Since its emergence at the start of the decade, blockchain has been heralded as one of the most transformative technologies for financial services. Blockchain hype has led financial institutions (FIs) to pour money into the space and into distributed ledger technology more broadly: about $1.7 billion annually as of 2018, per research from Greenwich Associates cited by Bloomberg.
Despite the hype, sentiment around the technology has grown increasingly skeptical as FIs struggle to realize the value of their investments. Incumbents have shuttered some early experiments, and FI execs are beginning to discuss blockchain’s prospects in bearish terms.
Key difficulties include scaling the technology for commercial application, ongoing regulatory uncertainty, and the difficulty of bringing together competing participants.
Yet amid the noise, it’s becoming more clear where exactly blockchain has value, and some players are beginning to make genuine inroads in their adoption and deployment of the technology. Those who are finding success are both pushing back against souring industry sentiment and setting themselves up as industry leaders.
In The Blockchain in Banking Report, Business Insider Intelligence explores early blockchain successes and failures at four major banks, identifies the lessons these early wins - and losses - have for the rest of the financial services industry, and outlines actionable steps that industry players can take to ensure the success of their own blockchain projects.
The companies mentioned in this report are: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), Bank of America (BofA), Citi Bank, CME Group, Fidelity Investments, HSBC, IBM, JPMorgan, Marco Polo, Mastercard, Nasdaq, PayPal, Ripple, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Santander, SWIFT, and Visa.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
- Blockchain has been one of the most hyped technologies within financial services, heralded for its potential to eliminate pain points across the industry.
- Despite this enthusiasm, questions have come up about the technology’s efficacy as FIs struggle to actualize blockchain solutions. Among the key challenges holding back blockchain adoption are scalability and performance, trust, and regulatory uncertainty.
- Yet, for all its difficulties, blockchain’s promise to transform financial services processes has meant leading banks are attempting to figure out where the technology does and does not work firsthand, to varying degrees of success.
- To implement an effective blockchain solution, decision-makers should first determine how much they’re willing to commit to the technology and identify a genuine business problem that blockchain can resolve. Only then should they develop a strategy for delivering a blockchain project.
In full, the report:
- Details the key roadblocks holding backing blockchain adoption within financial services.
- Identifies the most promising use cases are which industry players are coalescing.
- Explores four banks’ early blockchain project successes - JPMorgan and HSBC - and failures - Citi Bank and BofA - and the lessons they provide.
- Provides actionable recommendations on how banks can successfully pursue a blockchain project.
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