“Oh shit, I need some blockchain. Where do I get some blockchain?”
These were the words of famed venture capitalist Fred Wilson who questioned financial services’ recent interest in all things blockchain. Speaking with Nathaniel Popper of The New York Times at the CB Insights Future of Fintech Conference, Wilson chided corporations for ignorantly wanting a piece of blockchain because it had become fashionable to do so.
Is financial services’ interest in blockchain really intensifying, and if yes, where? The quickest way to see this is to track media chatter or what we call the Media Attention Path (MAP). Using CB Insights Trends, we see the the MAP of bitcoin has notably declined while blockchain interest has been increasing.
The blockchain zeitgeist, however, goes beyond financial services. There is chatter about the underlying technology of the blockchain protocol being used in a number of industries ranging from healthcare, media, academics, to enable voting, etc.
But the interest does still largely center on financial services as the MAPs of healthcare vs financial services for blockchain illustrate below.
Within blockchain, we see that applications being discussed range from the insurance space to payments to to lending to crowdfunding to banking with the latter the area where there is currently the most interest or heat as CB Insights Trends reveals.
A look at the news that underlies the above Trends and we see the diversity of firms who have initiatives underway in the blockchain.
Within insurance, we see John Hancock. Within payments, we see Santander and the British Government. And within banking, we see Deloitte and new funds emerging.
Yes, it appears Fred is right. Firms definitely want some of that blockchain.
We’ll see how it all plays out.
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