Edited by Michael del Castillo, Janet Novack and Matt Schifrin

Reported by Nina Bambysheva, Lauren Debter, Michael del Castillo, Steven Ehrlich, Eliza Haverstock, Chris Helman, Katie Jennings, Jeff Kauflin, Jon Ponciano and Hank Tucker 



No longer dismissed as a haven for criminals and drug dealers, Bitcoin and blockchain have gone mainstream. Bitcoin’s 2020 surge grabbed the attention of C-suite executives worldwide; not only are companies employing the technology underlying Bitcoin to perform tasks such as reconciling invoices and verifying product provenance, but dozens are now holding Bitcoin as a treasury asset. Our third annual Blockchain 50 features companies that lead in employing distributed ledger technology and have revenue or a valuation of at least $1 billion. Twenty-one newcomers—including the world’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and four others from Asia—make their debut. They take the spots of such U.S. companies as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Ripple, all of whom are still active in blockchain but kept lower profiles in the space over the past 12 months. 



A.P. Moller-Maersk 

Copenhagen, Denmark 

The Danish shipping and logistics giant’s blockchain, TradeLens, is digitizing supply chain information. Since its August 2018 launch, it has onboarded roughly 50% of container ships around the world. In 2020, it processed 1 billion shipments, 30 million containers and 14 million documents, more than double the previous year. Maersk has also partnered with Microsoft to process marine insurance using blockchain tech. 

Blockchain platforms: TradeLens, Hyperledger Fabric, IBM Blockchain 

Key leader: Michael White, CEO GTD Solution, a wholly owned subsidiary of Maersk dedicated to the development of the TradeLens platform


Ant Group 

Hangzhou, China 

Alibaba spin-off Ant has more than 50 blockchain applications in development on its own blockchain platform, AntChain. One notable example is OpenChain, which launched in 2020 to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to tap its blockchain technologies and smart contracts as a way to lower costs. So far more than 6,000 users have written 100,000 smart contracts, facilitating 400 million transactions. 

Blockchain platforms: AntChain, Hyperledger Fabric, Quorum 

Key leader: Geoff Jiang, VP of Ant Group, president of intelligent technology business group


Baidu 

Beijing, China 

China’s search giant and its fintech venture Du Xiaoman Financial have introduced morea than 20 blockchain solutions. One of them, Libra Chain, is serving as the infrastructure for China’s three internet courts handling copyright and e-commerce disputes through virtual litigation. To date, more than 35 million pieces of electronic evidence have been filed at the Beijing Internet Court. 

Blockchain platforms: Baidu Xuperchain, Hyperledger Fabric 

Key leader: Wei Xiao, general manager of the blockchain systems department


BHP 

Melbourne, Australia 

The mining giant is using blockchain to digitize multiple operations, including tracking ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) attributes and verifying suppliers’ identities. BHP completed its first iron ore blockchain trade with China Baowu Steel in June 2020.  

Blockchain platforms: MineHub, Hyperledger Fabric 

Key leaders: Michiel Hovers, group sales, and marketing officer; Sundeep Singh, group procurement officer


Binance 

Cayman Islands 

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange lists 184 tokenized assets and supports almost a hundred blockchains. Total trading volume reached $2 trillion last year. In July, Binance rolled out a Visa debit card that automatically converts users’ crypto assets to local currency and will be accepted at 70 million merchants worldwide. 

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Binance Chain and dozens of others 

Key leader: CZ (Changpeng Zhao), CEO; Yi He, co-founder and CMO



Boeing 

Chicago, Illinois 

Its HorizonX venture arm has contributed funds to the development of SkyGrid, a blockchain-enabled air traffic control system to track and communicate with drones. Already approved by the FAA to provide drone pilots with low-altitude authorization and available as a free iPad app, Skygrid creates a permanent record of data—important for package delivery, industrial inspections and especially (someday) autonomous flying taxis. 

Blockchain platforms: Go Direct, Hyperledger Fabric 

Key leader: Amir Husain, CEO of SkyGrid


Cargill 

Wayzata, Minnesota 

The ag giant first dipped into blockchain in 2017 when it used Intel’s Hyperledger Sawtooth to track turkeys through its pre-Thanksgiving supply chain. Last year it became one of six partners (with the likes of ADM and Louis Dreyfus) in the Covantis platform—which uses the Ethereum-based Quorum blockchain to create an immutable record of every step in the process of moving grain and oilseed cargoes around the world.  

