Briefing: Blockchain

May 18, 2017

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The technology underlying bitcoin promises to secure and simplify transactions and networks in every industry.

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In 2016, nearly every major financial institution was actively researching, coding proofs of concept, and looking for talent in the blockchain space. PwC’s DeNovo strategy platform tracks more than 150 blockchain-specific companies across 24 industry subsectors. Those numbers are one indication that this technology—a decentralized ledger of transactions across a peer-to-peer network that underlies bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies—has a lot of potential and a wide range of uses.

While financial services companies are showing the most avid interest in blockchain for its ability to reduce risk, fraud, and costs for transactions and recordkeeping, companies in a variety of other industries see its promise, too, including retail, manufacturing, telecommunications, media and entertainment, healthcare, and many more. As a collaborative technology, blockchain offers the ability to dramatically improve the business processes that occur between—and within—companies. The immutability of data stored in blockchains provides a level of trust and transparency few technologies can attempt to match.

Compared with the other seven emerging technologies PwC asked participants about it in our 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey: Emerging technology insights, fewer companies are currently investing in blockchain—a mere 3 percent. In three years that will go up to 11 percent. But we expect that as investments in the other seven grow, so will investments in blockchain.

Companies in the financial sector have led the way in blockchain investments: capital markets, asset management firms, and commercial banks. What value do blockchain investors expect? Again, relevant numbers are too small to make definitive assumptions about value, but blockchain is expected to reduce risk, fraud, and costs for transactions and recordkeeping.

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Featured blockchain content

In this curated briefing, we show you how the technology works, look at compelling use cases beyond financial services, and examine some of the issues holding the technology back from widespread adoption. Bookmark this page, and check back frequently for more insights.

Contacts

Chris Curran

Principal and Chief Technologist, PwC US Tel: +1 (214) 754 5055 Email

Vicki Huff Eckert

Global New Business & Innovation Leader Tel: +1 (650) 387 4956 Email

Mark McCaffrey

US Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Leader Tel: +1 (408) 817 4199 Email