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The State of Crypto: The Fortune 500 Moving Onchain

Tl;dr: America’s top public companies are busier onchain than ever. Onchain projects announced by Fortune 100 companies have increased 39% year-over-year and hit a record high in Q1 2024. A survey of Fortune 500 executives finds that 56% say their companies are working on onchain projects. From the biggest legacy brands to small business, stablecoins to tokenized T-bills, trusted names and products in finance are embracing blockchain technology and crypto, driving innovation and providing on-ramps for widespread adoption. The increased activity underscores the urgency for clear rules for crypto that help keep crypto developers and other talent in the US.

By Coinbase

Company

, June 12, 2024

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The number of cryptocurrency, blockchain or web3 initiatives announced by Fortune 100 companies has increased 39% year-over-year and hit a record high in Q1 2024, according to research conducted for Coinbase by The Block [1]. A survey of Fortune 500 executives finds that 56% say their companies are working on onchain projects, including consumer-facing payments applications. The increased activity underscores the urgency for clear rules for crypto that help keep crypto developers and other talent in the US, fulfill crypto's promise of better access, and enable US leadership on crypto globally.

Many of the most trusted names and products in finance are embracing blockchain technology and crypto, driving innovation and providing on-ramps for widespread adoption:

  • Spot bitcoin ETFs happened, of course – and to significant pent-up demand. Today, total spot bitcoin ETF assets under management is more than $63 billion [2]. On May 23, the SEC approved exchange applications to list and trade spot ether ETFs (pending S-1 approval), further scaling access to spot crypto in familiar, trusted products and spurring adoption.

  • Beyond ETFs – onchain government securities are driving new interest in real-world asset tokenization. Recent high interest rates have boosted demand for safe, high-yielding T-bills onchain, sending the value of tokenized US Treasury products over 1,000% since the start of 2023, to $1.29 billion [3]. BlackRock’s tokenized US Treasury fund BUIDL, at $382 million, recently passed Franklin Templeton’s $368 million fund to become the largest; crypto hedge funds and market makers are using BUIDL as collateral for trading coins and tokens [4]. By 2030, the tokenized asset market is expected to hit $16 trillion – the size of the EU’s GDP today [5]. 

  • Along with Coinbase, global payments giants PayPal and Stripe also are making stablecoins even easier to use. Via Circle, merchants on Stripe can now accept payment in USDC via Ethereum, Solana, and Polygon – with payments automatically converting into fiat currency. PayPal is supporting cross-border transfers for stablecoin users across about 160 countries – with no transaction fees, versus 4.45% to 6.39% in average charges in the $860 billion global remittance market [6][7]. The annual settlement volume of stablecoins hit $10 trillion in 2023, more than 10x the amount of remittances worldwide.

  • The progress isn’t just top-down but also ground-up: small business, the most trusted institution in the US, is also venturing into crypto [8]. About seven in 10 (68%) believe crypto can help address at least one of their financial pain points, the biggest of which are transaction fees and processing times. 

At Coinbase, we applaud tradfi’s progress in updating the system, with a few callouts from the data:

  • It’s imperative that the US cultivate increasingly needed talent rather than continuing to lose it overseas. The US continues to lose developer share, down 14 points in the past five years; only 26% of crypto developers are US-based today [9]. Among Fortune 500 (F500) executives, concern about available, trusted talent is now a top blocker to adoption, more than concern about regulation. Among small businesses, half say they’re likely to seek out candidates familiar with crypto the next time they fill a finance, legal or IT/tech role. Clear rules for crypto are key to keeping developers in the US – and to the US continuing to lead the world in cutting-edge technological innovation.

  • It’s also vital to ensure that the technology fulfills its promise of better access – both for crypto-using companies needing financial services and even more crucially, for underserved people in need of financial services. For the underbanked and unbanked, about half (48%) of F500 executives say that crypto has the potential to increase access to the financial system and ability to create wealth. For companies that use crypto, one F500 executive noted that banks can do more to encourage innovation by finding more ways to work with them. 

  • The US needs to exert leadership in this space. F500 executives show significant interest here: 79% would want to work on initiatives with a partner in the US (up from 73% a year ago), and 72% agree that having a USD-backed digital currency (versus the Yen) keeps the US economy competitive globally.

Crypto is the future of money. This research report, our fourth since June 2023 and a year-over-year look at corporate adoption, is Coinbase’s latest release in our integrated campaign to educate the public about the role crypto, blockchain and other web3 technologies can play in updating the global financial system for the benefit of corporations and consumers alike.

Methodology

Unless otherwise footnoted, data and insights cited in this report are derived from the following sources:

Fortune 100 Initiatives: An analysis of web3 initiative activity by Fortune 100 companies from Q1 2020 to early June 2024 by The Block Pro Research. “Activity” was broadly defined to include any digital assets/blockchain-related internal company projects, investments, partnerships, product/service launches, and other similar initiatives. The Block conducted searches of publicly available information using keywords such as “crypto,” “blockchain,” “tokenization”, “NFTs,” “metaverse,” and “digital assets” across news sites, company filings, press releases and announcements. Search results were manually filtered for relevance, aggregated, and deduplicated. For each initiative in the resulting database, The Block assessed the stage of the initiative, the industry and the web3 use case it pertains to (e.g., tokenization, process automation, payments/settlement, etc.).

Fortune 100, stablecoin and tokenization case studies from research by The Block.

Web3 Adoption Survey: A survey of 104 Fortune 500 executives at the level of director and higher, who are aware of crypto and blockchain, conducted for Coinbase by GLG third-party research firm, from April 17 to 25, 2024. 

Small Business Survey: A survey of 250 financial decision-makers at US businesses with fewer than 500 employees who are aware of cryptocurrency, conducted for Coinbase by research firm NRG from April 24-29, 2024. 

Footnotes

1. June 1, 2023 through May 31, 2024 vs June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023  2. As of May 31, 2024 3. As of May 31, 2024 4. Financial Times, May 14, 2024 5. Relevance of on-chain asset tokenization in ‘crypto winter,’ BCG x ADDX 6. The World Bank 7. The World Bank 8. Gallup 9. Electric Capital’s Developer Report: January - December 2023

Image Footnotes

1. The Block 2. Web3 Adoption Survey  3. Dune (@21shares). Compared to January 2023, as of May 31, 2024. 4. The Block, artemis.xyz 5. Small Business Survey 6. Electric Capital’s Developer Report: January - December 2023

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