It's little more than a "glorified Excel spreadsheet."
At least that's how New York University Stern School of Business economist Nouriel Roubini described blockchain technology earlier this month during a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif.
But Roubini, nicknamed "Dr. Doom" for predicting the 2008 financial crisis, wasn't done there. In fact, he's been claiming for months now that the technology, which undergirds Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as an online transaction ledger, is overhyped.
"There is no decentralization," the notoriously liberal Keynesian economist went on to say. "It's just bullsh-t."
Now, I'm not going to stoop to Roubini's level and use foul language.
Instead, I'll just give him a new nickname: "Mr. Wrong."
Truth is, Mr. Wrong and other blockchain naysayers couldn't be more incorrect.
Blockchain is still in its infancy, but that means now is the best time for investors to jump in. According to Gartner, the value of blockchain could surpass $1 trillion over the next decade.
So, today I'm going to show you some cold, hard facts to prove that Roubini is, indeed, Mr. Wrong.
And then I'll introduce you to three global industry leaders that are already using blockchain tech to improve their businesses.
I often brag about my 30-plus years spent kicking around the tech industry and Silicon Valley.
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But that's nothing compared to these three companies and their total 215 years of experience and a combined market cap of $580.06 billion.
So I'll take their word before I do that of a former Clinton administration official…
So, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency transactions are perfect for exactly this type of scenario, where they can reduce costs and cut out the middleman.
Simply put, blockchain tech provides a secure way to exchange valuable digital assets on the Internet, without the need for a third party, like a bank or another large company, to mediate the transaction. It also ensures the information these digital assets contain can't be tampered with, thus producing an "immutable ledger" of transaction data.
And beyond the international payments realm, blockchain is already improving the way a variety of industries use their technical infrastructure, from supply-chain logistics to insurance to healthcare.
So, today let's look at three global firms that are investing in and using blockchain… upending the way entrenched industries conduct business… and remaining relevant in a rapidly evolving tech landscape.
The moves these three global blockchain leaders are making now are setting them up to take full advantage of what this tech has to offer.
They're poised to reap the rewards.
And now, so are you.
So let's take a look…
Global Blockchain Leader No. 1: Blue Is Betting Big
IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has bet big on blockchain – and the company's leaders see it as vital to its future success.
That said, IBM remains a poor investment. The company's legacy businesses are slowing down faster than its strategic initiatives are growing. Moreover, its leadership is unfocused and neglectful toward shareholders.
But Big Blue's work on blockchain tech is pretty much unparalleled at this point in corporate America. And that makes it an interesting company to watch and see who it partners with in the blockchain space, as some of its startup partners are likely to become great investment opportunities in the near future.
According to Google Patents, IBM has 3.9% of the "blockchain" patents filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That's more than any other company.
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The firm has developed an industry reputation as the go-to blockchain tech provider, according to an enterprise survey by Juniper. It has more than 250 active blockchain projects and 1,500 dedicated employees.
IBM has done pioneering work with private, enterprise-focused blockchain solutions for banking, insurance, and retail companies that want to use the technology to improve the way they, for instance, store customer data, but not broadcast that information to the general public.
IBM is partnering with the likes of Dole Food Co. Inc., Nestle SA, and Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) to improve the quality of the food supply by tracing it using blockchain tech. It's working with A.P. Moller-Maersk Group to build out a blockchain solution for the shipping industry. And it's teaming up with international insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. on a blockchain project to certify whether contractors have the needed liability insurance coverage.
Those examples are really just the tip of the iceberg, so we'll be watching what steps IBM takes going forward – and to see if any of its blockchain startup partners become investible.
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.