Edited by Michael del Castillo and Matt Schifrin
Reported by: Lauren Debter, Millie Dent, Michael del Castillo, Sarah Hansen, Jeff Kauflin, Chloe Sorvino, Hank Tucker.
Blockchain started as a way to move bitcoin from point A to point B but it is now being used by a host of big companies to monitor and move any number of assets around the world as easily as sending an email. Our second annual Blockchain 50 represents enterprises embracing the technology underlying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and using it to speed up business processes, increase transparency and potentially save billions of dollars. To qualify, Blockchain 50 members must be generating no less than $1 billion in revenue annually or be valued at $1 billion or more.
From the instantaneous settlement of German government bonds to verifying the provenance of diamonds mined in Africa and bringing liquidity to a small supplier of sliding shower doors in Zhongshan China, this year’s members have largely moved beyond the theoretical benefits of blockchain, to generating very real revenues and cost savings. While many companies on our new list are household names like Vanguard, Square and Microsoft, a few cryptocurrency native startups like Bitfury have already met our criteria, and are on their way to becoming blue chips of the digital age.
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As an extension of Amazon Web Services, the e-commerce behemoth offers blockchain tools for companies that don’t want to build their own. In Australia, Nestle used Amazon’s blockchain product to help launch a new coffee brand, “Chain of Origin,” where consumers can look inside the coffee’s supply chain: They can scan a QR code to see which small farm the beans were planted at and where they were roasted. Other Amazon blockchain clients include Sony Music Japan, BMW, Accenture and South Korean craft brewery Jinju Beer.
Blockchain: Hyperledger Fabric
Key Executive: Rahul Pathak, general manager for databases, analytics, and blockchain at AWS
Its finance platform called Duo-Chain has facilitated $1.5 billion in quick loans to cash constrained suppliers like Sichuan’s GuanYong Computer. Ant uses its own proprietary blockchain to verify the receivables and make payments.
Blockchain: Ant Blockchain Technology, Hyperledger Fabric and Enterprise Ethereum (Quorum)
Key Executive: Geoff Jiang, vice president of Ant Financial
At the end of 2019 the health insurance company started rolling out a blockchain powered feature that allows patients to securely access and share their medical data. In the next two to three years, all 40 million members will gain access to it.
Blockchain: Hyperledger Fabric
Key Executives: Mariya Filipova, VP Innovation, Plamen Petrov, VP Exponential Technologies, Rajeev Ronanki, Chief Digital Officer
Besides brokering a $255 million policy protecting Coinbase against losses from hacking, Aon is building a blockchain platform to speed up insurance operations. Creating a new reinsurance contract—where insurers buy their own insurance to hedge their risk—is clunky, with insurers using different systems to send and receive quotes. Aon is building a shared platform where big re-insurers can work off of the same system. So far Everest Re and RenaissanceRe have signed on to test and help design the project.
Blockchain: R3 Corda
Key Executive: Robert Olson, chief information officer of Aon Reinsurance Solutions
China’s search giant has numerous blockchain ventures, including a canine version of Cryptokitties, which allows millions of Chinese to adopt and trade cute digital puppies, each distinct, that “live” on the blockchain. Another service offers student loans, but funds are disbursed only after the technology is used to verify grades. Baidu uses a popular open-source blockchain originally developed by IBM.
Blockchain: Hyperledger Fabric
Key Executive: Li Feng, head of blockchain
The mining — cryptocurrency, not minerals — equipment maker has also customized the bitcoin blockchain so that clients can build their own apps. Graduates of Dubai’s Synergy University, for example, can use a Bitfury’s Exonum blockchain to verify their credentials for potential employers.
Blockchain: Bitcoin, Exonum
Key Executive: Chris Dickson, head of blockchain solutions
The luxury automaker currently has a pilot program with suppliers with plants in Europe, Mexico, and the US and is using blockchain to track materials, components, and parts across its supply chain. BMW is also a member of the Mobile Open Mobility Initiative (MOBI), which is made up of a consortium of auto manufacturers including Honda and Ford. In July 2019, Mobi launched the auto industry’s first blockchain vehicle identity standard, which gives new cars a digital identity. The technology could eventually track events throughout a car’s life and be used to connect vehicles to share information, track speed, location, direction of travel, braking and even driver intention (like changing lanes).
