Blockchain can no longer be ignored. Even some of the biggest and top corporations in the world admit that they are now exploring blockchain and its potential benefits. The existence of distributed ledger technology allowed the first bitcoin cryptocurrency owners to exchange value even without the presence of banks. As a result, some of the biggest companies in the world are now making their research and development departments to explore blockchain.
Among those in the Forbes’ Global 2000 list of public companies in the world exploring various stages of blockchain technology include corporate giants like Apple, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Berkshire Hathaway. This, however, does not mean they believe in the technology. In fact, many of them chose to let new and smaller companies to look for updates of what they are working on. What are other companies are exploring the technology and how much are these corporations spending?
Top Corporations Exploring Blockchain
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)
One of the corporations exploring blockchain is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. The company has $165 billion in sales and a total asset of $4.2 trillion. ICBC previously denied claims of working on Tzero blockchain-powered stock exchange until a patent was filed with China’s State Intellectual Property Office.
According to a CoinDesk report, the patent described the use of blockchain technology for verification of digital certificates rather than using a trusted central authority. Whilst nothing is available for the public about the company’s top-secret exploration into the blockchain technology, many are speculating that this project takes after previous ones that aim to put stock certificates on a blockchain. Current stock certificates are in different safes of Central Securities Depositories across the globe.
China Construction Bank Corporation (CCB)
Another Chinese conglomerate working on the blockchain is the world’s second-largest bank in market capitalisation, China Construction Bank Corporation. The company, with $143 billion in sales and $3.63 trillion in assets, revealed that they are currently using the IBM Blockchain bancassurance platform. This will allow banks and insurance companies to streamline sales of their products. The blockchain technology will allow a shared view of insurance policy data in realtime. Through this, there would be no need for status checks that often delay the process.
JPMorgan has $118 billion in sales and $2.7 trillion in assets and is one of the top corporations exploring blockchain. This is despite CEO Jamie Dimon’s rants about bitcoin. After launching its blockchain platform, Quorum, the company roused the interest of other big corporations such as Pfizer and IHS Markit. JPMorgan also released its own currency, the JPM Coin that will secure transactions, facilitate international payments for big corporate clients, and replace dollars in large treasury services worldwide.
Berkshire Hathaway has $235 billion in sales and $702 billion in assets in the diversified financial category. The company is currently exploring blockchain technology to trace the origin of diamonds and freight services on its CEO’s railroads.
BNSF Railway Co said that they are the first major railroad firm in the US to join the Blockchain in Transport Alliance. The group includes over 200 companies that are all looking at using digital ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies in the transport industry. The alliance hopes to place blockchain standards in quality control, vehicle maintenance, and fraud prevention. Berkshire invested close to $600 million in two fintech firms with a strong focus on emerging markets.
Remember when Berkshire Hathaway founder and CEO Warren Buffet said, “It’s ingenious and blockchain is important but bitcoin has no unique value at all.” He reiterated, “It doesn’t produce anything, you can stare at it all day and no little bitcoins come out or anything like that.”
It seems Buffet is not holding back its company from making investments into blockchain technology.
Agricultural Bank of China Limited
Another one of the Chinese corporations exploring blockchain is the Agricultural Bank of China Limited, with $3.4 trillion in assets and $129 billion in sales. The state-owned bank recently revealed that they are exploring the decentralised network in offering unsecured agricultural loans to e-commerce companies.
Through the use of a distributed ledger to update parties of borrower’s data and their collaterals, banks can streamline the process of loan approval. This will also help to eliminate double-spending or the use of land as loan collateral in different banks.
Apple is the lone corporation in the tech industry to make it to Forbes’ top ten largest public companies investing in blockchain technology. For several years, Apple has been mum on blockchain technology. Recently CoinDesk released a report about a patent filed by Apple for using blockchain technology for data timestamping.
The use case in question calls for tying a piece of information to a specific blockchain transaction. This will establish the state of data at that particular time. Changes to the information will add transaction details to the data. As a result, it will create a multi-check architecture. A system that needs to confirm the timestamp before it can be added into the chain.
Notes from the patent included:
“If any party attempts to alter a node sometime earlier in the blockchain, each hash puzzle solution for block subsequent to the altered block becomes broken or incorrect. Each participant can see that such a broken blockchain does not agree with their own copy of the blockchain. The broken blockchain is thus not recognized by the nodes.”
The use of timestamp ensures that there is proper time maintenance and the network remains free from compromise.
In conclusion, blockchain technology is indeed one of the fastest-growing industries of today. As more and more corporations are exploring its capacity to provide the best services at an affordable price point. Whilst cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are yet to appeal to conglomerates, the technology behind it – the distributed ledger technology is making a huge difference among big corporations. When big companies continue exploring blockchain technology and its benefits to our daily lives, it is no longer impossible to see a future where almost all transactions use blockchain.