Why C-suite execs are pursuing blockchain

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Blockchain is seen as a major area of interest by enterprises looking to invest in deep tech solutions, a new report suggests.

An industry-wide survey conducted by quantum computing firm Seeqc revealed that 67% of executive decision-makers feared falling behind competitors when it comes to emerging technologies. With this in mind, 57% of large enterprises are actively developing deep tech solutions in order to solve specific business problems, and blockchain is among their top five areas of interest.

Deep tech is a term applied technology which aims to solve previously insurmountable problems using new scientific techniques.

The report by Seeqc reveals machine learning and artificial intelligence to be the main area of interest for firms pursuing deep tech solutions, with 50% of respondents naming it their number one concern.

The next most common deep tech application being prioritized by companies is 3D printing on a large scale (35%), followed by renewable energy solutions (34%) and quantum computing (34%).

Some 32% of respondents highlighted blockchain and cryptocurrency as their main focus, ahead of drones and advanced robotics (29%), climate change mitigation (29%), satellites and space technology (25%), autonomous vehicles (23%), and neuromorphic computing (23%).

When queried as to why they were pursuing deep tech implementations, a majority of respondents said they had witnessed competitors making in-roads in the space and felt compelled to keep up.

Accompanying these companies’ willingness to explore new technologies, however, is a common fear experienced by most in the cryptocurrency space. The report reveals that 87% of executive decision-makers had fears and anxieties concerning their pursuit of deep tech, with 74% admitting they feared making the wrong investment.

The companies surveyed said their main area of investment was in established corporations which are already pursuing deep tech (29%), followed by startups and venture-backed companies (25%). Companies also said they were pursuing internally developed solutions (24%), and investing in research groups either funded by governments or universities (21%).

While the cryptocurrency market continues to thrive — with several coins hitting new all-time highs by time of publication — investment in deep tech is not expected to pay off immediately. CEO of Seeqc, John Levy, said it would be years before deep tech solutions reach maturity.

“It will be years before the average person has access or reason to use something so advanced as a quantum computer or benefit from a fully autonomous vehicle, but the enterprise applications for these technologies are already making themselves apparent in today’s most data-intensive industries,” said Levy.

Notably, 35% of respondents said the biggest challenge they faced in pursuit of deep tech was navigating the regulatory landscape in their given jurisdictions. Regulation of cryptocurrencies is still an ongoing process, and could conceivably shift the priorities of the enterprises included in the survey.

In April, the World Economic Forum’s head of blockchain and digital assets, Sheila Warren, warned that the cryptocurrency industry would soon be subject to a “dramatic” round of regulation, as interest in the space grows.