour, De Beers, Amazon and American Express leading the way.

“Today’s retail applications are proving that blockchain definitely lives up to its hype,” asserted Eaton-Cardone.

“Distributed ledger technology has moved from theoretical possibilities to practical uses, and the implementations we’re seeing now are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what blockchain can do for retailers. I believe blockchain has the capacity to completely reshape the retail landscape within the next five years.”

Monica Eaton-Cardone frequently discusses financial technology (FinTech), fraud prevention and security best practices at industry conferences and events.

She has been a featured panellist at TRUSTECH, the IATA World Financial Symposium and TRANSACT, and is also available for interviews, panellist opportunities and future speaking engagements. For more information, visit http://monicaec.com.

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