Banks and financial markets are rapidly adopting commercial blockchain solutions and the pace is “dramatically faster” than expected, show two studies of the multinational technology and consulting giant IBM, which itself is involved in the development of blockchain technologies.
The two studies surveyed 200 global banks and 200 global financial markets, respectively, and found that 15% of banks and 14% of financial markets institutions who were interviewed, intend to implement full-scale, commercial blockchain solutions in 2017.
Mass adoption is also coming – 65% of the banks said they were expecting to have blockchain solutions in productions in the next three years.
The banking survey found that the majority of the “trialblazers”, or early adopters, among the banks are seeking new business models and new markets through the adoption of blockchain technologies. Furthermore, they are better protected against the competition, mostly the disruptors like “startup non-banks”.
Roughly the same share, 70%, of the “triablazers” among the financial markets institutions are focusing their blockchain efforts on clearing and settlement, wholesale payments, equity and debt issuance, and reference data.
Curiously, the main blockchain pioneers are twice more likely to be big financial institutions (with more than 100 000 employees), instead of small startups or fintech organizations.
At the same time, however, the financial institutions that are not among the early adopters, feel that there are many obstacles to success when adopting blockchain, such as regulatory constraints, immature technology and lack of clear return on investment.
It seems, for example, that the Bank of England is among the skeptics. In one of its recent consultation papers, focusing on the further development of its Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) service, it noted that blockchain technology is very attractive, but currently is not mature enough to proved the required capabilities and is hardly useful.
At the same time, SIX Securities Services, the post-trade infrastructure operator for the Swiss financial sector and the fintech company Digital Asset Holdings, have teamed up to develop a blockchain system for the Swizz financial market.
Other big believers in blockchain are UBS, ICAP, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank and Banco Santander who have joined the efforts of the enterprise technology Clearmatics in the further development of the blockchain-based Utility Settlement Coin (USC) concept.
Meanwhile, a recent report of the UK consultant Juniper Research found that in the first half of 2016 venture capital has invested $290 million.