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  • J Huang and S Pettigrove

State of Crypto Report: The institutions keep coming

52% of Fortune 100 companies have pursued crypto, blockchain or web3 initiatives since the start of 2020, according to research conducted by Coinbase in partnership with The Block, a web3 media outlet.

According to the research, about 60% of Fortune 100 initiatives reported since the start of 2022 are either in the pre-launch stage or already launched.

Meanwhile, 83% of surveyed Fortune 500 executives who are familiar with cryptocurrency or blockchain say their companies have either current initiatives or are planning them.

See table below for quarterly breakdown of initiatives by stage:

According to the report:

These companies are innovating and investing in these technologies because they know that the century-old global financial system needs updating, that blockchain can be a foundational solution, and that not keeping pace will mean losing ground in this global economy to competitors around the world, among other possible reasons.

It also mentions that 64% of surveyed Fortune 500 executives who are familiar with cryptocurrency or blockchain agree that:

investing in these technologies is important for staying ahead of their competition.

The research summarises a list of key findings, including:

  • tech, financial services and retail account for 75% of the initiatives undertaken by Fortune 100 companies since Q12020;

  • Fortune 100 companies have made 109 private venture capital investments across 80 crypto blockchain startups since 2017, participating in rounds totalling more than $8 billion;

  • Data collection/management (for both customer and internal data) is a top current use case and also the focus of most planned initiatives among the Fortune 500;

  • 77% of the surveyed executives agreed that blockchain could help make the financial system work better for everyone; and

  • Among Fortune 100 tech brands, web3 initiatives have focused mainly on infrastructure, followed by supply chain management and data collection/management.

The research goes on to list a few high-profile initiatives:

  • JPMorgan completes its first on-chain pilot of government bond transfer in November 2022;

  • ExxonMobil pilots the use of excess natural gas energy to mine bitcoin in March 2022;

  • Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Deloitte and other tech companies team up with Digital Asset to launch a new blockchain network in May 2023;

  • Nike partners with EA Sports to integrate apparel NFTs in video games.

Ironically, corporate America's embrace of crypto, blockchain and web3 technologies stands in stark contrast with the absence of a clear US regulatory framework, and the apparent policy of regulation by enforcement by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Coinbase itself is facing charges by the SEC, which it is actively contesting.

As the research points out, a lack of clear rules for crypto, blockchain and web3 tech is not only a top barrier to investment and adoption, but a perceived challenge to US leadership of the global financial system - 87% of the surveyed Fortune 500 executives say clear rules are important to sustain it; another nine in 10 (92%) agree that policymakers should develop new rules for these new technologies, instead of enforcing existing rules developed for older technologies.

This report comes at an interesting time for crypto with mainstream adoption increasing, and the SEC doubling down on enforcement of existing laws. It appears that institutional interest in Web3 remains strong despite the absence of regulatory clarity in the US.


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