Cryptocurrencies may be in the depths of winter, but it’s early spring for new business applications using the technology underlying bitcoin. Take the case of financial record keeping behemoth Depository Trust & Clearing Corp, otherwise known as “DTCC.” It’s responsible for keeping the books on 90 million transactions a day, representing most of the world’s $48 trillion in securities —from stocks and bonds to mutual funds and derivatives.
Decades ago it was all done on paper and now, though electronic, it continues to be burdened by a myriad of duplicate procedures and reconciliations among thousands of its members. In a few months DTCC will quietly begin the largest live implementation of blockchain, the distributed database technology made popular by the bitcoin cryptocurrency. Records for about 50,000 accounts in DTCC’s Trade Information Warehouse, where information on $10 trillion worth of credit derivatives is stored, will move to a customized digital ledger called AxCore. Soon all will have access to a single real-time account of trades, eliminating layers of databases.
Walmart is using blockchain technology to track shipments from its suppliers and reduce the risks of food spoilage and contamination. It has already filed 50 blockchain-related patents. Hard drive maker Seagate is using the tech to catch and prevent counterfeiters and Metlife can now pay claims instantly to its expectant mothers who test positive for gestational diabetes.
Rather than be disrupted by ICO-funded upstarts, global corporations are embracing the technology underlying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin because they want to speed up business processes, increase transparency and potentially save billions of dollars.
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According to International Data Corp, total corporate and government spending on blockchain should hit $2.9 billion in 2019, an increase of 89% over the previous year, and reach $12.4 billion by 2022. When PwC surveyed 600 execs last year, 84% said their companies are involved with blockchain.
Introducing Forbes Blockchain 50
With assistance from industry consultants and other experts, Forbes‘ team of reporters and editors identified more than 100 big companies actively exploring blockchain through industry consortiums and other proprietary projects. Our new list features 50—with minimum revenues or valuations of $1 billion, and U.S. operations— that are currently leading the way in adapting decentralized ledgers to their operating needs.
From eliminating paperwork, to monitoring hamburger patties and speeding up insurance payments, the anti-establishment software is being welcomed in the executive suite.
Co-opting Blockchain For The Boardroom
Ironically, the version of a blockchain future these companies are building is, for the most part, far different from what the founders and early adopters of blockchain had envisioned. While many cryptocurrency idealists fantasize about a global, public network of individuals connected directly and democratically, without middlemen, these companies—many of which are middlemen themselves like DTCC—are building private networks they will use to profit from centralized management.
The list below identifies the distributed-ledger platform each company is using. For more details on the specific blockchain projects underway, please click on the name of the company.