Blockchain: Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum, Quorum, Corda and Tezos
Key Executive: Andre Luckow, head of distributed ledger and emerging technologies
New York, NY
Last summer, ADP spinoff Broadridge acquired blockchain software built by financial services firm Northern Trust designed to help manage the entire life cycle of private equity investments. The tool automates the manual middle office functions of PE transactions, like managing legal agreements, and streamlines the process of gathering data and communicating with investors. It’s currently available for funds based in Guernsey and Delaware. In the second half of 2020, Broadridge has plans to go live executing bilateral repurchase agreements (repos) on the blockchain.
Blockchain: Hyperledger Fabric, Quorum, Corda, DAML (Digital Asset Modeling Language)
Key Executive: Mike Tae, Head of Broadridge’s Corporate Strategy
America’s largest private company launched its own privacy-focused platform called Splinter in 2019, which enables members of its vast supply chain to use distributed applications to communicate and transact. Cargill is mum on details but says the applications are vast and touch all aspects of the company’s business transactions. Cargill began testing Intel’s Hyperledger Sawtooth before Thanksgiving 2017 to track turkeys from farm to supermarket and also previously worked with startup Bitwise to build a customized blockchain called Hyperledger Grid.
Blockchain: Hyperledger Sawtooth, Hyperledger Grid
Key Executive: David Cecchi, senior director, engineering
China Construction Bank
The world’s second largest bank has nine blockchain projects in operation including one that helps trace pharmaceuticals to their origin, another that tracks carbon credits, and one that shows how government grants are spent. BCTrade is farthest along connecting 60 financial institutions including Postal Savings Bank of China, the Bank of Shanghai and the Bank of Communications, to 3,000 manufacturers and import & export trading companies involved in commerce. Today, cash-strapped exporter waiting for a shipment to be confirmed can take out a loan in a matter of minutes by sharing a record of the future receivables on the blockchain.
Blockchain: Hyperchain, Hyperledger Fabric
Key Executive: Lei Xing, blockchain as a service platform lead
New York, NY
Citi recently digitally issued its first letter of credit using its trade finance focused blockchain Komgo. Citi is also working with Goldman Sachs and 13 other trading firms to automate the matching and reconciliation of equity-swaps derivative contracts using Axoni’s Axcore blockchain. By moving the entire work-flow to blockchain Citi hopes to reduce errors and operational costs and minimize disputes over the valuation of assets. Click here to read more.
Blockchain: Axcore, Symbiont Assembly, Quorum
Key Executive: Puneet Singhvi, markets and securities services lead for Blockchain
San Francisco, CA
Eight years after its start, Coinbase has opened 35 million accounts, presides over $21 billion of assets and is on target, we estimate, to top $800 million in revenue this year. Think of Coinbase as the blue chip among dozens of cryptocurrency exchanges, abiding by regulations and serving institutional investors, pension funds, endowments and retail investors alike. In February 2020, Coinbase announced that it had received authority from Visa to issue its own credit cards. Click here to read more.
Blockchain: Bitcoin, ethereum, XRP and 24 others
Key Executive: Brian Armstrong, co-founder and CEO
This Swiss banking giant has been investing in blockchain since 2015, when it became a founding member of blockchain consortium R3. It is now working with the parent company of bitcoin exchange itBit, to settle U.S. listed equity securities using a blockchain. Another blockchain partnership with Deutsche Börse has reduced settlement times for government and corporate bonds to the same-day.
Blockchain: Corda, Paxos
Key Executive: Emmanuel Aidoo, head of digital assets markets
The German auto giant has overseen a number of blockchain pilots, ranging from letting Daimler truck owners make payments for fuel using e-euros to issuing a one-year €100 German debt instrument known as a Schuldschein. It is also using blockchain technology to track contracts along the supply chain through subsidiary Mercedes-Benz.
