Although the financial services industry still accounts for a significant amount of blockchain investment and activity, the technology is spreading to other industries rapidly, with consumer products and manufacturing, and technology, media and telecommunications expected to be the sectors which will spend the most in blockchain technology in 2017.
Deloitte, which conducted an online survey of 308 blockchain-knowledgeable senior executives in the US at companies with US$500 million or more in annual revenue, found that 21% of the companies surveyed have already brought blockchain into production. 25% said they plan to do so within the next year.
The firms that are the most advanced in terms of blockchain development and deployment are those in the technology, media and telecoms, and consumer products and manufacturing industries, with 30% of respondents having already brought blockchain into production.
Most particularly, executives surveyed in the consumer products and manufacturing industry expressed the most bullish blockchain outlook with 42% of respondents in this industry planning an investment of US$5 million or more in the coming year. Technology, media and telecoms executives follow with 27%, and financial services with 23%.
In contrast, just 12% of surveyed financial services company executives say their companies have deployed blockchain in production. However, surveyed financial services companies intends to pick up the pace with 24% stating they plan to go live with blockchain in the coming year.
“Most financial services companies have been involved in blockchain via their labs, investments, and pilots for a while now,” said Eric Piscini, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP and the global financial services blockchain leader. “Other industries are now starting to realize the potential for disruption, as well as the new opportunities that blockchain creates.”
The survey also found that the understanding of blockchain technology remains uneven. Many senior executives (39%) still know little or nothing about it. Those that have knowledge of blockchain, however, see the technology as crucial for their company and their industry. 50% of this group said their company would be at a competitive disadvantage if it failed to adopt the technology. 42% of them believe it will disrupt their industry.
“It is fair to say that some industries are still confused to a degree about the potential for blockchain,” said David Schatsky, managing director of Deloitte LLP. “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 report also points out the main barriers to adoption, which include the lack of technical standards and regulatory uncertainly. 48% of respondents believe that federal regulations that support the use of blockchain for business purposes will likely help the technology to gain mass adoption.