Blockchain in Payments – Thematic Research

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Blockchain is a method of storing information that makes it very difficult to change the information or cheat the system. The technology can be seen as a digital record of transactions like a ledger that is decentralized, meaning that there is no central authority or intermediary (such as a government or a bank) to validate a transaction. Instead, transactions are shared (distributed) with all participants in a network on a P2P basis. Transactions are then validated using consensus methods and cryptographic techniques designed to ensure that no single entity can control the blockchain. Blockchain can thus facilitate trust among parties, allowing participants in the network to share a record of transactions securely even if they do not trust (or know) each other. Once a transaction has been added to the blockchain, it cannot be changed or removed.

The crypto market has experienced rapid growth in recent years, pushing Bitcoin to a new high. Despite still being the dominant cryptocurrency, its market share dropped from January 2020 to October 2021. This is due to the emergence of new blockchain networks such as Ethereum, which offer more flexibility than Bitcoin and are more suited to developing smart contracts and decentralized applications. 

There are a few essential features that make blockchain uniquely different from traditional databases including decentralization, cryptography, validation, and immutability. Some emerging economies are seeing strong adoption of cryptocurrencies among their population. This acceptance is motivated by the need to access cheaper solutions than traditional remittance platforms, as well as because cryptocurrencies are a convenient way to protect against inflation in a country where the local currency is devaluing.

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What are the market dynamics in Blockchain in Payments?

Technological Trends

A blockchain-based payment service is a decentralized payment system that runs on a blockchain network. It facilitates payment transactions by managing the network payment messaging, clearing, and settlement for international transactions in both fiat and cryptocurrencies. Financial institutions or retail customers could use a blockchain network as an alternative for payment transactions. They will be required to join a blockchain network that enables payment transactions between two participants or more. While transactions happen in real-time, participants can only make transactions with members of the same network.

Cryptocurrencies are the most well-known use case for blockchain technology. While most associate cryptocurrencies purely with Bitcoin, there are over 9,000 cryptocurrencies. The adoption of cryptocurrency is still found to be limited due to both its high volatility and being banned in many countries.

Macroeconomic Trends

The banking industry is gradually showing interest in blockchain technology. Financial institutions have either invested in blockchain technology itself or in cryptocurrencies. Despite the lack of regulations on cryptocurrencies, financial institutions have decided to invest in cryptocurrencies to satisfy their customers’ demands. Goldman Sachs has reportedly traded Bitcoin futures through digital asset platform Galaxy Digital. Goldman Sachs has also applied to the US Securities and Exchange Commission for crypto ETF licenses. 

Regulatory Trends

Blockchain technology, which can be used to develop RTP networks, is not regulated in most countries. The approach to the sector is still disjointed at a global level. Switzerland passed a new set of laws in 2020 in favor of blockchain, called the Blockchain Act; this should incentivize investments in the technology. But elsewhere, other countries are still considering a ban. The countries that are considering developing their own central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are researching its application and may impose restrictions on cryptocurrency usage while authorizing the development of blockchain technology. This is true of China, which is cracking down on the cryptocurrency sector but is very open to blockchain technology itself (including the development of BSN).

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What are the segments in the value chain of blockchain in payments industry?

The segments in the value chain of blockchain in payments industry include blockchain infrastructure, blockchain protocols, P2P networks, blockchain components, blockchain application and blockchain services. 

Blockchain infrastructure

The segment of the value chain includes the hardware, software, and services used to enable the operation of blockchain protocols and networks. The infrastructure required depends on the specific blockchain protocol and network type. For example, if mining is needed, how the nodes operate and the network requirements are dependent on the specific blockchain protocol (permissionless or permissioned), and the type of blockchain network (private, federated, hybrid, or public) used.

Blockchain protocols

Blockchain protocols provide the technological foundation of any blockchain system. They can be thought of as a foundational layer of code upon which blockchain networks and applications are built. They provide a predefined framework of rules that dictate how a blockchain operates.

P2P networks

Since blockchain protocols are purely code, they do not deliver much value without a corresponding network. The network layer – which for blockchain consists of a P2P network – is what brings blockchain to life by connecting participants to enable the sharing and verification of data. In a P2P network, the users themselves are responsible for maintaining the distributed network, as there is no central authority. While the P2P architecture is inherently distributed, it is important to note that there are varying degrees of decentralization. Not all P2P networks are decentralized. P2P blockchain networks can broadly be divided into four types: private, federated, hybrid, and public.

Blockchain components

The decentralized nature of blockchain means that different blockchain networks cannot directly connect to each other or external sources. Blockchain components are a middleware layer of tools, services, and optional components that enable the operation of blockchain applications and allow connections to other technologies and enterprise software. Most blockchain components attempt to solve some of the scalability, interoperability, and privacy issues that arise primarily with permissionless blockchains. The most common trade-off is the achievement of performance gains at the expense of decentralization.

Blockchain applications

Blockchain applications constitute the primary user interface for blockchain protocols and networks. They are the main driver of business value as they provide tangible products and services to end-users. Blockchain applications exist across different uses and verticals and work very similarly to well-known applications. For example, just as Dropbox and Google Drive provide centralized storage applications, Filecoin and Storj provide decentralized storage applications. Blockchain applications can be divided into three categories depending on market focus: consumer, enterprise, and infrastructure.

Blockchain services

For companies that want to explore using blockchain and do not have the expertise, it makes sense to be introduced to the subject by those that do. There are two main ways this can be done: using BaaS solutions or by working with advisors on how to improve one’s business using blockchain.

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Who are the key players in the blockchain theme of payments industry?

Accenture, Alibaba Group, Axoni, Bitt, Blockone, Coinbase, HSBC, ING, Ethereum, Hyperledger, R3, ConsenSys, Accenture, Wipro, Infosys, EY, Amazon, and IBM are some of the key players in blockchain theme of payments industry.

Market Report Scope

Segments in the value chain Blockchain Infrastructure, Blockchain Protocols, P2P Networks, Blockchain Components, Blockchain Application, and Blockchain Services
Keys Players Ethereum, Hyperledger, R3, ConsenSys, Accenture, Wipro, Infosys, EY, Amazon, IBM, HSBC, Facebook, Blockone, Kraken, and Oracle

This report is a thematic analysis of Blockchain in Payments. It provides: 


  • How blockchain will disrupt existing value chains in payments
  • The technological, macroeconomic, and regulatory factors that are driving blockchain in payments
  • Which providers are currently taking a lead in exploiting the opportunities afforded by blockchain

Reasons to Buy

  • Understand the impact of blockchain on the payments sector.
  • Find out where the growth opportunities are across the medium and long term.
  • Gain insight into coming regulatory changes that will affect blockchain within payments.
  • Find out how blockchain is being adopted as an alternative to traditional remittance providers.

Block One
JPMorgan Chase
Stellar Lumens

Table of Contents

| Contents

Executive Summary


Technology Briefing


Industry Analysis

Mergers and Acquisitions

Value Chain


Sector Scorecard


Further Reading

| Our Thematic Research Methodology

| About GlobalData

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