White Papers
Published: 9 December 2020

Bridging the Governance Gap: Interoperability for blockchain and legacy systems

In the last decade, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) have generated tremendous interest and activity from developers, enterprises, venture capitalists, regulators, and users alike. The innovation of blockchain technology and smart contracts leads to an important question about how legacy digital systems, operated by enterprises, governments, and institutions will be impacted. Presently, the answers to this question have varied from one extreme (“all legacy systems will be replaced”) to the other (“DLT is too slow and unproven to actually replace any working legacy system”). However, the eventual answer may lie somewhere in between, where the utility of select legacy systems is upgraded by DLT integration wherever appropriate, and DLT solutions witness growth in enterprise adoption.

The World Economic Forum is publishing a governance framework that proposes strategic pathways which can enable interoperability between legacy IT systems and distributed ledger systems. The publication informs the audience how their legacy IT systems, built and used over long periods of time, can be integrated with the capabilities of smart contracts without replacing them. This interoperability between these two disparate systems can spawn a new wave of experiments and pilots towards adoption of smart contracts in various applications.

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