Blockchain technology could unlock a multi-billion pound boost to Scotland’s productivity, according to a new report from Scottish Enterprise.

The business support agency released an industry paper that decentralised digital tech could help grow the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) by £4.48bn by 2030.

The economic forecast was outlined in the report, ‘Blockchain Industry in Scotland Landscape Overview: Companies, Investors, Influencers and Trends‘, released on Tuesday.

Worldwide, blockchain is expected to generate $1.2trn to the global economy by 2030.

The report was put together by Deep Knowledge Analytics, presenting an overview of the entire blockchain industry ecosystem.

Suzanne Sosna, Scottish Enterprise director of economic opportunities, said: “This is the first review of its kind into the companies, investors and impact of blockchain that could unlock new and scalable innovation opportunities for our digital economy in Scotland.

“The technology is most associated with the financial sector, but we wanted to look beyond that across industries where blockchain technology might be lesser known, but no less innovative, such as in education where it’s used to make qualifications secure.

“Scottish Enterprise will continue to support the development of blockchain technology to help business growth and innovation in Scotland.”

Blockchain works by allowing digital information to be recorded and distributed across a network of computers then stored in blocks that hold sets of data and linked together through cryptography, forming a chain of data.

Benefits, features and challenges of blockchain technology are summarised in the report alongside regional analysis and case studies to demonstrate how the technology can be applied across different industries in Scotland from entertainment and education to energy.

There are currently 60 blockchain centric companies, 78 Investors, 86 leaders and 33 hubs with a blockchain focus in Scotland with most companies located in Edinburgh.

Economic opportunities are highlighted across eight sectors within the report – agriculture, manufacturing, health, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), space, energy, finance and education.

Companies profiled in the report include Glasgow-based Gigged.AI that has also been supported by Scottish Enterprise and uses artificial intelligence blockchain technology for businesses to create secure and transparent records of candidate qualifications, experience, and work history.

Key challenges include regulation and public awareness of the technology most closely associated with finance, however the report highlights that the technology has applications for industries such as entertainment and manufacturing with solutions for digital rights management and contracts.

Dominic Jennings, head of strategic partnerships for Deep Knowledge Analytics and Deep Knowledge Group, said: “The use of blockchain technology can encourage growth across a diverse range of sectors through the development of innovative and secure solutions with potential to significantly boost Scotland’s economic growth.

“Deep Knowledge Analytics is proud to have worked with Scottish Enterprise to produce this landmark report and to promote the future growth of the blockchain industry in Scotland.”

The number of registered blockchain companies in Scotland has reached almost 30, including Galaxy Global Investments, Kubemake, and MaidSafe.

Ayr-based Maidsafe, led by inventor and technologist David Irvine, is pioneering an autonomous network, which could provide the basis for a new internet.

The company secured $6 million in funding through an equity crowdfunding round in 2014, the report noted. Other companies mentioned include BetDEX, a decentralised sports betting platform that operates on the Solana blockchain and the Monaco Protocol.

The company’s platform is designed to enable sports betting operators to offer their customers an unparalleled betting experience, with real-time odds and highly accurate predictions on a wide range of sports and events.