Blockchain platforms: Quorum, Hyperledger Grid, Ethereum 

Key leader: Petya Sechanova, CEO of Covantis


Carrefour 

Massy, France 

The French supermarket chain is tracking more than 30 product lines on the blockchain, including farm-raised eggs, Norwegian salmon and Rocamadour cheese. These products are tagged with a QR code that customers can scan to find out more about where their food comes from. Carrefour says the feature has boosted sales and aims to expand it to 100 product lines by the end of next year. 

Blockchain platforms: IBM Blockchain, Hyperledger Fabric 

Key leader: Emmanuel Delerm, global head of blockchain, merchandising and B2B supply chain platforms


China Construction Bank 

Beijing, China 

The massive bank has built BC Trade 2.0, where 75 financial institutions can quickly identify risky borrowers, as well as compete to offer lower rates to more desirable ones. So far, the platform has facilitated $134 billion worth of loans for 5,800 users, including manufacturers and trading companies. Importantly, the platform cuts out Swift, the interbank messaging platform that was a required middleman before blockchain. 

Blockchain platforms: BC Trade 2.0, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperchain 

Key leader: Tan Hao, is the vice president of CCB financial technology



CME Group 

Chicago, Illinois 

The derivatives exchange began offering Bitcoin futures contracts in December 2017. This January, it added options on Bitcoin futures and in February is adding Ether futures. So far, 6,000 individual accounts are trading Bitcoin derivatives on the exchange. 

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum 

Key leader: Tim McCourt, global head and managing director, equity and alternative investment products 


Coinbase 

San Francisco, California 

America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has more than 43 million individual accounts in 100-plus countries. It also has $20 billion in crypto under custody, up from $6 billion in April 2020. Coinbase is the first principal issuer of debit cards that allow customers to spend their cryptocurrency anywhere Visa is accepted and to withdraw cash from any ATM. The Coinbase Card became available to customers from 29 European countries last year and is now being rolled out to U.S. residents. 

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum and dozens of others 

Key leader: Brian Armstrong, CEO and co-founder


CONA Services

Atlanta, Georgia 

Owned by the 12 largest North American Coca-Cola bottlers, CONA (which stands for Coke One North America) is moving orders and shipments between bottlers to the blockchain and will eventually include external suppliers of raw materials, aluminum cans and more. 

Blockchain platforms: Baseline, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric 

Key leader: Andrei Semenov, director of innovation


Credit Suisse 

Zürich, Switzerland 

The Swiss banking giant is using the Paxos Settlement Service to settle U.S. listed stock trades with broker-dealer Nomura’s Instinet. The blockchain technology allows participants to settle trades directly with each other, without the traditional intermediary, enabling same-day settle-ment versus the two days it typically takes. 

Blockchain platforms: Enterprise Ethereum, Paxos Settlement Service 

Key leader: Emmanuel Aidoo, head of digital asset markets


Daimler 

Stuttgart, Germany 

The maker of luxury Mercedes-Benz vehicles is using blockchain to streamline everything from production to a recent fundraising. 

Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Indy, Hyperledger Fabric, Corda, Ocean Protocol, Ethereum, MoveX

Key leader: Jonas von Malottki, CEO of Daimler Protics GmbH


Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) 

New York, New York

The clearing behemoth behind $2.2 quadrillion in trades annually is reimagining its services. After moving $11 trillion of credit derivatives to a blockchain, it announced Project Ion to track cash equities traded on public markets, and Project Whitney, which would do the same for pre-IPO stocks trading on both the primary and secondary markets. 

Blockchain platforms: Axcore, Hyperledger Fabric, Corda, DAML, Ethereum 

Key leaders: Rob Palatnick, global head of technology research and innovation, chair of Hyperledger’s governing board; Jennifer Peve, global head of business innovation


Digital Currency Group 

New York, New York 

The most prolific investor in crypto-currency startups, with a portfolio of 170 companies, also owns two of the largest crypto institutions—trading platform Genesis, with 1,000 institutional clients, including payments giant Square, and Grayscale, which manages $27 billion in assets in 10 trusts, all traded over the counter. 

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Zcash and others 

Key leader: Barry Silbert, CEO and founder


Equinor 

Stavanger, Norway 

The oil giant has put 10 oil and wind power projects on the blockchain, including its new megafield in the North Sea. 

Blockchain platforms: Data Gumbo, Vakt 

Key leader: Anders Opedal, CEO



Fidelity 

Boston, Massachusetts 

The mutual-fund behemoth has been helping institutional investors store and trade Bitcoin since early 2019. Today, Fidelity Digital Assets has 100 clients, including Kingdom Trust, which allows individuals to hold Bitcoin in their retirement accounts. Fidelity has also filed paperwork for a Bitcoin Index Fund but is tight-lipped on details.

