Why do billion-dollar corporations need blockchain? - Hitecher
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Why do billion-dollar corporations need blockchain?

by Alex Reinhardt

While populists are dreaming about blockchain transforming the global financial system, corporations are busy adapting distributed ledger technology to suit their specific business needs

Everyone who is closely following the industry of blockchain and cryptocurrencies may have noticed steadily decreasing interest in cryptocurrencies. There’s a lot of talk about a ‘crypto winter’: in 2018, Bitcoin lost 83% from its maximum price. From January to December, the price of the most popular cryptocurrency saw a fivefold decrease: from $17 500 to $3 500. Meanwhile, market capitalization has gone down by 88%, with losses of up to $800 billion.

The decline of the crypto market has impacted a lot of startups: some of them were forced to lay off some staff, while others closed down. For example, Singapore-based Ethereum browser Startup, which had raised $100 million during an ICO in the summer of 2017, ended up laying off a quarter of their employees in just half a year. Nebulas, another startup developing their own platform, had to lay off more than 60% of their staff in early 2019. Mining has also been affected: Chinese mining equipment manufacturing giant Bitmain lost $500 million in 2018. At the end of the year, there were also rumors about the company’s plans to lay off half their staff.

It certainly looks like the crypto market has fallen on difficult times. However, alongside this crisis, the use of blockchain technology is increasing thanks to major companies. Corporations use blockchain to speed up business processes, increase transparency and save money. According to a forecast from International Data Corp, total expenditures on blockchain technology made by companies and governments will reach $2.9 billion by 2019 and $12.4 billion in 2022.

Forbes recently released a list of 50 billion-dollar corporations currently using blockchain. The list includes banks, food companies, IT giants, major retailers and many others. Major players like Amazon, Walmart, Facebook, ING, Mastercard, Microsoft and Nestle also made it into the list.

Company

Country

Industry

Blockchain platform

Amazon

USA

online retail

Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum

Ant Financial

China

fintech

Ant Blockchain

Bitfury

Netherlands

software

Exonum, Bitcoin

BP

United Kingdom

oil & gas

Ethereum, Cardano, Quorum

Coinbase

USA

finance

Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Lumen

Facebook

USA

IT

неизвестно

Fidelity

USA

finance

Bitcoin, Ethereum

Hewlett Packard

USA

computer technology

Corda, Ethereum, Quorum, Sia, Hyperledger Fabric

IBM

USA

IT

IBM Blockchain, Stellar, Hyperledger Burrow, Sovrin

Intel

USA

microprocessors, computer technology

Corda, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth

JPMorgan Chase

USA

banking

Quorum

Mastercard

USA

finance

собственная платформа

Microsoft

USA

software

Ethereum, Parity, Quorum, Corda, Hyperledger Fabric

Nasdaq

USA

finance

Symboint, Corda, Hyperledger Fabric

Nestle

Switzerland

food

IBM Blockchain

Samsung

South Korea

electronics

Nexledger, Ethereum

Visa

USA

finance

Hyperledger Fabric

Several blockchain giants have also made it into the list: crypto exchange Coinbase, European mining equipment manufacturer Bitfury, crypto payment network platform Ripple. Facebook, major mobile manufacturer HTC and bank holding HSBC are all actively integrating Blockchain.

What’s more, there’s been an increase in blockchain patent applications from major companies. A recent study by Chinese iPR Daily shows that major companies have made dozens of patent applications recently. Chinese Alibaba has made 90 patent applications, with 89 from IBM, 80 from Mastercard, 53 from financial conglomerate Bank of America, 44 from the Central Bank of China.

While populists are dreaming about blockchain transforming the global financial system, corporations are busy adapting distributed ledger technology to suit their specific business needs. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting case studies from companies in the Forbes top 50.

Amazon: maintaining Cloud technology leadership

The company uses several blockchains: the private Hyperledger Fabric and public Ethereum. Amazon offers blockchain instruments for companies interested in distributed ledger technology but lacking resources for development. To offer these services, the company has partnered with startup Kaleido.

Using blockchain allows Amazon to maintain its leading position in Cloud technology, which is the company’s most profitable offering. The operating profit of Amazon Web Service was $7.3 million in 2018. Clients using Amazon Cloud technology include insurer Change Healthcare, HR software provider Workday, clearing company DTCC and many others.

Ant Financial: supply chain quality control

Chinese fintech company Ant Financial has patented a proprietary blockchain — Ant Blockchain. The technology allows the company to track sales in the Alibaba marketplace (one of the co-owners of Ant).

Blockchain increases transparency in client-seller interactions: for example, clients can track the origins of a diamond that is sold in a shopping centre in Antwerpen. Blockchain gives users access to information about the date and place a particular stone was sorted, cut and polished.

Furthermore, in 2018 the payment app Ant Alipay (with over a billion users around the world) launched their own blockchain based payment service which enables users in Hong Kong or the Philippines to make instant direct money transfers to each other.

Bitfury: blockchain for corporate clients

Bitfury, a Dutch company with revenue totaling half a million dollars, is mostly known for selling mining equipment. But they are also actively developing in another area, creating blockchain services for corporate clients. In 2017, Bitfury launched their private Exonum blockchain to facilitate the integration of distributed ledger technology in various companies.

Bitfury has a wide target audience. One of the first clients to integrate their solution was Georgia: the country’s land registry has completely transitioned to Exonum.

Bitfury Group is currently negotiating pilot programs with 40 Fortune 500 companies, governments of ten countries and the European Union, with plans to integrate their system for all these players.

Bumble Bee Foods: monitoring seafood deliveries

San Diego based company Bumble Bee Foods, one of the largest North American manufacturers of frozen seafood, uses blockchain to monitor the seafood supply chain.

The solution was created in partnership with the SAP blockchain platform. This platform allows the company to track the entire journey of yellowfin tuna from Indonesia to the final consumer. The blockchain stores information about the location and volume of the catch, as well as safety and certification standards of the fishery that caught it. You can access all this information simply by scanning a QR code featured on the packaging.

These cases point towards a transition of blockchain development from startups to corporations. Big business doesn’t wait for cryptocurrencies to achieve maturity, these companies are ready to invest in research into this technology today. Compared to startups, corporations also have the advantage of more effective management: while startups are laying off their staff, Facebook is creating dozens of vacancies for blockchain experts.

Corporations aren’t advocating rejection of traditional formats and they have no plans to fight centralization. Instead, they are testing how blockchain can improve their current business models.

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  1. Dr Aman Kumar sharman

    Dr Aman Kumar sharman

    Hii