Blockchain: Hyperledger, Corda, Ethereum
Key Executive: Jonas von Malottki, Open Source Priority Lead
The end of blood diamonds? De Beers’ new software, Tracr, follows diamonds, which have undergone 3D scans, as the gems are mined, cut, polished and sold. Already more than 30 participants including Signet Jewelers—owner of Kay, Zales and Jared—have signed on. Tens of thousands of stones are being registered per month.
Key Executive: Jim Duffy, CEO of Tracr
Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC)
New York, NY
Global securities warehouse DTCC will soon move its $10 trillion credit derivatives business to a blockchain. These derivatives represent some 50,000 accounts held by some of the largest financial institutions in the world. Previously each institution would keep its own record requiring continuous reconciliations and redundant efforts. DTCC’s new shared ledger will eliminate waste and paperwork.
Key Executive: Rob Palatnick, global head of technology research and innovation; Jennifer Peve, managing director, business innovation
After several high-profile recalls last decade, Dole has adopted blockchain across all fruit processing, from millions of pounds of bananas to pineapples and peaches. Customers at Walmart can now check where their fruit comes from by scanning a QR code. Dole’s entire vegetable business, which has suffered recalls in spinach and coleslaw, is up next. Dole’s new level of traceability starts on the farm and ends at the grocery aisle. Current transaction volumes through partner IBM Food Trust are about 11,300 transactions a day, or 2.3 million a year.
Blockchain: IBM Blockchain, Hyperledger Fabric
Key Executive: Natalie Dyenson, Vice President, Food Safety & Quality
Menlo Park, CA
Last June Facebook boldly announced its plans for libra, a cryptocurrency backed by a basket of stable assets including the U.S. dollar and government bonds. The announcement brought Facebook haters out of the woodwork who were loathe to cede monetary control to the same company whose laissez faire approach to its technology may have contributed to the unexpected outcome of 2016’s presidential election. Already many original libra backers including Visa and Mastercard have dropped out of Facebook’s consortium. Stay tuned however, the Libra Association that administers the blockchain code says it will launch the cryptocurrency in 2020 — if it can get regulatory approval.
Key Executive: David Marcus, head of Calibra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency wallet; Morgan Beller, co-creator of Libra, Head of Strategy at Calibra
San Francisco, CA
This unicorn has facilitated more than $800 million in home equity loans, mortgage and student loan refinancings for lenders including Franklin Templeton and Jeffries. All documents are stored and algorithmically verified on its Provenance blockchain platform.
Blockchain: Hyperledger Fabric
Key Executive: Jennifer Mitrenga, head of Americas, Provenance
The iPhone maker’s trade-finance venture, Chained Finance, pays more than 20 electronics suppliers using digital coins minted on the Ethereum blockchain. The result: Financing costs have plummeted from annual percentage rates as high as 24% to 10%, and the time needed to get funding has been cut from seven days to same-day. Foxconn uses Ethereum’s blockchain, famous for innovating so-called smart contracts, which automate financial transactions.
Key Executive: Jack Lee, acting CEO, Chained Finance
GE is actively exploring blockchain through its $30 billion (revs) Aviation subsidiary, which has built what it calls a “back-to-birth” record of an airplane engine that records important details of the manufacturing process and specifics about maintenance performed. In an industry where complete, easily-accessible records are critical to productivity (airline parts without proper documentation are not easily bought and sold), GE’s blockchain team has created a digitized paper trail in order to prevent engines with incomplete paperwork from sitting unused.
Blockchain: Microsoft Azure, Corda, Quorum, Hyperledger
Key Executive: David Havera, Blockchain Lead
Mountain View, CA
In June, the search giant announced that it was integrating its BigQuery data analytics platform with Chainlink, allowing data from outside sources to be used in applications built directly on the blockchain. The partnership could help process futures contracts, settle speculative bets and make transactions more private. Earlier in 2019, Google launched a suite of tools on BigQuery that made blockchain data for bitcoin and seven other major cryptocurrencies fully searchable.