Blockchain platform: Bitcoin 

Key leader: Tom Jessop, president of Fidelity Digital Assets


Honeywell 

Charlotte, North Carolina 

The industrial conglomerate has transferred more than 2 million aviation quality documents to a blockchain ledger, making them fully accessible to its customer base. It also operates blockchain-based marketplace GoDirect Trade, which lists $4 billion in used aviation parts and has attracted more than 10,000 users. 

Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, GoDirect Trade 

Key leader: Lisa Butters, general manager of GoDirect Trade 


HSBC 

London, England 

The British bank is using blockchain to increase the efficiency of foreign-exchange flows among its global branches. Since 2018, 1.9 million trades with a nominal value of $1.7 trillion have been settled on its ledger. 

Blockchain platforms: Quorum, Corda, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, OneConnect 

Key leaders: Vinay Mendonca, global head of product and proposition management, global trade and receivables finance; Mark Williamson, global head of FX Everywhere


IBM Corporation 

Armonk, New York 

Among the first enterprises to invest seriously in blockchain, IBM’s new Digital Health Pass application lets organizations verify an individual’s Covid-19 test and temperature results; customers such as stadium operators can choose their own criteria, including whether a person was vaccinated. 

Blockchain platforms: IBM Blockchain, Hyperledger Fabric 

Key leader: Alistair Rennie, general manager, IBM Blockchain


ICBC 

Beijing, China 

The world’s largest bank now has 30 blockchain applications that let customers trace everything from their health-care coverage to how their philanthropic donations are spent. 

Blockchain platforms: ICBC Chain, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Tendermint 

Key leader: Guangqing Gong, chief of research and development team in innovative technology



ING Group 

Amsterdam, The Netherlands 

Among the earliest banks to embrace blockchain technology, it now leads a group of other financial institutions working to help authenticate crypto assets so they comply with global anti–money laundering standards. 

Blockchain platforms: Corda, Quorum, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy 

Key leader: Mariana Gomez de la Villa, program director distributed ledger technology


JPMorgan Chase 

New York, NEW YORK 

Has signed up 425 banks, including Deutsche Bank and Mexico’s Banorte, to use its Liink blockchain network to speed up interbank transactions. The technology will eventually help banks issue fewer paper checks and move more transactions online. 

Blockchain platforms: Quorum, Ethereum

Key leader: Umar Farooq, CEO of Onyx


Kakao 

Jeju-si, South Korea 

South Korea’s dominant messaging app, KakaoTalk, with 52 million users, has a Ground X blockchain unit that has developed its own public blockchain with its own cryptocurrency, klay. So far 370,000 verified KakaoTalk users have opened digital wallets; 10% of them use the wallet every day. 

Blockchain platform: Klaytn 

Key leader: Jason Han, CEO of Ground X 


LVMH 

Paris, France 

The luxury-goods conglomerate is using blockchain to track products and fight counterfeiting of brands such as Louis Vuitton and Bulgari. Nearly 10 million luxury products have been registered on the platform, created with Prada and Richemont’s Cartier. 

Blockchain platforms: AURA, Quorum, Ethereum 

Key leader: Franck Le Moal, chief information officer


Microsoft 

Redmond, Washington 

One of its blockchain applications, developed with EY, manages content rights and royalties. Game publishers Xbox and Ubisoft were the first to use the new system, which makes royalty payments automatically, compared to a traditional processing time that can stretch to 45 days or more. 

Blockchain platforms: Quorum, Ethereum 

Key leader: Jagannathan Venkatesan, principal group software engineering manager


Microstrategy 

Tysons Corner, Virginia 

Mature business-analytics software company jump-started the trend of storing Bitcoin in corporate treasuries to offset inflation by buying more than $1 billion worth of the cryptocurrency in 2020. Morgan Stanley recently bought a nearly 11% stake in the company. (See main story.) 

Blockchain platform: Bitcoin 

Key leader: Michael Saylor, CEO



National Basketball Association 

New York, New York 

The NBA’s Top Shot marketplace is helping the league cash in on the sports-memorabilia boom. Using its partner Dapper Labs’ blockchain, the NBA is selling packs of “moments,” similar to trading cards but in digital form. More than 400,000 moments have been sold so far, including one featuring a LeBron James block that traded for $100,000. 

Blockchain platform: Flow 

Key leaders: Adrienne O’Keeffe, associate vice president for global partnerships


Nornickel 

Moscow, Russia 

The world’s largest high-grade nickel and palladium producer is testing an industrial asset tokenization platform through Connecticut-based startup Atomyze, which it partially owns. 

