This article takes a look at how the world’s five largest public companies (according to the Forbes Global 2000 list in 2018) are using blockchain technology. 

1. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)

  • The largest bank in the world by total assets and the most valuable bank in the world by market capitalization since February 2017.
  • ICBC has filed a patent with the Chinese State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) that says it is hoping to improve the efficiency of certificate issuance using blockchain technology so that users do not have to repetitively file the same document to multiple entities, and which also has the benefit of streamlining the operation flow by allowing these entities to view authenticated encrypted documents (decrypted using users’s specific credentials).

2. China Construction Bank (CCB)

  • One of the “big four” banks in the People’s Repulic of China.
  • According to IBM’s press release on 20 September 2017, it is working with China Construction Bank (Asia) to develop of the first blockchain-enabled bancassurance (“an arrangement whereby a bank and an insurance company form a distribution partnership in which the sales associates of the bank can sell the insurance company’s products to the bank’s client base and through the bank’s channels”) project in Hong Kong.
  • Built on the IBM Blockchain Platform, this solution is designed to “to streamline CCB (Asia)’s bancassurance process and greatly enhance customer experience and the quality of services delivered through faster transaction processing time and increased transparency.”

3. JPMorgan Chase

  • The largest bank in the U.S. by total assets.
  • Its Blockchain Center of Excellence (BCOE) has developed Quorum™, an open-source (GPL/LGPL licensed) enterprise-focused version of Ethereum that has been designed to support “any application requiring high speed and high throughput processing of private transactions within a permissioned group of known participants.”
  • International Business Times said that “Quorum might be the missing link that inspires business giants to ask if they can join the cool kids for lunch.”

4. Berkshire Hathaway

  • Although the chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett, may be one of Bitcoin’s harshest critics, having called it “probably rat poison squared” as recently as 5 May 2018, its wholly-owned subsidiaries, such as BNSF Railway and the Richline Group, seem quite interested in exploring the cryptocurrency’s underlying blockchain technology.
  • BNSF Railway announced on 5 February 2018 that it had “become the first major U.S. railroad to join the Blockchain in Transport Alliance” (a group of more than 200 companies looking at the best ways to use digital ledger technology in the transport industry, and hoping to “establish blockchain standards in such areas as vehicle maintenance, quality control and fraud prevention”).
  • Richline Group said on 26 April 2018 that it was partnering with IBM to “develop blockchain technology to track the origin of jewelry and ensure it is ethically sourced.”

5. Agricultural Bank of China (ABC)

  • The third-largest bank in the world by total assets.
  • On 1 August 2017, it announced that with the help of Hyperchain Technologies (a Hangzhou-based blockchain startup), it had completed a blockchain-based loaning system (called “E-blockchain Loan”), which is designed to help small and medium-sized agricultural businesses that “are always troubled with credit loaning from traditional bank due to the lack of trustworthy credit record.”


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