IBM, Microsoft, Facebook and Accenture All Have Investments into Blockchain’s Potential
Blockchain has been showing a great deal of potential lately and both large and small companies are catching on. As the adage goes – if you can’t beat, them joint them. And, that is exactly what many are doing. The global market for the technology’s related services and products has reached an estimated $700 million and Wintergreen Research expects that it will exceed $60 billion by 2024.
A few companies that are taking advantage of the technology include IBM, Microsoft, Facebook, Accenture, and Google. They are harnessing the technology’s open-source and digital-ledger qualities, both of which are recognized as accessible and adoptable by anyone. With blockchain technology on board, global transactions can be conducted at record speed, can connections, communications, payment processing, and more seems to be so much easier. Better yet, there are either minimal or no fees associated with such services.
Proponents of the technology call the companies that are moving forward with the technology “centralized authorities.” This is an odd term, especially because one of the main goals of blockchain technology is to decentralize commerce and transactions, which are facilitated by peer-to-peer systems. Many consider large companies’ participation as a method for them to maintain dominance. Two leading companies are IBM and Microsoft, which have started to offer blockchain-related tools.
Another large-scale company that is getting in on the action is Amazon. It is currently working to develop blockchain applications so that it can bypass its competitors. It is also offering functionality concerning blockchain technology, going head to head with companies such as IBM and Oracle for a share of the market.
Further, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg assigned several higher-up executives to a blockchain development team. The company is currently examining decryption and cryptocurrency, which is interesting because these are beyond the social media’s scope of offering social networking services. One major concern for Facebook though is data privacy – the platform has faced legal and reputational scrutiny due to the recent data breaches.
Google is also participating – although, not as actively. It is working to maintain control over web searches and to do so, it has developed a small team for blockchain technology. Smaller firms are trying to capitalize on Google’s inaction by using digital-ad purchases.
As more large companies start participating in blockchain technology and its development, investment may increase as well. Larger companies are trying to prevent smaller companies from competing in the space by acquiring patents. For example, Facebook, IBM, Ford, and Walmart have already spent billions of dollars on patents on the technology.
Another issue in the industry is differentiating between public blockchain from private. Private seems to be a more lucrative area and it may have more potential as well, making it a much more competitive arena.
Additionally, another major development in the space is that Intercontinental Exchange has partnered with Starbucks, Boston Consulting Group, and Microsoft to launch the Bakkt. This cryptocurrency exchange is scheduled to start in November. Overall, it will be interesting to see how the industry continues to develop and how both large and small companies compete.