Blockchain platform: Hyperledger Fabric 

Key leader: Jeanine Hightower-Sellito, CEO of Atomyze


Northern Trust 

Chicago, Illinois 

In December 2020 it invested, along with Standard Chartered, in cryptocurrency startup Zodia Custody. (See main story.) 

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth, DAML 

Key leader: Pete Cherecwich, president of corporate & institutional services


Novartis 

Basel, Switzerland 

The drugmaker is a leading member of PharmaLedger, a blockchain consortium in the EU that is targeting incorrect or outdated information on prescription inserts—a top reason for recalls. Along with Merck and the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Novartis built an app that scans drug packages and makes real-time requests to manufacturers for up-to-date information, to be accessed by patients via scan codes. PharmaLedger is also using the technology to combat counterfeit and black-market medicines. 

Blockchain platforms: Ethereum, Sovrin, Hyperledger Fabric, Corda, DAML, Quorum 

Key leader: Liz Theophille, chief technology transformation officer


Oracle 

Austin, Texas 

The database giant launched its proprietary blockchain in 2018. Its most mature project is Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), a maritime shipping consortium that now has 300 customers, including container-shipping giants and port operators. 

Blockchain platforms: Oracle Blockchain Platform, Hyperledger Fabric 

Key leader: Frank Xiong, group vice president, blockchain product development


PayPal 

San Jose, California 

The payments-processing pioneer is gunning for a leading position in a future in which digital assets and central bank currencies abound. (See main story.) 

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin 

Key leader: Dan Schulman, CEO


Ping An 

Shenzhen, China 

The insurance and financial-services giant has more than 30 blockchain applications, including a supply chain project going through the Port of Tianjin and a financing platform in Guangdong Province, both operating through its fintech subsidiary OneConnect. 

Blockchain platform: FiMAX 

Key leader: Frank Lu, general manager, DLT research & solutions


Samsung Group 

Seoul, South Korea 

The conglomerate’s IT arm, Samsung SDS, has built a number of blockchain projects for local governments, hospitals and air-ports. That includes a one-stop medical claims processing service allowing patients to submit claims at a hospital reception center, a kiosk or via a mobile phone. 

Blockchain platforms: Nexledger 

Key leader: Jeanie Hong, head of blockchain center



Sappi 

Johannesburg, South Africa 

The South African pulp producer has partnered with Indian eco-friendly fabric maker Birla Cellulose on GreenTrack, a blockchain that tracks fabric products from sustainable forests to pulp to manufacturing plants. More than 250 supply chain partners, including Walmart and Marks & Spencer, now use GreenTrack to verify the sustainability of the apparel they sell. 

Blockchain platforms: GreenTrack, Hyperledger Fabric 

Key leader: Krelyne Andrew, general manager sustainability, dissolving wood pulp


Saudi Aramco 

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 

In 2019, Aramco invested $6 million into Data Gumbo, which has built a blockchain platform that aims to integrate thousands of sensors at oilfields and refineries, the better to verify asset performance and reconcile smart contracts with Aramco’s vendors. Last year, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures invested $5 million in Vakt, a blockchain platform for trading cargoes of oil and petroleum products. 

Blockchain platforms: Ethereum, Hyperledger 

Key leader: Yousef A. Ulyan, IT vice-president


Signature Bank 

New York, New York 

The $64 billion (assets) New York bank is developing a specialty in serving institutional crypto customers, providing fast and simple ways for them to deposit money in their crypto trading accounts through its Ethereum-based platform, known as Signet. In 2020, deposits from crypto customers increased from $2 billion to more than $10 billion. 

Blockchain platforms: Signet, Ethereum 

Key leader: Frank Santora, chief payments officer


Square 

San Francisco, California 

Two years ago, Square started letting users of Cash App, its peer-to-peer money transfer and digital banking service, buy Bitcoin. The app has grown to 30 million active users. Square generated $1.6 billion in revenue and $32 million in gross profit from Bitcoin in the quarter ended September 30. In October, Square said it had invested $50 million, or 1% of its own total assets, in Bitcoin. (See main story.) 

Blockchain platform: Bitcoin 

Key leader: Steve Lee, Square Crypto project manager


State Farm 

Bloomington, Illinois 

For insurers resolving claims, the process of subrogation—that is, determining which policy and insurer is ultimately responsible for paying which claim—can take months. State Farm and insurer USAA used to mail each other an average of more than 200 checks a day. But since they began using the Subrogation Net Settlement blockchain last year, the number of checks exchanged has been reduced by 80%. 

