84% of businesses have embarked on a blockchain initiative, says PwC

84% of businesses have embarked on a blockchain initiative, says PwC
Report also highlights four key areas that companies should focus on when developing blockchain platforms

Rebecca Gibson |

Four out of five businesses have embarked on a blockchain initiative, according to a new survey from multinational professional services network PwC.

PwC surveyed 600 executives from 15 countries and territories for its Blockchain is here. What’s your next move? study, which found that 84% of respondents are actively involved with blockchain initiatives at their organisations. Around 20% are currently researching potential applications and benefits, 32% said they had projects in development, 10% said that their enterprise has a blockchain implementation pilot in progress, and 15% said their pilot was fully live.

Statistics suggested that the US, China and Australia are the most advanced when it comes to developing blockchain projects, with 29%, 18% and 7% of repsondents per eving those companies to be leading the way. However, 30% expect China to overtake the US within the next three to five years.

PwC’s survey also found that blockchain is primarily being used for financial services, with 46% of respondents identifying it as the current leading sector and 41% predicting it would do so in the next three to five years. Around 14% of respondents also said that blockchain has great potential to drive benefits for the energy and utilities sector and the health care industries within the next three to five years, while 12% said it would transform industrial manufacturing.

“What business executives tell us is that no one wants to be left behind by blockchain, even if at this early stage of its development, concerns on trust and regulation remain,” said Steve Davies, PwC’s blockchain leader. “A well-designed blockchain doesn’t just cut out intermediaries, it reduces costs, increases speed, reach, transparency and traceability for many business processes. The business case can be compelling, if organisations understand what their end game is in using the technology, and match that to their design.”

Despite companies recognising the benefits of blockchain, PwC’s survey found that 45% of respondents believe trust issues could delay adoption and 48% think regulatory uncertainty could be a roadblock. Concern about trust amongst users is highest in Singapore (37%); United Arab Emirates (34%) and Hong Kong (35%), while fears about regulatory uncertainty were highest in Germany (38%); Australia (37%) and the UK (32%).

Meanwhile, the one in three respondents who reported little or no involvement with blockchain said that their lack of progress was due to cost (31%), uncertainty over where to start (24%) and governance issues (14%).

PwC’s study also predicted that industry-specific companies – including competitors – must work together to agree common standards and operate together to ensure blockchain is successful. The report identified four key areas that companies should focus on when developing internal or industry-wide blockchain platforms. They include: setting out a clear business case for blockchain implementation; working with other companies to build a common set of rules to govern blockchains; involving risk professionals to determine rules and standards around what various participants will be able to access; and work with regulators to help shape how the environment evolves.

“Failing to state a clear business case from the outset leads to projects stalling,” said Davies. “Businesses need to put more effort into building into their design how they can tackle trust and regulatory concerns. Creating and implementing blockchain to realise its potential is not an IT project. It’s a transformation of business models, roles, and processes. It needs a clear business case, an ecosystem to support it; with rules, standards and flexibility to deal with regulatory change built in.”

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