Plenty of industries and companies are eyeing blockchain – the technology that enables cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin – but when it comes to corporate investors, SBI, Google, Overstock.com, Citi and Goldman Sachs are standing out from the pack.
That’s according to a news report from CB Insights, which found that the number of corporate investors in blockchain hit a record 91 this year – just four shy of the number of venture capitalist firms that are investing in the technology. Corporations have invested $327 million in blockchain deals this year, which is only a little lower than the $390 million invested in blockchain in all of 2016.
Among the corporate investors in blockchain startups, CB Insights found that SBI Holdings, the Japanese financial service firm, is among the most active. The company has eight investments in companies like R3, which is a group of banks that are working on applications for blockchain, and Kraken, which is a cryptocurrency exchange. Meanwhile, Google is in second place, investing in a bitcoin wallet startup and Ripple, which enables money transfers via blockchain technology.
Rounding out the top five, the report found that Overstock.com, which accepts bitcoin as a payment method, is in third place. Citi holds the fourth spot and Goldman Sachs is in fifth place in terms of investments in the space.
“Big banks and financial services firms were the first corporate players to make direct blockchain investments en masse – unsurprising, given how bitcoin’s underlying technology lends itself (both technically and in popular thought) to financial services,” CB Insights said in the report. “Since mid-2014, more than 50 of the world’s major financial services institutions have invested in the sector.”
The corporate interest in blockchain technology comes at the same time that bitcoin is continuing to set record highs, but is facing backlash from regulators and some on Wall Street. Take JPMorgan’s Chief Executive Jamie Dimon: He recently called bitcoin a “fraud,” but said he believes in the technology behind it, which is blockchain.