Blockchain spending expected to reach $2.9B in 2019

Despite large losses in cryptocurrencies in 2018, interest in the underlying blockchain technology continued unabated, according to an IDC report.

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Despite the massive market revaluation of Bitcoin—knocking down the leading cryptocurrency to presently under half its one-year peak—interest in the blockchain technology that powers it continues unabated, according to IDC's newly updated Worldwide Semiannual Blockchain Spending Guide. The which forecasts worldwide spending on blockchain to reach $2.9 billion in 2019, an 88.7% increase from the $1.5 billion spent in 2018.

"Global blockchain spending will be led by the financial sector, where the banking, securities and investment services, and insurance industries will invest more than $1.1 billion combined in blockchain solutions this year," IDC noted in a press release. Because of the inextricable association of blockchain with cryptocurrencies—the first real-world use case—the understanding of and enthusiasm for the technology in the financial sector is higher than other industries.

SEE: How blockchain will disrupt business (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

This aligns with the 2018 Tech Pro Research report "The current state and predictions for the future of blockchain in the enterprise," in which three-quarters of respondents across a variety of industries indicated their expectation that Blockchain will affect the financial services industry in the next five years. Even industry cooperative SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is testing blockchain for cross-border transactions, reported TechRepublic's sister site ZDNet.

Likewise, the IDC guide indicates that "IT services and business services (combined) will account for nearly 70% of all blockchain spending in 2019 with IT services receiving additional new investment over the forecast period." Blockchain is expected to be more accessible to organizations wishing to utilize it in their workflows, partially due to the availability of blockchain services on Amazon Web Services, including Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB), a fully-managed ledger database with a central trusted authority, and Amazon Managed Blockchain, allowing for the creation and management of blockchain networks using the Ethereum or HyperLedger models.

Adoption outside of financial services and the IT systems that power them is likewise expected to increase. IDC indicates that "the manufacturing and resources sector, driven by the discrete and process manufacturing industries, and the distribution and services sector, led by the retail and professional services industries, are forecast to see blockchain spending of $653 million and $642 million respectively this year."

For more, check out Is blockchain the 'least useful technology in history?' Your mileage may vary, Will Ohio's bitcoin and blockchain ventures bring more tech jobs to the Midwest?, and Bitcoin prices plummet, along with interest in blockchain, cryptocurrency jobs.

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By James Sanders

James Sanders is a staff technology writer for TechRepublic. He covers future technology, including quantum computing, AI/ML, and 5G, as well as cloud, security, open source, mobility, and the impact of globalization on the industry, with a focus on ...