Forbes has published its latest Blockchain 50 list; a
half-century of the largest companies with significant blockchain technology
initiatives, in a year the publisher has described as one where enterprises
have ‘embraced’ the technology.
The list, for which qualification sits upon on either generating
revenues or having a valuation in seven figures, can be seen as something of an
important milestone. Forbes’
Cloud 100 for instance, a yearly evaluation of the most successful
privately held cloud computing companies, is often seen as a yardstick for who
may be acquired and who to watch for.
While the companies in the blockchain equivalent are
somewhat beyond that stage, the list makes for interesting reading in terms of
the ‘who’s who’. The usual suspects are there: the major financial firms, in
the shape of Citigroup, HSBC, Nasdaq et al. The biggest tech firms are also
there, be they IBM, Microsoft, or Google.
Leading brands feature. Royal Dutch Shell, a founding member
of blockchain platform Vakt, which processes post-trade transactions of Brent
crude oil, makes the list, as does General Electric, through its $30 billion-rated
aviation subsidiary, and the United Nations. The latter is a new entry, running
projects on Bitcoin and Ethereum, noted for its project to disburse funds to
Syrian refugees in Jordan through blockchain-verified iris scans to counter
stolen ID cards.
Alongside this, there are a smattering of blockchain
startups in the list; Bitfury, Coinbase and Ripple all make the cut. The report
notes that these cryptocurrency-native firms have already met the acceptance
criteria and ‘are on their way to becoming the blue chips of the digital age.’
One of the interesting focus points is in terms of the
different blockchain providers used by the 50. More than half (27) of the
companies analysed use multiple blockchain providers, with 26 using a Hyperledger
solution in some capacity, with 22 using an Ethereum offering, including Quorum.
Aside from the big tech vendors, Ant and Mastercard, along with VMware, were
the only companies who had built their own proprietary platform.
“This year’s members have largely moved beyond the
theoretical benefits of blockchain, to generating very real revenues and cost
savings,” the report notes.