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Deloitte, the UK-based accounting, and professional services network giant, recently released their 2018 global blockchain survey report that contains some interesting insights into the technology’s current momentum in various industries.

The report focuses on survey responses from more than 1,000 executives located in industries around the globe and their overall sentiment and planned integration with blockchain technology.

The Report

The survey includes executives from 7 countries and 9 major industries. Ranging from financial services to healthcare, the overall report is favorable with momentum in legacy institutions and enterprises focusing on implementing practical applications of the technology after an initial exploratory phase over the last few years.

While there are some clear obstacles surrounding misconceptions of the technology and the context of the survey itself that need to be taken into account, the report sheds light on the technology’s current reception that is not widely available anywhere else currently.

The survey contains respondents from North America, Europe, and China and focuses primarily on traditional enterprise rather than what they refer to “emerging disruptors,” classified as digital startups with a blockchain emphasis. Some interesting statistics from the survey are below:

  • Overall, 74% of global respondents see a compelling use case for blockchain technology.
  • Out of the above 74%, only 34% say their organization has initiated deployment in some way.
  • Nearly 40% of respondents say they will invest more than $5 million in blockchain over the coming year.
  • Almost 39% of the respondents say they think that blockchain is “overhyped.”
  • 52% of respondents said the most appealing blockchain model for practical applications is permissioned systems.
  • 32% of respondents said the significant advantage of blockchain over current systems is “speed.”

Overall, blockchain sentiment from the respondents is more positive in the United States comparatively, with 61% of respondents in France and the UK believing that blockchain is just a “database for money,” compared to only 18% in the United States. Deloitte derives some interesting conclusions from the results, including both the current perception versus future applications of the technology and traditional legacy enterprises versus emerging disruptors.

Analyzing the Trends

The report explicitly identifies a key limitation to its survey in that the respondents are from traditional enterprise organizations that have established business models predicated on legacy paradigms. The emerging disruptors are startups in their respective industries that are digitally-based and place a heavy emphasis on integrating blockchain technology or building their platform with the technology. These organizations are not included in the study.

The end result of the limitation is that while the report does provide useful information on traditional business sentiment and the stage of implementing blockchain for practical applications, it does not take into account the vast innovation penetrating various industries from emerging companies.

Another significant trend is the consensus from traditional enterprises that integrating blockchain into their existing business models is difficult and costly. Out of the 41% of respondents that said they expect to incorporate blockchain technology over the next year, 21% globally and 30% in the US say they lack a compelling use case to justify putting the technology into production.

This represents a relatively well-known and established hurdle facing more widespread adoption of blockchain technology today. The understanding of the technology and its future practical applications are still not fully realized by the mainstream, particularly regarding traditional enterprises in this case. Survey results such as 32% of respondents saying that speed is the significant advantage of blockchain demonstrate this obstacle well.

Looking ahead, the report suggests that this hurdle will eventually be overcome as the technology continues to develop. The technology is poised to disrupt a variety of industries, so while legacy organizations are struggling to find a practical fit for the technology now, that could change soon, especially with strong competition emerging from startups with a blockchain focus.

Deloitte’s 2018 blockchain report offers some really beneficial insights into the current market momentum of the technology and its transgression from the exploratory phase to the practical application phase. That step is a positive sign and shows promise for the future implementation of the technology and its more widespread adoption.

Measuring the development and sentiment surrounding an emerging technology is exceedingly difficult and can never really provide comprehensive insights. That being said, Deloitte’s report sheds light on blockchain technology that is not widely available anywhere else and concludes that future connections between blockchain and other emerging technologies over the coming years seem likely.

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