List of The Largest Companies Using Blockchain
Blockchain may be best known for its role in producing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but its reach extends much further. Blockchain has already proven itself a disruptive technology in many industries, including banking, media, and power companies. At its core, blockchain can be understood as a shared ledger to record transactions in a secure and verifiable way. It is projected that by 2027, 10% of global GDP will be spent on the development of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT).
In this blog post, we compiled a list of top companies using blockchain and digital currency. It should be noted that the list is far from exhaustive. Today it is difficult to estimate how many companies are using blockchain because of the widespread adoption of DLT, which conceals certain information via cryptography.
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
- Burger King Russia
- Bank of America
- Wells Fargo & Company
- Huawei Technologies
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
ICBC is ranked first on Forbes Global 2000 list of the top major public companies and has an annual turnover of $175.9B. The company’s employee headcount is 449,296, and they provide services to 7 million corporate clients and 607 million individual customers. By all measures, this company has a significant impact on the worldwide economy. Now, it is one of many companies using blockchain accounting, and by far the biggest.
In September 2018, ICBC filed a patent application for blockchain technology that improved customer experience with the bank at the same time as increasing the efficiency of transactions within the bank’s network. In their blockchain-based system, a certificate issuer digitally matches each certificate with the user’s credentials, encrypts the data and moves it onto a blockchain. As a result, this technology has spared customers from the necessity of filing the same documents multiple times to each of the entities they are dealing with.
Burger King Russia
Burger King Russia, one of the subsidiaries that oversees franchise operations and adapts the brand for the local market, is by no means a small operation. Burger King Russia has been accepting payments in Bitcoin for over a year. This year, the company introduced a new blockchain reward system and announced an initial public offering (IPO) on the Moscow Exchange. Based on the current business operations of Burger King Russia and the growth rate of the fast-food segment, analysts estimated the business value at USD 500 billion to USD 550.
In 2017, the company introduced Bitcoin payments for its customers. This was a huge step towards mainstream brands adopting crypto in Russia, a country whose position on digital cryptocurrencies has been ambivalent. Later that year, Burger King Russia launched the blockchain loyalty program. This initiative was set to reward repeat customers: for each ruble they spend, they will be given corporate tokens, WhopperCoin. Every 1,700 WhopperCoins accumulated on the bonus account can be redeemed for a free burger.
Microsoft continues to remain the global leader for operating systems and office suite software and has a diverse portfolio of information technology assets with high growth potential. As of today, the corporation accepts Bitcoin payments and implements blockchain-based in-house solutions, and they don’t stop there. They also let other businesses harness blockchain technologies and frameworks.
In 2018, Microsoft has launched Azure Blockchain, the cloud computing service that allows developers to deploy their own Blockchain ledger infrastructure or join the existing general-purpose chains such as Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric. It also supports purpose-built ledgers like Corda.
Microsoft has also created connections to and integrations with other Azure services, making it easier to work with blockchain and facilitating the global adoption of these technologies.
Amazon is a prominent tech operation on the list of big companies using blockchain. The market capitalization of Amazon currently amounts to $916.1B, and it was ranked first on the Forbes list Top 100 Digital Companies 2018. Similar to Microsoft, Amazon is one of the blockchain technology companies that facilitates blockchain adoption by providing fully-managed distributed ledger databases for development teams.
Amazon Managed Blockchain supports Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum. These are the most popular frameworks that enable developers to create their own blockchain databases with AWS templates. These managed services can scale to support millions of transactions running on thousands of small and medium companies that use blockchain frameworks. AWS templates provided by Amazon are basically blockchain-as-a-service, granting fast deployment of distributed ledger infrastructure, additional management tools and the flexibility to scale services as needed.
Bank of America
Bank of America is another financial institution on our list of public companies using blockchain. It’s the second-largest bank in the US, with a market capitalization of $287.3B and an employee headcount more than 200,000.
Bank of America champions the blockchain patent race. Currently, the number of patents registered with Bank of America exceeds 50. They are mostly concerned with multiple digital signatures, data storage and external validation. Bank of America is also behind the patent outlining a cryptocurrency exchange system for financial institutions. This could potentially pave the way for banks to go into this market and adopt crypto as a currency.
Despite their patent leadership, they started the actual implementation of blockchain solutions only recently. Today, the company already uses ethereum-based smart contract solutions to increase the transparency and efficiency of operations.
As the second most valuable global brand this year with a market cap of more than $810B, Google is a company that does not require a long introduction. Products developed by this tech conglomerate include Google search engine, YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, and Android operating system for mobile devices. Soon, some of those applications may be running on the blockchain.
This year, the company has expressed a clear interest in distributed ledger technology by investing in a number of blockchain projects. These initiatives are mainly focused on using digital ledgers to record transactions and store data more securely and efficiently.
Google’s blockchain-based solutions would guarantee that user data is protected across the existing network of services and databases. The system would provide information about all operations made and the reason behind it. Google also has another initiative that depends on distributed ledgers to verify transactions and audit information. The patent registered in March 2019 describes the tamper-proof log for signatures built on a blockchain platform.
So far, Google plans to create two blockchains: the first one is for signatures and authenticity audit of the log information, while the second one will be used to store the data already verified by digital signature.
Wells Fargo & Company
Wells Fargo is a bank holding company engaged in a number of financial spheres including banking, insurance, investments, and mortgage. In 2015, Wells Fargo was the world’s largest bank, exceeding even China’s ICBC for market capitalization. Although the strength of the financial giant has diminished over the last five years, Wells Fargo is still big. In 2018, Forbes ranked Wells Fargo seventh on the list of America’s largest public companies. A new blockchain initiative could be the bank’s way to get back on top.