Blockchain: Chainlink, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Zcash, Dogecoin, Dash
Key Executive: Allen Day, developer advocate, Google Cloud
Charlotte, NC (headquarters); Phoenix, AZ (Aerospace headquarters)
Honeywell has developed a blockchain-based marketplace for used aerospace parts, a $4 billion industry full of expensive, specialized equipment and rigorous safety requirements. Honeywell’s GoDirect Trade platform collects information about aircraft parts over their entire lifecycle and makes it available to potential buyers prior to the sale. Using a blockchain ledger allows Honeywell to securely aggregate this information from multiple, often competing, players. In its first year, GoDirect Trade processed more than $5 million in online transactions.
Blockchain: Hyperledger Fabric
Key Executive: Lisa Butters, Blockchain Product Applications Leader and General Manager of GoDirect Trade
HSBC has conducted one million foreign exchange trades totaling $1.2 trillion on its FX Everywhere platform built using a modified version of ethereum. Another HSBC endeavor Contour, is a blockchain that provides letters of credit to global exporters whose ships sometimes travel faster than the loan paperwork, resulting in long waits in port. Contour uses blockchain software Corda to connect buyers, sellers and trade finance banks to a single shared ledger. Of the 14 letters of credit so far issued on the platform, totaling $30 million, the most recent was issued in November 2019, when HSBC issued a letter to Romania-based Kingfisher for a shipment of sliding shower doors from China’s Zhong Shan Neptum. In a separate project, the company plans to move $20 billion of typetk securities to its Digital Vault, also built on Corda, cutting out brokers and connecting investors directly to private market assets.
Blockchain: Ethereum, Corda, Hyperledger Fabric
Key Executives: Joshua Kroeker, blockchain lead, growth and innovation; Mark Williamson, global head of FX Everywhere
Big Blue has fashioned a proprietary version of its Hyperledger Fabric the code called IBM Blockchain that is faster to set-up and easier for non-coders to operate. The IBM Food Trust is one of several blockchain consortia assembled by the company, and is designed to move complicated food supply chains to one shared, distributed ledger. In January 2020 olive oil giant CHO announced that it has been tracking its gourmet Terra DeLyssa oil on the Food Trust blockchain since the November 2019 harvest. The Tunisian company that creates a total of more than 24,000 bottles a day analyzes the oil in its own laboratories accredited by the International Olive Council, helping generate eight data points, including the orchard where the olives were grown, the mill where they were crushed, and the facilities where the oil was filtered, bottled and distributed, each captured on the blockchain and accessible via a QR code on bottle. Similarly, the Food Trust has now tracked 18 million transactions for 17,000 products.
Blockchain: Stellar, Hyperledger Fabric, Burrow and Sovrin
Key Executive: Bridget van Kralingen, SVP, global industry platforms and blockchain
ING’s most mature blockchain project is decentralized trade finance platform Komgo, which eliminates the delays and redundant paperwork involved with issue letters of credit used to finance trade. Normally when commodities traders needed to borrow money to buy crude oil being shipped around the world, for example, every counterparty, including traders, banks, inspectors and agents, would hand over paper documents, resulting in vessels frequently needing to wait for a loan to clear after docking. But in July 2019 ING conducted its first commodity trade on Komgo, powered by the Quorum blockchain. The $43 million letter of credit was processed and approved by ING Geneva for Mercuria Energy Trading SA in a matter of minutes.
Blockchain: Corda, Quorum, ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy
Key Executive: Mariana Gomez de la Villa is ING’s Global Program Director Distributed Ledger Technology
In 2019 the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange launched Bakkt, one of the first regulated bitcoin futures exchanges. Since launching in September, Bakkt has settled 117,000 bitcoin futures contracts, and plans to add support for other digital assets soon. Bakkt also makes fee income helping customers store their bitcoin and by selling market data about how its products are used. In the first half of 2020 Bakkt will launch a consumer-facing payments app allowing customers the ability to pay merchants like Starbucks with cryptocurrency.
