Blockchain solutions are rapidly evolving beyond cryptocurrencies.

Key Points

  • Enterprise blockchain solutions are rapidly evolving beyond cryptocurrencies owing to their potential to improve the efficiency of business processes across virtually all economic industries.
  • Persistent supply-chain issues have been a catalyst for enterprises to explore blockchain solutions to reduce risk.
  • While adoption is slower in some industries, we believe that blockchain is a durable theme that is gaining investor attention.

The Challenge for Equity Investors

Blockchain is a distributed digital-ledger system, or more simply a database that is shared by consent and synchronized across multiple locations, organizations, enterprises, or geographies, and accessible by multiple individuals. The earliest and best-known use cases of the technology are cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. In the current environment, cryptocurrencies dominate the blockchain narrative given recent price volatility and evolving regulation, overshadowing the larger opportunity for enterprise applications of blockchain technology. Enterprise blockchain solutions are rapidly evolving beyond crypto given their potential to improve the efficiency of business processes across virtually all economic industries. To put it in perspective, the disruptive impact of widespread blockchain adoption could prove to be as transformative an innovation as the development of the internet itself.

Increasingly, enterprises are exploring or adopting blockchain solutions to improve the speed, cost, scale, and transparency of their business operations. Any centralized business function that involves multiple independent parties that are reluctant or unable to share information can benefit from the transparency, efficiency, security, and asymmetric sharing of data embedded in blockchain-based solutions. For example, the persistent supply-chain issues affecting the economy have been a catalyst for enterprises to explore blockchain solutions to address this risk. Global supply-chain networks are well-suited to a decentralized, blockchain-enabled approach given their logistical complexity and the need to coordinate multiple participants in these ecosystems. In addition to these benefits, the recording and documentation of supply-chain activities has the potential to enhance sustainable initiatives by providing transparency and measurability of energy usage and carbon intensity for all participants.  

Consumer Discretionary Is Leading Blockchain Adoption

Surprisingly, companies in the consumer discretionary sector have been early adopters of blockchain-based solutions. Over the last two decades, the business models of consumer-facing companies were radically transformed by the internet as the delivery of goods and services migrated from physical locations to omni-channel fulfilment and distribution. The lessons learned from this experience have motivated management teams to proactively embrace blockchain technology to avoid the mistakes they made in the past. For example, the ability to immutably record the provenance, ownership, and authenticity of consumer goods on a blockchain network protects consumer brands while providing tangible value to the end consumer. Additionally, there is greater awareness and usage of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the consumer and media sectors as companies seek to monetize the value of content in a virtual setting. Until now, NFT content and volume have largely been driven by the private sector, but there are increasing examples of mainstream adoption as public companies partner with NFT platforms or develop their own NFT offerings to generate new revenue streams.

There is a long tail of enterprise adoption beyond industrial and consumer uses. The significant inefficiencies in the structure and delivery of health-care services are an obvious area where blockchain-based solutions can improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. The fintech revolution digitized the consumption of financial products but significant friction persists in delivering financial services in areas like insurance, payments, remittance, and consumer finance, especially for under-banked populations. We believe innovation in blockchain technology is a robust, long-duration theme that is just beginning to garner attention among investors, but awareness of the theme’s disruptive potential should rapidly increase as enterprises accelerate their adoption over the next decade.

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