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More Than Half The Fortune 100 Are Developing Blockchain Initiatives To Stay Competitive

Tl;dr: More than half of the largest and best known US companies are innovating and investing in blockchain initiatives because they know the financial system needs updating, and to stay competitive in the global economy. Coinbase’s new report on corporate adoption of blockchain finds the US regulatory approach to be a top barrier and perceived challenge to US leadership of the global financial system.

By Coinbase

Institutional

, June 22, 2023

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More than half—52%—of the Fortune 100 have pursued crypto, blockchain or web3 initiatives since the start of 2020, according to the enclosed research conducted in partnership with The Block. About 60% of Fortune 100 initiatives reported since the start of 2022 have been either in the pre-launch stage or already launched. Zooming out, 83% of surveyed Fortune 500 executives who are familiar with cryptocurrency or blockchain say their companies have either current initiatives or are planning them.

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These companies are innovating and investing in these technologies because they know that the century-old global financial system needs updating, that blockchain can be a foundational solution, and that not keeping pace will mean losing ground in this global economy to competitors around the world, among other possible reasons. About two thirds (64%) of surveyed Fortune 500 executives who are familiar with cryptocurrency or blockchain say that investing in these technologies is important for staying ahead of their competition.

More key findings

Through research into US Fortune 100 company activity and a survey of crypto/blockchain-aware US Fortune 500 executives, Coinbase has released our first report on web3 adoption exploring corporate America’s growing embrace of crypto, blockchain and other web3 tech. Among the report’s findings:

  • Tech, financial services and retail account for most of the initiatives (≈75%) undertaken by Fortune 100 companies since Q1 2020.

  • Fortune 100 companies have made 109 private venture capital investments across 80 crypto blockchain startups since 2017, participating in rounds totaling more than $8 billion. The average Fortune 500 company initiative or project budget for 2023 is nearly $5.8 million. 

  • Blockchain is the heart of corporate innovation: data collection/management (for both customer and internal data) is a top current use case and also the focus of the most planned initiatives among the Fortune 500, with 77% of the surveyed executives agreeing that blockchain could help make the financial system work better for everyone. Among Fortune 100 tech brands, web3 initiatives have focused mainly on infrastructure, followed by supply chain management and data collection/management. 

  • A lack of clear rules for crypto, blockchain and web3 tech is not only a top barrier to investment and adoption, but a perceived challenge to US leadership of the global financial system: 87% of the surveyed Fortune 500 executives say clear rules are important to sustain it. Another nine in 10 (92%) agree that policymakers should develop new rules for these new technologies, instead of enforcing older rules developed for older technologies. 

Higher stakes for clear rules Concerns about both company and US competitiveness raise the stakes for clear rules in the US that support innovation and job creation, and preserve US leadership of the global financial system. 

The US is at risk of losing out on 1 million web3 developer jobs and 3 million related non-technical jobs to other countries between now and 2030 if it continues on its current path of regulation by enforcement. Its share of global web3 development already has dropped from 40% to 29% in the last six years,* forfeiting influence over global financial and data standards and pushing innovation and investment overseas—even as 73% of the Fortune 500 executives say that for crypto, blockchain or web3 initiatives, their company would prefer working with a US-based partner.

Disclosure: Data and insights cited in the report are derived from two sets of research: 1) An analysis of web3 initiative activity by Fortune 100 companies from Q1 2020 to Q2 (early June) 2023 by The Block Pro Research, the digital assets market research and data division of The Block. “Activity” is defined as publicly available information collected manually from web, social, and crypto aggregators and categorized by stage and crypto use case (e.g., NFT, financial assets, payments, tokenization, marketing/customer loyalty, etc.). And 2) a survey of >100 Fortune 500 executives at the level of director and higher, who are aware of crypto and blockchain, conducted for Coinbase by a third-party research firm, from May 26 to June 1, 2023. Additional details can be found in the State of Crypto: Corporate Adoption report.

*Electric Capital Developer Report, March 2023

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