Key Executive: Mike Blandina, Bakkt chief executive officer
New York, NY
America’s biggest bank is keeping mum on the progress of its JPM Coin, the digital currency it announced in February 2019 to help banks settle transactions more quickly. It does however, admit, that 100 institutions are now using its new “Interbank Information Network,” a blockchain that speeds up cross-border payments between banks by using a shared ledger to resolve delays that arise when, for example, one bank thinks a transfer might violate an international sanction. Previously, those discrepancies were resolved with phone calls and emails, which could take from two days to two weeks. Now they’re resolved in minutes, JPMorgan says.
Blockchain: Quorum, a private version of Ethereum
Key Executive: Christine Moy, head of the Blockchain Center of Excellence
The luxury goods maker is using blockchain technology for traceability and proof of authenticity. To this end LVMH, ConsenSys and Microsoft announced in May 2019 the AURA blockchain platform, which uses ethereum and Microsoft’s Azure cloud service to track and trace luxury products. Among its brands, Louis Vuitton is already tracking millions of its products in an effort to reduce counterfeiting.
Key Executive: Eric Pradon, senior vice president of innovation
Rather than be disrupted, America’s second-largest credit card company has applied for 116 blockchain-related patents, and has several projects in process. It’s working with wholesale food buyer Topco to give consumers visibility into where their groceries came from. It’s testing a faster, more transparent cross-border payments network with banks. And it’s trying to convince central banks who are looking to issue digital currencies to use its rails to help move the new coins.
Blockchain: Its own platform, built from scratch
Key Executive: Ken Moore, EVP and head of Mastercard Labs
The software giant offers blockchain-as-a-service through Azure, its cloud computing arm. Last fall, it introduced a new product designed to make it easier for companies to mint their own digital assets (tokens) using a standard set of criteria. Like its other offerings, Microsoft’s new tokenization framework is designed to lower the barriers to entry to blockchain for major enterprises.
Blockchain: Ethereum, Corda, Hyperledger Fabric
Key Executive: Matthew Kerner, General Manager Industry and Blockchain
New York, NY
As of one blockchain’s earliest enterprise adopters, Nasdaq has moved beyond pilots and proofs of concept and has released several blockchain products designed for capital markets, including an electronic voting tool for South Africa’s central securities depository. It’s now reaching into other industries like insurance and logistics after finding that the solutions it originally developed for the finance industry could be applied in other fields. It has also provided blockchain tech to NYIAX, an advertising exchange that lets publishers buy, sell, and trade contracts.
Blockchain: Assembly, Corda, Hyperledger Fabric, DAML and others
Key Executive: Johan Toll, Head of Digital Assets
National Settlement Depository
After a few early tests issuing bonds on a blockchain, Russia’s central securities depository has helped to create the Distributed Digital Depository (D3Ledger) for storing and exchanging crypto assets even if they are issued on different blockchains. The NSD is also working with the Russian Agricultural bank to issue grain tokens that more transparently track the movement of grain stored in Russian silos —often used as collateral in swaps transactions. In April 2019 NSD parent company Moscow Exchange discovered shortages in six such grain silos resulting in $37 million in losses, something the depository thinks could be fixed if its technology was integrated at every layer of the supply chain.
Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Iroha, NXT, Ethereum, Waves, Bitcoin
Key Executives: Artem Duvanov, the head of innovation, Alexander Yakovlev, Head of blockchain lab
The world’s largest publicly traded food company launched three products thanks to IBM Food Trust in 2019, with another two slated by the spring. European customers can now scan QR Codes and track organic infant formula, baby food and instant mashed potatoes, from manufacturing to grocery shelf. Through OpenSC, Nestle is also piloting another project with dairy farmers in New Zealand and palm oil producers in South America.
Blockchain: Hyperledger Fabric
Key Executive: Benjamin Dubois, Corporate Operations – Supply Chain Transformation Manager
Eden Prairie, MN
In 2018, the health care company co-founded the Synaptic Health Alliance to explore blockchain in health care. The Alliance has built a blockchain that allows its members, including Aetna, Humana and Quest Diagnostics, to view, input, validate, update and audit health care provider data within the network. The technology is currently running in three pilot programs in Texas with the goal to test whether blockchain can simplify the process of updating health care provider information. The healthcare industry estimates that at least $2.1 billion is spent annually to maintain provider databases.
