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Maps

Mapping out enterprise blockchain

Quick Take

  • The enterprise blockchain ecosystem has five core branches: (1) corporations, (2) startups, (3) protocols, (4) platforms, and (5) consortiums
  • Forrester Research has estimated that 90% of blockchain experiments will never be a part of a company’s operations

Enterprise blockchain appears to be here to stay. Organizations like the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a consortium of businesses working on blockchain solutions, have well over 500 members pushing for the development and adoption of enterprise blockchain solutions. Similarly, Hyperledger has over 270 members pushing for the development and adoption of “cross-industry blockchain technologies.” Legacy corporations are also taking notice. IBM, the struggling tech giant, has been attempting to position itself in the forefront of the enterprise blockchain ecosystem — employing 1,500 employees to work on over 500 blockchain projects that stretch across multiple industries like finance, healthcare, and shipping. Mastercard and Bank of America frequently top the list for the blockchain patent filings.

Despite the apparent slowdown of adoption for enterprise blockchain solutions, with Forrester Research estimating that 90% of blockchain experiments will never be a part of a company’s operations, many startups and corporations continue to develop new blockchain solutions and launch pilot programs using blockchain technologies. These companies continue to push enterprise blockchain adoption forward in the hope that they grab a piece of the estimated $3.1 trillion blockchain market.

In this piece, we will map out the state of the current enterprise blockchain ecosystem and its players. We categorized the ecosystem into five branches: (1) corporations, (2) startups, (3) protocols, (4) platforms, and (5) consortiums.

Corporations are legacy businesses looking for ways to implement blockchain into their operations. These implementations come in the form of consulting services provided by the likes of Accenture and IBM, blockchain-as-a-service solutions provided by companies like Amazon and Microsoft, or internal blockchain solutions used by J.P. Morgan and Mastercard.

Like corporations, startups in the enterprise blockchain ecosystem look for ways to leverage blockchains in their operations. Companies like Monax and Everledger leverage blockchain to enhance their technology offerings. Others like R3 and ConsenSys develop offer both consulting services and blockchain-as-a-service solutions.

Protocols are open-sourced blockchain framework implementations developed by corporations or startups. These blockchain frameworks can be implemented and changed by businesses looking to use or develop permissioned blockchain networks.

Platforms are front-facing solutions that leverage blockchain technology in their backend. These platforms are typically used by businesses that are hesitant in dedicating the resources to run or implement their own blockchain networks but still want access and test the features provided by blockchain technologies.

Consortiums are organizations that collaborate on the development and adoption of blockchain protocols. These consortiums generally focus on promoting specific blockchain protocols. For example, the Hyperledger consortium pushes for the implementation of Hyperledger’s projects including Fabric and Sawtooth.