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Bitcoin is the word synonymous with blockchain technology today, and while it was unveiled by the mysterious and elusive Satoshi Nakamoto in late 2008, it has had a tumultuous journey towards mainstream adoption and still has miles to go.

However, 2017 has seen a major boom due to several developments (Ethereum rise, Bitcoin fork news, Litecoin Segwit activation, ICOs raising millions) and it seems like looking back, this year is going to be one of the major drivers behind mainstream blockchain technology adoption.

Countries Looking into Blockchain Technology

The last twelve months saw news coming out from several countries which showed interest in adopting blockchain technology at various levels.

Nigeria Looks to Lead Bitcoin Adoption in Africa

Bitcoin penetrated Africa in 2016 and saw support in the region’s stronger economies such as Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. However, Nigeria, which is known to have a strong IT infrastructure is aiming to lead further adoption this year.

According to E.A Afolabi, who is the CEO of a major IT company in Nigeria, people in Africa and Nigeria in particular, are interested in using Bitcoin for online shopping. Given the region’s economic instability, Bitcoin and blockchain technology also offers a more stable store of wealth, free from government interference.

The challenge however is literacy and building trust, but the region is ripe for adoption as a tech-savvy younger generation enters the professional world and starts financial dealings.

UK Government Considers Blockchain Technology for Digitization

In March this year the UK government also released their report – UK Digital Strategy for 2017 – where the Department for Culture, Media and Sport outlined various policies intended to streamline digitization of data by utilizing blockchain technology and smart contracts.

A collaboration like this between the government and the private sector is bound to highlight the benefits of blockchain technology adoption. Hopefully, such ventures can pave the way for experimentation by other countries as well.

Singapore Central Bank Conducted Payment Transfer Trials

In June this year we also saw a report coming out from the Monetary Authority of Singapore regarding trials in Project Ubin, which was started in March and allows banks to convert cash to cryptocurrencies and vice versa.

The first stage was a success after they managed to successfully transfer funds between banks and a private Ehtereum server. Now they’re going to work on cross-border payments and further trials will take place.

Once again, this is an initiative which is going to bring major growth in blockchain adoption throughout the global financial industry.

Hong Kong Stock Exchange Planning a Market Powered by Blockchain Tech

In August the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) Chief Executive, Charles Li shared a plan to launch a private market powered by blockchain technology next year.

According to him,

"The Private Market will serve as a 'nursery' for early stage companies before they are ready to enter public markets. They can conduct pre-IPO financing and other activities on an off-exchange venue not under the regulatory remit of the Securities and Futures Ordinance."

Mr. Li is also looking into blockchain technology as a future integration into the HKEX market in order to reduce costs and scale operations. Once again, such a move, even if a few years away, is an indicator of how blockchain technology can change the financial industry.

Russia has Mixed Feelings About Blockchain and Bitcoin

Russia is a main player in world economy and has had mixed feelings about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

While there were rumours that the country may outlaw crypto, the Russian Finance Minister, Anton Siluanov assured people recently that the government only intends to regulate and govern digital currencies as opposed to banning them.

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin’s meeting with Putin earlier this year was a move that changed Russia’s overall stance towards the technology.

According to reports, the Russian Finance Ministry was previously considering penalizing the use of crypto currencies.

Even presently, the Bank of Russia is not convinced that digital currencies are the future and the bank’s governor, Elvira Nabiullina termed the recent boom a “gold fever”.

Ukraine Auctions Sized Assets Using Blockchain Technology

Ukraine is a country which is also actively involved in exploring ways to integrate blockchain technology into real world transactions.

Just recently the country’s Justice Ministry announced their plan to conduct auctions of sized assets using blockchain technology to fight corruption and improve transparency.

Since blockchain ledgers are immutable and trustless, they provide the perfect platform for financial transactions that do not need any one organization’s oversight and are decentralized in nature.

By adopting such a system, the Ukraine’s government will be able to enhance accountability and sell seized properties and assets in a manner that is transparent and publicly verifiable.

The government has paired up with Bitfury Group, whose CEO, Valery Vavilov stated that the blockchain-powered system is stable enough to process billions of dollars without issues.

For a country that has had to contend with severe corruption and financial irregularities, blockchain adoption can open the road to transparent financial dealings and a more accountable government apparatus.

The Chinese Wildcard

We can’t overlook China when it comes to financial markets and cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately, the country has not been very supportive towards the crypto boom. The People’s Bank of China recently outlawed all ICOs and news regarding a ban on Bitcoin exchanges has also led to drop in prices over the past few days.

However, most analysts believe these measures are temporary and there are even talks of China developing their own crypto and ICO infrastructure which will be closely regulated and monitored.

Nevertheless, we believe the blockchain revolution is here to stay and sooner or later countries will have to find ways to adopt and integrate the technology. Those who are at the fore-front of this adoption drive will pave the path for others to follow.

What do you think about bitcoin and blockchain’s mainstream adoption? Leave your comments and feedback below.