Forbes Identifies 50 Large Companies Actively Exploring Blockchain Technology
In an article written by Michael del Castillo of Forbes, he outlines the findings of company reporters, editors, and consultants in order to produce “Forbes Blockchain 50.” The list features companies “with minimum revenues or valuations of $1 billion and U.S. operations” that are “currently leading the way in adapting decentralized ledgers to their operating needs.”
One of the major examples of blockchain adoption involves the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp (DTCC) which keeps the books on “90 million transactions a day, representing most of the world’s $48 trillion in securities.” In a few months, the article states, DTCC will begin the “largest live implementation of blockchain” as it begins to keep records for about 50,000 accounts on the AxCore digital ledger.
The article notes, however: “Ironically, the version of a blockchain future these companies are building is, for the most part, far different from what the founders and early adopters of blockchain had envisioned. While many cryptocurrency idealists fantasize about a global, public network of individuals connected directly and democratically, without middlemen, these companies—many of which are middlemen themselves like DTCC—are building private networks they will use to profit from centralized management.”
This means the blockchain, for example, of DTCC is not like that of the blockchain for bitcoin. Anyone in the world can create a bitcoin wallet, access the public ledger, and transact directly with other accounts in the network. Private blockchains do not possess this ability, by design, as they are only accessible to those who have permission. While this leaves private blockchain more vulnerable to attack than a public ledger, it does increase enterprise-specific scalability as they are able to leverage themselves as middlemen in their clearing process. Essentially they are still relying on centralized means — themselves — by utilizing distributed ledger technology.
So what does this mean for the advancement of blockchain? While these large companies are adopting digitals ledgers to make their centralized processes more efficient, they remain vulnerable to the same risks of centralization. At the same time, however, they bring capital and credence to the space with the massive amount of research and development taking place. Ultimately, this could either be a last-ditch effort to remain relevant, or, we may find that private and public blockchains will each serve a unique purpose. Only time, rather than speculation, can truly say.
Another notable name from the list was Walmart, who themselves have filed for over 50 blockchain patents. The company can currently “track 25 products, including strawberries, yogurt and chicken, from five suppliers (and counting).” Also having filed for 50 blockchain patents, Visa this year is launching B2B Connect, “which uses blockchain to help banks around the world process cross-border, business-to-business payments.”