Donald Thibeau

Product Manager, Hedera Hashgraph

Much is made out of new technologies that are touted as disruptive. Uber disrupted transportation, Airbnb disrupted hotels, and SpaceX disrupted, well…space. What ties each of these companies together, besides a multi-billion-dollar valuation, is a willingness to re-evaluate how a traditional industry functions without regard for established intermediaries.

Over the past two years, technologists have pointed to finance as the next area of disruption and the disruptor: blockchain. Blockchain, first popularized in its use by bitcoin, allows organizations to write business transactions to an immutable ledger that is shared across a network. In our first study ‘Fast forward: Rethinking enterprises, ecosystems and economies with blockchains’, the Institute for Business Value at IBM examined how the attributes of blockchain could reduce frictions across interaction, information, and innovation for business networks. These reductions would result in monumental business model changes leading to a new science of organizations, a tightening of trust, and a new nexus for value exchange.

Now, IBM and the IBV have taken a closer look at the impact of blockchain on banking and financial markets by conducting interviews and surveys with over 400 executives with expertise in blockchain across the business technology continuum. Our survey cut through the hype to determine how organizations are preparing themselves for the blockchain revolution.

Through our analysis we made a key discovery: there is a small, yet significant, group of Trailblazers that are moving forward with developing and deploying commercial blockchain solutions at scale within a year.

The Trailblazers cover a range of organization sizes, area of expertise, and geographies, yet recognize a unique set of benefits and attributes they hope to achieve through their blockchain solutions. They believe blockchain will allow them to break through barriers to create new business models and reach new markets.

Trailblazers see a significant wall of disruption heading their way as they expect 5 out of 9 core business areas in banking to experience significant disruption. They are defending against disruption by investing in each of these areas by the end of 2018.

In our study, we developed a set of recommendations for banking organizations to follow in order to succeed in the blockchain world. It is imperative for organizations to recognize that the blockchain revolution is not years away, it has already begun.