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84% of executives report blockchain initiatives underway

More than four out of five executives say their organisation is working on a blockchain initiative, according to a survey by PwC, while 15 per cent of the initiatives are already live.

The report – Blockchain is here. What’s your next move? – asked 600 executives in 15 countries about their development of blockchain and for their views on its potential. Ten per cent of executives said they had a blockchain implementation pilot in progress and 15 per cent said their blockchain initiative was fully live. Almost a third (32 per cent) have projects in development and a fifth are in research mode. Currently US companies are leading development of blockchain projects, followed by China and Australia. But the respondents think that China will become more influential than the US within three to five years.

Financial services leads the way

Financial services was identified as a leading sector for blockchain development by 46 per cent of the respondents, but they also said that the following industries have potential to develop useful blockchain applications and uses: energy and utilities, healthcare and industrial manufacturing.

PwC's Steve Davies said: “A well-designed blockchain doesn’t just cut out intermediaries, it reduces costs, increases speed, reach, transparency and traceability for many business processes. The business case can be compelling, if organisations understand what their end game is in using the technology, and match that to their design.”
However, the executives surveyed also expressed the view that blockchain’s biggest benefits will be developed and delivered through shared industry wide platforms, with a need for agreed common standards and industry collaboration.

4 steps to blockchain development

The study identifies four key areas for focus in the development of internal or industry wide blockchain platforms:

  1. Make the business case: organisations can start small, but need to set out clearly the purpose of the initiative so other participants can identify and align around it.
  2. Build an ecosystem: Participants should come together from different companies in an industry to work on a common set of rules to govern blockchains. Of the 15 per cent of survey respondents who already have live applications, 88 per cent were either leaders or active members of a blockchain consortium.
  3. Design deliberately around what users can see and do: Partners need rules and standards for access permissions. Involving risk professionals, including legal, compliance, cybersecurity, from the start will ensure blockchain frameworks that regulators and users can trust.
  4. Navigate regulatory uncertainty: The study warns that blockchain developers should watch but not wait as regulatory requirements will evolve over the coming years. It’s vital to engage with regulators to help shape how the environment evolves.

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