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Who’s Left In The Dark About Blockchain

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The financial services industry was one of the first to begin tapping into the power of blockchain. But distributed ledger technology has potential to disrupt more than payments and finance. A new report from Deloitte examines which industries have their eye on blockchain and which are still left in the dark.

According to the company’s report, released earlier this month, 39 percent of top executives at U.S. businesses say they have little or no knowledge about blockchain. That’s a high number, but researchers also found that the majority of survey respondents (61 percent) consider themselves knowledgeable about blockchain — with 55 percent adding that they agree their businesses would be at a competitive disadvantage if they failed to embrace blockchain-based solutions.

“It is fair to say that industry is still confused to a degree about the potential for blockchain,” reflected Deloitte Managing Director David Schatsky in a statement. “More than a quarter of surveyed knowledgeable execs say their companies view blockchain as a critical, top-five priority. But about a third consider the technology overhyped.”

The findings place new light on how blockchain and distributed ledgers will find their footing in the world — and not just in financial services.

Schatsky added that that not only are companies on different levels when it comes to understanding the technology, but industries are also without consensus as to what exactly is driving adoption of blockchain solutions.

More than a third (36 percent) said that blockchain will improve systems operations by either increasing speed or reducing costs. Even more said that blockchain’s enhanced security capabilities are the main driver of its adoption. Nearly a quarter pointed to blockchain’s potential to develop new business models and revenue streams, according to Deloitte.

“This diversity may be a testament to the versatility of the technology,” Schatsky said. “But it is likely also a reflection of the fact that, despite the hype, the impact that blockchain will likely have on businesses in various industries is not yet fully understood.”

Finserv Leads The Way

With financial services one of the first industries to embrace and explore blockchain, the sector is proving to be a guide for other industries interested in the technology.

According to Deloitte, companies in the consumer products and B2B manufacturing industry may be the next sector to fully embrace blockchain, with 42 percent of survey respondents in this industry planning to invest at least $5 million in the area of blockchain in 2017. That’s more than any other sector surveyed, including technology, media and telecoms, in which 27 percent of executives plan to invest that much in the year ahead.

Consumer products and B2B manufacturing is also the industry that appears the be the most embracing of blockchain innovation, with 38 percent of survey respondents reporting what their companies have filed for a blockchain patent — a measure, Deloitte said, of innovation.

“Although the financial services industry was early to show interest in blockchain, and accounts for a significant amount of investment and activity, the survey revealed that other industries may be even more aggressive in pursuing blockchain strategies,” Deloitte concluded in its announcement of the report.

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