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Corporate boards are on board with blockchain, survey finds

Nearly nine out of 10 senior executives in financial services and information technology believe that blockchains will be used on a daily basis in the finance industry by 2026, according to a new survey.

An even greater number of the respondents, 94%, said their boards have bought into the promise of blockchains, while 87%, believe they have a sufficient budget to tackle blockchain projects.

The survey of more than 200 senior-level decision-makers was conducted by TABB Group on behalf of Synechron, a New York-based consulting firm and technology services provider that works with financial institutions. Participants included bankers from the U.S., U.K. and Europe.

Over the last couple of years, banks dived eagerly into the world of distributed ledger technology, anticipating that it would yield back-office cost savings and other efficiencies. Many firms, however, have remained stuck in the proof-of-concept stage. Some observers say that 2017 is a make-or-break year for the technology.

According to the survey results that were announced Thursday, most executives are putting their money on "make."

Slightly more than two-thirds of the executives surveyed said their companies were actively engaging in blockchain initiatives. Nearly one in five, 16.7%, have homed in on particular use cases for the technology, with global payments, trade finance and Know Your Customer compliance topping the list.

Fifteen percent of the senior executives surveyed said their companies have already built a pilot version of a blockchain application.

"It is clear that many financial services firms are either seriously considering how to utilize blockchain within their organization or are already putting this technology into practice," Faisal Husain, Synechron's CEO, said in a press release. "However, with any new technology there are challenges to overcome. Our survey shows that recruiting the right people is one such challenge, regulation is another, and technical considerations related to the technology itself another."

Indeed, one-quarter of the survey respondents said they were taking the wait-and-see approach, looking for regulatory guidance before starting their own blockchain projects.

Even so, only 16.7% of companies named regulatory uncertainty as the issue they would most like to see get resolved.

Three out of 10 respondents said they would most like to see blockchain solutions become compatible with one another, while 20.9% were most concerned with privacy. Another one in five placed scalability at the top of their list of issues.

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