Key Executives: Mike Jacobs, senior vice-president of engineering
Despite the inglorious departure of its crypto evangelist CEO Patrick Byrne, struggling Overstock is still developing its blockchain-based trading platform, tZERO, which would allow investors to trade digital versions of traditional assets like stocks, bonds, real estate and art. Investors can currently trade just two tokens on the platform — representing Overstock’s and tZERO’s own shares. To date Overstock has squandered some $200 million in 18 early-stage blockchain companies and has yet to derive meaningful revenue from any of them. An SEC investigation into various matters related to the company’s blockchain efforts is ongoing.
Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Ravencoin, Florin and others
Key Executive: Jonathan Johnson, CEO, Overstock; President, Medici Ventures
San Francisco, CA
Most banks use global intermediary Swift for international money transfers, a system born in the pre-internet age that enables banks to send secure messages to each other and makes transactions slow and inefficient. Ripple’s global payments network RippleNet offers a faster secure solution, and transaction volumes on the network are growing. Ripple isn’t hurting for cash—it sold $500 million of XRP in 2019, surpassed 300 enterprise customers in November and raised $200 million in December. PNC became the first U.S. bank to use RippleNet for all its cross-border payments last year.
Blockchain platforms: XRP Ledger
Key Executive: Brad Garlinghouse, CEO
Royal Dutch Shell
The Hague, Netherlands
Shell is currently working on nine blockchain projects that are in various stages of maturity. It’s a founding member of Vakt, a blockchain platform that went live in November 2018 that processes post-trade transactions of Brent crude. Vakt simplifies the global commodities trading industry that still largely relies on a mountain of paperwork by moving it to a shared digital ledger. Shell is also working on a pilot program using blockchain to authenticate and verify the origin and provenance of safety-critical process equipment with the hope of deploying it in the second quarter of 2020. The company is first focusing on the valves used in Shell’s plants and will then likely expand the functionality to pumps, while at the same time aiming to generalize the system to suit any type of equipment or device.
Key Executive: Sabine Brink, blockchain lead
Seoul, South Korea
Samsung’s blockchain Nexledger helps parties to a contract prove their identity and execute agreements. The platform is already being used by a group of 18 Korean banks to in an application called BankSign, which quickly let retail customers of the banks prove who they are, even when visiting a bank where they’re not a customer. Since its launch in August 2018, the system has signed up 235,000 individual users. Samsung is also using the Nexledger to help patients prove their identity, speeding up the time it takes to process a health insurance claim.
Blockchain: Nexledger, Ethereum
Key Executive: Jeanie Hong, head of blockchain center
Best known in crypto for its work using Ripple’s payment system to build a cross-border payments app, this Spanish banking giant broke new blockchain ground in September 2019 when it issued a $20 million bond on the public ethereum blockchain. The 1.98% bond was notable in that it showed how traditional securities could instantly trade in secondary markets if counterparties used a shared, public blockchain, instead of the three days in typically takes.
Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum
Key Executive: Coty de Monteverde director, Blockchain Center of Excellence
New York, NY
JPM got more headlines but Signet was the first FDIC insured bank to actually launch a dollar-backed cryptocurrency, called signets, in January 2019. In the second half of 2019 some $10 billion in commercial payments in the form of signets transacted on the ethereum based platform. One long-time client, the New York Air Courier Service, which helps exporters clear customs from the bonded area and pay fees for delayed shipments, started using signets to make payments instantly, instead of the three days it often takes using the Automated Clearing House bank transfer.
Blockchain platform: Ethereum
Key Executive: Frank Santora, Senior Vice President & Director of Digital Asset Solutions
La Jolla, CA
In January 2014 Silvergate became one of the first banks willing to open accounts for cryptocurrency exchanges. Since then, the bank has grown to serve 750 cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bitstamp, Coinbase, Kraken and Gemini and institutional cryptocurrency investors like Block Town, Polychain and Figure. In 2017 Silvergate launched its proprietary exchange network that lets investors move funds to cryptocurrency exchanges around the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Dubbed the Silvergate Exchange Network, it is currently built using a traditional centralized database, meaning only Silvergate can use it, but a blockchain version leveraging shared databases is currently in the works.
Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, 20 other cryptocurrencies supported by its customers
Key Executive: Alan Lane, CEO
San Francisco, CA
In the third quarter of 2019, Square generated $148 million in revenue from fees charged to users who paid with bitcoin. Just launched: A Venmo-like service that lets social-network members instantly send and receive crypto payments. Click here to read more.
Key Executive: Steve Lee, Square Crypto project manager
The Chinese internet titan is helping build a trade finance blockchain application to simplify bulk metal purchases. For example, commodity e-commerce company Gangjuren is working with Tencent and several small and medium-sized steel traders to simplify the financing process. The blockchain technology works by collecting enormous amounts of traceable data about metals in a warehouse, enhancing the credit worthiness of warehouse receipts. The sale and purchase of metals can then be accelerated because all parties involved are using the trusted information from the blockchain. As of September 2019, transaction value had exceeded $100 million.
Blockchain: TrustSQL, Hyperledger Fabric
Key Executives: Carlos Hu, head of blockchain team
T-Mobile’s NEXT Identity Project, created using blockchain Hyperledger Sawtooth in collaboration with Microsoft, is meant to improve the way the telecommunications company manages who can gain access to employee and customer data. Currently hundreds of admins have access to company and customer data, but the new blockchain system would tighten controls and grant access only to those who fit within a very narrow framework defined by the company’s auditors. No humans are ever involved in the process. Since January 2019, NEXT has run alongside existing production systems and completed roughly 60,000 transactions that resulted in new information being added to the blockchain in the first six months. T-Mobile is also working to leverage blockchain technology to execute and implement wholesale roaming agreements.
Blockchain: Hyperledger Sawtooth, Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum
Key Executive: Chuck Knostman, vice president, emerging technology strategy
UBS’ utility settlement coin became a reality in June, when the Swiss bank led a consortium of 14 financial institutions, including Barclays, Nasdaq and Santander, in a $63.2 million investment to launch a new company, Fnality International. The spinoff will control development of the USC, a trade settlement vehicle that reduces the time and cost it takes to process a transaction.
Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, Ethereum, Quorum, Corda
Key Executive: Sam Chadwick, head of blockchain
New York, NY
The 75-year-old organization connecting 193 countries has numerous blockchain initiatives. To combat warlords who steal aid using pilfered ID cards, the U.N. has over the past two years disbursed funds to 106,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, using blockchain-verified iris scans instead of ID cards.
Blockchain: Bitcoin, Ethereum
Key Executives: Christina Lomazzo, UNICEF blockchain lead, Houman Haddad, WFP head of emerging technologies
Valley Forge, PA
Since February 2019, the fund giant has been using a blockchain to set security prices on some $1.5 trillion of its $6 trillion in holdings. Vanguard relies on tech developed by Symbiont, a New York based startup.
Blockchain: Symbiont Assembly
Key Executive: Warren Pennington, a principal in Vanguard’s investment management group
Palo Alto, CA
The $60-billion software provider partnered with the Australian Securities Exchange last summer to work on developing an application to replace the exchange’s 25-year-old system for making post-trade settlement efficient. The technology behind Facebook’s libra is also derived from software called HotStuff developed by VMware.
Blockchain platforms: Project Concord, its proprietary blockchain that supports multiple frameworks including Ethereum and DAML
Key Executive: Brendon Howe, vice president & general manager, blockchain
The retail conglomerate’s Food Traceability Initiative tracks its fresh vegetables, meat and poultry along its supply chain. The initiative helps Walmart pinpoint where a shipment may have been contaminated, allowing it to target recalls more narrowly and accurately while reducing food waste. Walmart also joined a pilot program last summer supervised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to trace the distribution of prescription medicines and vaccines on a blockchain. IBM, KPMG and Merck collaborated with Walmart in the pilot, which addressed the regulatory requirements of the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act.