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PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) — the major UK-based accounting and multinational professional networks company — recently released a revealing blockchain study on the heels of fellow “Big Four” accounting firm Deloitte’s blockchain survey.

Titled “Blockchain is here. What’s your next move,” the study examined more than 600 technology executives across 15 countries and their stance on the recent development of blockchain technology. Notably, 31 percent of the companies participating in the study accrue more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

Major Findings

The overall result is positive, which is similar to the Deloitte study but also differs in some key areas. One of the major takeaways is that 84 percent of executives said that they “have at least some involvement with blockchain technology,” with 77 percent indicating that they have a blockchain project underway either in research, development, pilot stage or live. This differs from Deloitte’s previous report of 74 percent of respondents seeing a compelling use case for blockchain tech and only 34 percent initiating deployment in some fashion.

Both regulatory uncertainty and lack of trust in the ecosystem were the key drivers limiting adoption. Of the total respondents, 27 percent cited regulatory uncertainty as the primary barrier to blockchain adoption while 25 percent cited lack of trust among users. The ability for a network to come together came in at third in the primary barrier to adoption at 21 percent.

Some more notable results from the study include:

  • 46% of respondents identified the financial services sector as the primary near-term industry for the technology’s application.
  • The US leads the way with 29% of respondents believing it to be the country leading in blockchain development.
  • China is ranked second in leading blockchain development with 18% of respondents pointing to it as the current leader.
  • For the projections of blockchain leaders in 2021-2023, respondents favored China over the US with 30% citing that China will be the leader by then, compared to 18% for the US.

PwC’s study focuses on fewer executives than Deloitte’s — 600 compared to more than 1,000 — but covers more territories — 15 compared to 7 — which is important to take into account.

Analyzing the Trends

PwC’s study focuses primarily on technology executives compared to more varied industries measured by Deloitte. However, the general tone seems to be similar in that there is clearly excitement surrounding the adoption of the technology and its further incorporation into other industries. Their conclusion is still tempered by the fact that many executives cite regulatory and trust issues as significant hurdles needed to be overcome to foster more widespread adoption of the technology.

Integration with blockchain technology is still early too, according to PwC. Despite 84 percent of executives having some involvement with the technology, only 15 percent of those involve live products, and 32 percent are in development.

The remarks from the respondents regarding China’s future leadership in the field is also intriguing considering the polarizing existence of cryptocurrency platforms and regulations surrounding their uses in the country recently. With China’s burgeoning economy, it seems that many executives see China taking a more relaxed approach to blockchain tech’s regulation over the coming years despite the recent signs.

PwC’s 2018 Global Blockchain Report offers some excellent additional insights into the growing sentiment surrounding the technology and its implementation. Following Deloitte’s recent 2018 Global Blockchain Report, the general trend seems concretely positive with some lingering concerns around regulation and trust.

Moving forward, these trends will be fascinating to watch as companies move from research and development phases of integration to more full-scale business product implementations.

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