In March and April of this year, international consulting firm Deloitte surveyed executives in seven countries to learn about the state of blockchain adoption and about attitudes toward the technology.
The researchers polled 1,053 "blockchain-savvy executives" in Canada, China, France, Germany, Mexico, the United States, and the United Kingdom. How exactly the aptitude of the executives was determined is unclear.
The researchers concluded blockchain is at an "inflection point" where the technology is moving from the theoretical to the practical. And though adoption is still not widespread, blockchain "is getting closer to its breakout moment every day." Blockchain is compared to the internet in mid-1990s. It was at that time inefficient and, for most people, its annoyances far outweighed its usefulness. Then, fewer than 10 years later, the internet "had not only become a ubiquitous global business tool, but it had actually changed how business was conducted."
The authors of the report admit their results may be skewed by the fact that the poll "focused only on enterprise organizations implementing legacy-constrained solutions, and not on start-ups or emerging disruptors." So with this possibility that the picture painted by the report is understated in its optimism, the authors claim, "the only real mistake we believe organizations can make regarding blockchain right now is to do nothing."
Here are a few of the takeaways:
It's Not a Fad
Of those polled, 84 percent agreed with the statement "Blockchain technology is broadly scalable and will eventually achieve mainstream adoption."
Almost as many – 74 percent – agreed that the "executive team believes there is a compelling business case for use of blockchain technology." Since they believe the technology is here to stay, and has something to offer their particular industries, these companies are willing to invest. Sixty-five percent of respondents claim their company will spend at least $1 million on blockchain technology in the next year.
Everything Is Disrupted
Majorities from nearly every sector believe blockchain will disrupt their industry. These numbers were the highest for automotive, oil and gas, and biotech (at 73 percent, 72 percent, and 72 percent, respectively). Only members of the public sector (and "other/not identified" industries) were more likely to expect their industry will not be disrupted.
While 39 percent of respondents believe blockchain is "overhyped," that number is higher among respondents in the US (at 44 percent). That lack of enthusiasm for blockchain is reflected in other data points from the survey.
When asked, "Has your organization either brought blockchain to production or plans to do so at some point in the future?" strong majorities of respondents from every country (except the US) claimed they had a blockchain or planned to have one by next year. The leaders on this question were Mexico and Germany, with both countries having 93 percent of respondents claiming to have one by next year. (Though arguably the real leader is China, with the most already-launched blockchain projects.) The second to last on this question was Canada with 84 percent.
The US comes in dead last, with the fewest existing blockchain projects, and fewest in the works for next year (14 percent and 24 percent, respectively). The US is also far behind other countries in hiring staff with blockchain experience. Only 24 percent of US companies claimed to be currently doing so. Compare that to the second lowest, Germany, at 40 percent, and the highest, China, at 86 percent.
All Companies Are Above Average
In every sector, a majority of executives polled claimed to be leaders in blockchain adoption. Oil and gas industry executives were particularly proud, with 78 percent of claiming their company was either "the leader" or "one of the leaders" in blockchain adoption in their industry. The lowest combined number on this metric was the public sector, with only 57 percent of those polled considering themselves leaders.
Overwhelming majorities of executives from both the automotive and the oil and gas industries claimed to have "excellent- to expert-level knowledge of blockchain technology." Majorities from both those industries agreed with the (incorrect) statement: "At the end of the day, blockchain is a database for money. It doesn't make sense to use it for applications outside of financial services or facilitating financial transactions."