The main reason for this fall from the top position is a series of scandals and controversies surrounding the bank. In 2016, it was discovered that employees of the bank had repeatedly committed fraud by using fake customer accounts. These employees had created bogus accounts to boost sales figures in order to reach planned KPIs and receive bonuses. As a result, the corporation was slapped with a fine of more than $185M, not to mention the loss of reputation and client trust.
This scandal brought into question the bank’s risk management practices. Pushed to regain public trust, Wells Fargo is adopting blockchain as a more secure and transparent data management solution. The major focus of their blockchain initiative has been set on digital identity management able to prevent fraud in the future and to facilitate cross-border payments. The pilot project was successfully launched back in 2016. Unfortunately, scaling the technology has proven to be more difficult and time-consuming.
Mastercard is the dominant force in the global payments market with a market capitalization of $247.1B and almost 15 thousand employees. Mastercard, in addition to issuing credit cards, provides technology that enables transactions between card owners, merchants, and banks.
In recent years, Mastercard has been heavily investing in DLT technologies in order to meet the requirements of modern users, retain its capabilities as a cost-efficient payment solution and compete with digital payment services like PayPal. Last year, the company was ranked third for the number of blockchain patents filed. Mastercard is a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, an organization focused on driving the number of companies using ethereum blockchain by furthering its development. Among its members are tech startups, academics, and industry experts.
The major focus of Mastercard blockchain innovations is on cross border payments, preventing false identity usage, and anti-fraud measures. They are accomplishing this by implementing a DLT solution that works as an immutable ledger that cannot be manipulated or tampered with. The system encodes the card, encrypts the data with public and private keys and moves this information onto the blockchain.
Importantly, it is a permission blockchain, which means that transaction details can only be seen by those who are participating in that transaction.
This DLT solution will soon be ready for use for clearing card payment transactions and improving overall settlement and security of operations. By using the blockchain-based card to process payments, a cardholder does not have to disclose the credit card information (the card number, CVV, etc.) to merchants. Instead, the only information needed is the encryption key. As a result, payment information skimming can be successfully prevented at the point of sale.
Toyota is one of the world’s most recognizable automobile brands, which is known to be affordable and reliable. In 2019, Toyota was ranked 9th on the Forbes list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands. With a market capitalization of $176.6B and employee headcount of more than 300 thousand, the company was ranked 10th on the Fortune Global 500 list. Toyota’s production volumes are about 9M per year, which is only slightly less than VW’s output. In addition to cars, Toyota has partial ownership of Tesla Motors, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, and other assets.
Toyota rapidly and consistently implements cutting-edge innovations in its business operations. Through the combined efforts of the Toyota Research Institute and MIT Research Lab Oaken Innovations, which is partnered with Toyota, the corporation has explored how distributed ledger technology can be applied to the car manufacturing industry.
Toyota’s main focus is on autonomous mobility, the safety of individual vehicles and the experience of the end consumers. Currently, the company is exploring the possibility of pooling data from cars and secure sharing of information about individual trips made by autonomous vehicles.
The second aspect of their blockchain innovations is directed to create a cost-effective and efficient car-sharing platform. This platform will allow car owners to rent out vehicles that are sitting unused in the driveway on a temporary basis through this platform. The third application of blockchain technology will allow users to pay road tolls directly from software built into the car. In the long run, blockchain will also enable usage-based insurance products for customers.
These new innovations build on Toyota’s tradition of pushing the adoption of new tech. Last year, they partnered with blockchain advertising analytics firm Lucidity, one of the media analytics companies using blockchain, and implemented an ethereum-based solution to track digital advertising payments.
Huawei is a strong mobile technology brand, the value of which is estimated at $8B by Forbes. Currently, Huawei products are sold in over 170 countries, and the company reported $108.9B in sales for the last financial year. The company employs about 180,000 individuals and had been ranked 61st on the Fortune Global 500 list. Even though these figures might be deemed moderate compared to some of the behemoth companies that use blockchain, these results are still impressive.
Huawei Technologies is a company that takes its innovation efforts very seriously: the company has 16 R&D centers, 28 joint innovation centers and employs more than 70 thousand R&D engineers across the world. Last year, the company launched its first blockchain-based cloud storage service, Huawei Cloud. The service allows individual developers and enterprises to deploy their own blockchains using the Hyperledger Fabric framework.
Similar to Microsoft and Amazon, Huawei is one of the blockchain technology companies that provides blockchain-as-a-service. Their platform can be used in a variety of use cases, such as the Internet of Things apps, identity authentication, and telemedicine apps.
Huawei’s blockchain innovations do not stop there. Last year the company announced its aim to develop a blockchain-based smartphone. The operating system, Sirin OS, is specifically designed to improve the security and connectivity of the device. As a result, the new smartphone will be enabled with integrated cold storage for crypto, encrypted communication, P2P sharing and improved efficiency of computations.
Blockchain ledgers are decentralized and unchangeable, two qualities that are appealing for technology companies. In today’s blog post, we have looked into the question of what companies are using blockchain and how they do it to increase the efficiency of operations, improve security or reduce costs. Essentially, companies using blockchain technology are transforming the ways data (and eventually, the value) is being transferred and shared between parties.
From the standpoint of crypto users, it is a positive sign that more and more businesses are turning to blockchain and smart contracts. From here, launching company tokens or adopting cryptocurrencies in their operations is a logical next step. Once global brands have laid the foundation for blockchain technology and sold the public on its benefits in efficiency, we can expect that the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies is just around the corner.