Blockchain in business is big. We report on news, developments, and initiatives in the blockchain technology and crypto space, and there is a never-ending stream of blockchain projects and developments arising from start-ups through to multinationals.
And it’s easy to see why businesses would be very interested in implementing the technology. It’s decentralised and cuts out the middleman, making it cheaper and more transparent.
Blockchain in business headlines
In our guide ‘Top 10 retailers using blockchain’, we explore some of the brands that are investing in this new technology.
In fact, data from 2018 up to August reveals that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba filed the most blockchain-related patents with 90. IBM was close behind with 89. In third place was Mastercard (80) followed by Bank of America (53). Next up was People’s Bank of China, which filed a total of 44 patent applications around its central bank digital currency project.
But it’s not just major corporates that are driving blockchain in business. We also investigated fintech start-ups and explored some of the major developments there.
Global finance company Circle allows its users to send money like a text message. Money can be sent across a table or across the ocean in seconds. It is available in 29 countries, in GBP, USD, and EUR. The massive benefit of this is there are no exchange rate fees and so it’s free to send money to any place in the world. Something like this could have a major impact on a huge global market. And there are plenty of other examples:
Blockchain in business research
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 2018 global blockchain research
PwC surveyed 600 execs from 15 territories about their use of blockchain technology. Here are the headline results from their survey:
- 84% of respondents confirmed their organisations have some involvement in blockchain technology
- 52% are in the research or development stage
- 25% are in the pilot or live stage
Despite the vast majority being involved in blockchain, only 15% of those surveyed had actually implemented a blockchain technology based solution.
World Energy Insights Brief 2018
The UN’s World Energy Council (WEC) and PwC undertook a global research program in 2018 involving 39 energy companies. Here are the headline survey results:
- In 2017, an estimated $100–300 million was invested in over 100 energy sector-related blockchain applications
- The power sector has seen the growth of global investment in digital infrastructure increase by more than 20% per annum since 2014, reaching $47 billion in 2017
- At the time the report was published, there were 122 blockchain start-ups operating in the energy space that had raised over $324 million in 2017 alone
- About 45% of the companies interviewed were trialling peer-to-peer (P2P) projects
So, the findings were similar to the PwC study in that everyone could see the potential of blockchain technology and were investing in research and development. Full commercial development may be on the horizon, but it’s still some way off.
Why is that?
Barriers to blockchain in business adoption
If we take a step back for a minute, let’s consider what the average person in the street probably knows about blockchain. It’s probably not a lot, but most people have heard about cryptocurrencies – the most well-know application of blockchain technology. The headlines surrounding crypto are often lurid and fraud related, and talk about fortunes won and lost in a matter of days as the highly volatile prices of cryptocurrencies fluctuate widely.
In the PwC research, they asked respondents what was holding back the adoption of blockchain in business. The results were as follows:
- Regulatory uncertainty (48%)
- Lack of trust among users (45%)
- Ability to bring network together (44%)
- Separate blockchains not working together (41%)
- Inability to scale
- Intellectual property concerns
- Audit/compliance concerns