Blockchain may be a concept that the broader population is still struggling to get their heads around, but companies are seeing the potential and investing in the revolutionary distributed ledger technology.
According to the results of PwC’s Global Blockchain Survey 2018 of 600 executives in 15 territories, 84% of respondents say their companies are in some stage of involvement in blockchain technology. Though still emerging as a technology, it’s not surprising companies are investing: according to Gartner, blockchain is expected to generate an annual value of more than US$3 trillion by 2030.
The financial services industry pioneered the adoption of blockchain, as the digital revolution swept through everything from banking to insurance, plus Bitcoin’s stratospheric journey from speculative digital currency to legitimate tender. While Gartner reported that in 2017, 82% of total blockchain use cases were in financial services, this year that number dropped to just 46%. The survey results still show that financial services is seen as the most advanced in developing blockchain, however industrial products and manufacturing, energy and utilities and healthcare are all seen as emerging blockchain players.
The perception of which countries are leading in blockchain tells a tale that is in step with broader economic trends.
While 29% of respondents named the US as the leading territory in blockchain projects, that figure drops to 18% in the projected 2021-2023 period. However, in a mirror image, the 18% that pegged China as the blockchain leader today, rises to 30% in the forecast period. This isn’t surprising, with China rapidly becoming known as a startup and technological powerhouse: half of all unicorns (private tech companies with a valuation of US$1 billion or more) surveyed recently by PwC China reported a 100% annual growth rate in the last year.
The road to blockchain world domination is anything but smooth. Despite the compelling case for business in terms of security and the promise to reduce intermediaries and costs, while also improving speed and reach, the biggest concern cited by survey respondents was uncertainty around regulation.
As the survey shows, though, this isn’t the only barrier business faces, with respondents indicating a lack of trust in the technology and its adoption. These concerns aren’t insurmountable, and the undeniable benefits of blockchain remain a drawcard, as a majority of respondents show with their willingness to integrate blockchain into their businesses. Strategic clarity, an industry approach by collaborating with competitors, setting rules and standards around engagement and keeping agile in terms of regulatory changes will all be keys to successful adoption.
For further insights from the survey, visit the PwC Global Blockchain Survey 2018.