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Deloitte 2021 Global Blockchain Survey: Global Financial Services Industry Undergoing Seismic Shift; Banks Must Embrace Inevitable Digital Future

Disruption prompting industry to replace traditional practices and generate new sources of revenue, growth

NEW YORK, Aug. 19, 2021 — As COVID-19 and the proliferation of digital everything profoundly changed how the world operates, Deloitte’s fourth annual “Global Blockchain Survey" finds that the financial services industry (FSI) must accelerate toward product modernization and distribution to achieve economic growth. In fact, 73% of respondents fear their organizations will lose competitive advantage if they fail to adopt blockchain and digital assets, and 76% believe that the end of physical money is near, with digital assets replacing fiat currencies in the next five to 10 years. Despite these challenges, there is shared optimism about future revenue opportunities from blockchain, digital assets and cryptocurrency solutions. FSI pioneer respondents offer the greatest confidence, with 93% strongly or somewhat agreeing and 80% each for FSI overall and all survey respondents.

“In the last year, we’ve seen a significant shift in how the global financial ecosystem is thinking about new business models fueled by digital assets, and how this is playing a meaningful role in financial infrastructure,” said Linda Pawczuk, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and global and U.S. blockchain and digital assets leader. “The Deloitte 2021 ‘Global Blockchain Survey’ shows that the foundation of banking has been fundamentally outlived and financial services industry players must redefine themselves and find innovative ways to create economic growth in the future of money.”

In a departure from previous versions that focused on blockchain’s utility and general adoption, this year’s “Global Blockchain Survey” looks at how digital assets — enabled by blockchain technologies — are disrupting the financial services industry globally.

Key survey findings
The “2021 Global Blockchain Survey” finds that global FSI leaders see digital assets and their underlying blockchain technologies as a strategic priority now and in the near future. Nearly 80% of overall respondents say that digital assets will be very/somewhat important to their respective industries in the next 24 months. Eighty-one percent strongly agree that blockchain technology is broadly scalable and has achieved mainstream adoption.

As this shift to digital continues to accelerate industry-wide transformation, financial services organizations must find new business models. Custody (45%), new payment channels (42%) and diversification of investments/portfolios (41%) stand apart as leaders among potential use cases for overall survey respondents. Just as with safekeeping and transacting money, lending and capital formation are in for an upgrade, as new approaches address a growing appetite for more efficient ways to secure funding. With this, 36% of overall respondents say that access to funding sources will serve as the largest area of digital asset impact to their respective organization.

In addition, the survey’s findings also support the use of digital assets to simplify payments which is currently a very fragmented and complex process. Some 43% of FSI respondents say that new payment options represent a “very important” role for digital assets in their organizations. Among FSI pioneers, that figure jumps to 63% — virtually tied for first within that group.

The shared optimism over the potential of blockchain, digital assets and cryptocurrency solutions is not without obstacles, however. Approximately 6 in 10 overall survey respondents — and seven in 10 FSI pioneers — identified regulatory barriers among the biggest obstacle to acceptance of digital assets. Security concerns also rise to the top of the list: Nearly 70% of overall survey respondents identified the regulation of data security as needing the greatest modification, and 71% of overall survey respondents identified cybersecurity among the biggest obstacles to acceptance.

“As digital asset disruption rapidly changes the marketplace, global financial services are striving to reinvent themselves, creating businesses to generate new sources of revenue,” said Richard Walker, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and U.S. financial services industry blockchain leader. “Opportunities for real change in several areas of the global financial markets exist for those players that explore new ways to harness the power of blockchain technology and digital assets to reimagine their business models.”

Survey methodology
Deloitte conducted the “2021 Global Blockchain Survey” between March 24 and April 10, 2021, with a sample of 1,280 senior executives and practitioners in 10 locations: Brazil, mainland China, Germany, Hong Kong special administrative region, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States.

The Survey respondents are grouped into three categories:

  • Overall: All survey participants across select industries, including FSI; government and public services; technology, media and telecommunications; and life sciences and health care.
  • FSI overall: Senior executives in FSI.
  • FSI pioneers: Senior executives that have identified blockchain and digital assets as a top five strategic priority and already deployed blockchain solutions into production or integrated digital assets into their core business activities.

Deloitte collaborates with clients and policy makers on how blockchain and digital assets are changing the face of business and government today. New ecosystems are developing blockchain-based infrastructure and solutions to create innovative business models and disrupt traditional ones. This is occurring in every industry and in most jurisdictions globally. Deloitte’s deep business acumen and global industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, risk and financial advisory services help organizations across industries achieve their varying blockchain aspirations.

The full report can be found here.

About Deloitte
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500® and more than 7,000 private companies. Our people come together for the greater good and work across the industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthier society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them. Building on more than 175 years of service, our network of member firms spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s more than 330,000 people worldwide connect for impact at www.deloitte.com


Alison Cizowski
Public Relations
Deloitte Services LP
+1 781 820 2527

Tracey Parry
Public Relations
Deloitte Services LP
+1 408 704 2417

Daniel Mucisko
Public Relations
Deloitte Services LP
+1 973 602 4126

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