In January, tech giant IBM was able to happily report to investors that after 22 consecutive quarters — nearly six years — of declining revenue growth, the company saw gains in the last quarter of 2017.
In a news release, executives clearly identified the reason for the turnaround at IBM, a century-year-old institution that began as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company.
“During 2017, we strengthened our position as the leading enterprise cloud provider and established IBM as the blockchain leader for business,” IBM chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty said.
CFO James Kavanaugh also mentioned the blockchain while speaking of IBM’s future plans:
“2018 will be all about reinforcing IBM’s leadership position in key high-value segments of the IT industry, including cloud, AI, security and blockchain.”
Indeed, IBM has emerged as the world leader in blockchain technology. It very much appears that at some point in the recent past, company leaders saw the writing on the wall, shifted their focus toward innovation, and were then rewarded with a positive gain for their efforts.
Until now, the full extent of IBM’s foray into the growing blockchain industry has been unknown, but that picture got much clearer on Thursday when IBM made public a briefing it sent out to investors.
According to that document, IBM is currently involved in over 400 blockchain-related projects with at least 63 of its clients, and many of those clients are behemoths of the corporate world: Walmart, Visa, Dow, Nestle, DuPont, and megabank HSBC, to name a few.
While revealing, for those following the technology’s advance, the data shouldn’t be all that surprising. Even in these early days of blockchain exploration, the system framework has already proven beneficial to companies for things such as securing payments and tracking shipments and inventory.
And evidence suggests the future is wide open. In fact, some projections estimate the market for blockchain-related products and services will reach $7.7 billion by 2022, up from $242 million in 2016. That’s a compound annual growth rate of almost 80 percent.
And it all comes down to demand, as IBM’s Kavanaugh told financial news outlet The Street on Thursday — the day the briefing to investors was made public:
“Clients are very interested in blockchain. It’s not because of the Bitcoin hype. It’s because they see what blockchain can do to improve trust, transparency and speed in their most complex supply chains and markets.”