Given the massive interest in this technology, increasing numbers of blockchain startup companies have been springing up each year and investment funding into these startups has grown from around one million U.S. dollars in 2012 to over one billion in 2017. In 2018 EOS, a blockchain protocol, generated a massive 4.2 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of investment in its initial coin offering. North America, and more specifically, the United States, currently leads the market in terms of venture capital funding, with numerous major firms investing millions each year. Although the United States is currently seen as the clear leader in terms of blockchain technology, China is expected to take over this role by the early 2020s. China’s spending on blockchain technology is nearly doubling each year, and an increasing number of Chinese startups are vying for shares of the country’s massive market.
A recent survey of European business decision-makers found that nearly 50 percent of them expected blockchain to add to their current businesses operating model, with another 33 percent stating that they expected blockchain to entirely replace their current operating model. Around 66 percent of global organizations have some level of interest in blockchain, with nearly 10 percent currently in the experimentation or deployment stage. The Automotive, Oil & Gas, and Life Sciences industries are some of the most affected, with over 70 percent of respondents from each expecting their industry to be disrupted by blockchain technology.
One major use of blockchain technology that has garnered perhaps the most attention is cryptocurrency, with the biggest name among these being Bitcoin. As of the fourth quarter of 2018, the Bitcoin blockchain had grown to nearly 200 gigabytes in size, and in the fourth quarter of 2017 Bitcoin reached an all-time high market cap of 237.6 billion U.S. dollars. Although Bitcoin is without a doubt the largest, other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Ripple have also carved out significant market shares for themselves. Many people believe that blockchain and its use in cryptocurrency technology could replace traditional monetary transactions in the future.