Blockchain platforms: Quorum, Ethereum 

Key leader: Mike Fields, innovation executive, RED Labs; Robert Yi, senior vice president, P&C Claims


Stone Ridge 

New York, New York 

Through subsidiary New York Digital Investment Group, Stone Ridge has become one of the largest institutional investors in Bitcoin. In October it said it had made the cryptocurrency its primary treasury asset, and in December disclosed to Forbes that it had purchased 20,000 Bitcoins, now valued at more than $700 million. Overall, the firm now has custody of $4 billion in digital assets. 

Blockchain platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash 

Key leader: Robert Gutmann, Stone Ridge co-founder, NYDIG CEO


Swisscom 

Bern, Switzerland 

The telecom giant has 11 blockchain applications in various stages, including crypto stock-issuance startup Daura and crypto custody firm Custodigit, a joint venture with digital asset bank Sygnum. Last November, the firm joined a $30 million investment in Fireblocks, which helps institutions create, store and trade digital assets. 

Blockchain platforms: Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Ares, Hyperledger Indy, Corda 

Key leader: Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler, chief digital officer


Tech Mahindra 

Pune, India 

The technology arm of Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group has developed multiple blockchain technologies. In July 2019, it introduced a blockchain-based app that is now helping 500 million mobile phone customers manage their preferences to avoid spam calls. (See main story.) 

Blockchain platform: Hyperledger Fabric 

Key leader: Rajesh Dhuddu, practice leader of blockchain and cybersecurity



Telefonica 

Madrid, Spain 

The Spanish telecom uses blockchain to track 4 million home-equipment devices. It has also invested in Zamna, a blockchain-enabled data platform that helps airlines verify passengers’ identities prior to arriving at an airport, and it has teamed up with IBM to use blockchain to manage international calls. 

Blockchain platforms: TrustOS, Hyperledger Fabric 

Key leader: José Luis Núñez, global head for blockchain


Tencent 

Shenzhen, China 

The tech giant built the blockchain that is used by Shenzhen’s tax authority to issue some 10 million invoices. In addition, it founded WeBank, whose blockchain platform FISCO BCOS (Be Credible, Open & Secure) is used by more than 2,000 enterprises and includes WeIdentity, which has helped process more than 17 million border crossings between Macao and mainland China. Another Tencent blockchain app, WeSign, shortens arbitration processing time and is used in Chinese courtrooms to record pieces of evidence. 

Blockchain platform: FISCO BCOS  

Key leader: Howe Zheng, vice president, Tencent Financial Technology


Vanguard 

Valley Forge, Pennsylvania 

In June the index-fund king announced an initiative to address the often messy process of keeping records for asset-backed securities—as loans get repackaged and sold from one party to another, important credit information can be lost. Vanguard piloted a new product—with Citi, State Street and BNY Mellon also participating—to store that loan information on a shared, unalterable ledger. 

Blockchain platform: Symbiont Assembly 

Key leader: Warren Pennington, a principal in Vanguard’s investment management group


Visa 

Foster City, California 

Visa’s golden goose is its vast network of access points—some 70 million merchant locations. Now that central banks are starting to mint digital currencies, Visa is doing extensive R&D so digital money can flow safely (out of fraudsters’ reach) over its rails. It has applied for 159 blockchain-related patents for uses such as making transactions more secure and using biometrics to verify someone’s identity. In December, it announced an integration with the cryptocurrency “stable coin” USDC, or U.S. dollar coin, to speed up international business-to-business payments. 

Blockchain Platforms: Bitcoin, Ethereum 

Key leader: Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto


VMware 

Palo Alto, California

Known for developing the technology behind Facebook’s cryptocurrency Diem (previously Libra), VMware introduced its own enterprise-focused blockchain platform in November. Broadridge Financial Solutions is already using it to enable automation and digitization of repurchase agreements. The Australian Stock Exchange brought on VMware in 2019 to work on a post-trade platform to replace its quarter-century-old system. 

Blockchain platform: VMWare Blockchain 

Key leader: Brendon Howe, vice president and general manager, blockchain


Walmart 

Bentonville, Arkansas 

Its Food Traceability Initiative, which helps Walmart detect contamination and other food safety issues, now tracks nearly 500 items like fresh leafy greens, coffee, seafood and meat. Last year, it assisted the FDA with six investigations into food safety and was able to provide detailed information on the original source of potential contamination within an hour. This year, Walmart will conduct a pilot with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to track imported foods. 

Blockchain platform: Hyperledger Fabric

Key leader: Tejas Bhatt, senior director, global food safety innovation; Archana Sristy, senior director, blockchain platforms, Walmart Global Tech


(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2021-02-02 04:30:00
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