The state of blockchain: 11 stats

How many CIOs are actively adopting or experimenting with blockchain? Dig into telling data from multiple sources
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Whether you’re a blockchain bull, bear, or somewhere in between, there are numbers out there to back up your point of view.

On the bullish side, analysts expect enormous, multi-billion-dollar growth of the global blockchain technology market. If you’re a bear, though, you can point to more than one report indicating that outside of the financial industry (and increasingly, the manufacturing and supply chain sectors), corporate blockchain interest is tepid.

[ How is blockchain helping in industries like real estate and healthcare? Read our related article, Blockchain in action: 5 interesting examples. ]

For all of the buzz around blockchain – much of it driven by public fascination with cryptocurrencies rather than the underlying technology itself – it is still very much in its infancy.

There are also data points that even though organizations aren’t stampeding to get blockchain applications into production, they are starting to more seriously investigate how the technology could fit particular business needs or solve problems. As one indicator, there is growing membership in collaborations such as Hyperledger, an open source blockchain project, as well as various consortiums working on issues such as standards.

We dig into all of these kinds of numbers and more below, with 11 (and then some) stats that paint the state of blockchain, with a particular focus on business and IT. The stats on how many CIOs are using or experimenting with blockchain may surprise you:

$1.5 billion: The amount that research firm IDC expects to be spent on blockchain technology in 2018 worldwide.

$552 million: The portion of overall spending that will be doled out by the financial sector, a reminder that banking and financial services remain the clear-cut catalyst for current market projections. According to IDC, the distribution and services sector ($379 million) and manufacturing and resources sector ($334 million) will round out the lion’s share of 2018 blockchain spending. Both speak to the growing interest in and implementation of manufacturing and supply chain use cases for blockchain.

[ Learn how blockchain and the auto industry will fit together. ]

$11.7 billion: The amount IDC expects will be spent worldwide on blockchain technology in 2022, a projected compound annual growth rate of 73.2%.

1 percent: The percentage of CIOs in a recent Gartner survey who indicated that any kind of blockchain adoption had occurred in their organizations.

9 of 10 CIOs included in Gartner’s survey had zero blockchain plans on their near-term radar.

8 percent: The percentage of CIOs in that same survey who reported they were actively experimenting or in a short-term planning phase with blockchain. If you’re keeping score, that means roughly 9 of the 10 CIOs included in Gartner’s survey had zero blockchain plans on their near-term radar.

77 percent: The percentage of CIOs, again in the Gartner survey, who said “their organization has no interest in the technology and/or no action planned to investigate or develop it.” In a press release, VP and Gartner Fellow David Furlong noted these numbers threw some cold water on the outsized hype around blockchain interest and adoption. He also had this to say: “It is critical to understand what blockchain is and what it is capable of today, compared to how it will transform companies, industries, and society tomorrow.”

Kevin Casey writes about technology and business for a variety of publications. He won an Azbee Award, given by the American Society of Business Publication Editors, for his story, "Are You Too Old For IT?" He's a former community choice honoree in the Small Business Influencer Awards.

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