The Bank of America has estimated that blockchain could be a $7 billion market and provide a major boost to corporate giants such as Microsoft and Amazon.
While BoA’s analysts refrained from putting “a time stamp” on the industry becoming a major, multi-billion dollar addressable market, they reportedly based their estimates on a ballpark figure that two percent of corporate servers would be used to run blockchain at a cost of $5,500 annually.
BoA research analyst Kash Rangan told CNBC that the technology is well-suited to some of the world’s largest corporations, noting for example that:
"Amazon will benefit from incremental cloud services demand from Blockchain implementation, while improved supply chain tracking should make Amazon's retail operations more efficient."
Rangan emphasized, however, that while many potential use cases for blockchain have been widely recognized, “full products/services have not yet been built out and are not used in production," leaving the technology’s capacity to generate real-world capital still unproven.
Rangan added that the innovation of distributed ledger systems could take so-called "software as a service" (SaaS) models to the next level by implementing "blockchain as a service” (BaaS). Rangan chose Microsoft’s popular blockchain-based Azure platform as a salient example, stating:
"BaaS on Azure offers services such as smart contracts and other third party apps, and should benefit as use of blockchain on Azure increases."
Among other high-profile beneficiaries poised to benefit from blockchain, BoA included Oracle, IBM, Salesforce.com, and VMware, as well as major players from the real estate and mortgage industries such such as Redfin, Zillow, and Lendingtree.
Notably, many of the firms recognized by BoA have already made major forays into the blockchain space.
Fresh data published late August revealed that IBM is vying with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba for the top spot on a new list ranking global entities by the number of blockchain-related patents they have filed to date. This summer, tech giant IBM closed a seminal five-year $740 million deal with the Australian government to use blockchain to improve data security and automation across federal departments.
Microsoft, for its part, first announced the launch of its Ethereum-based Azure cloud computing platform as early as 2015, and continues to improve on the product. Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) cloud platform this spring introduced a framework for Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric that allows users to build and manage their own blockchain-powered decentralized applications (DApps).