The first-ever study of Atlanta’s blockchain ecosystem was released at the Technology Association of Georgia’s annual TAG Summit event in mid-February. The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business collaborated on the Blockchain Ecosystem Flash Report, authored by myself (on behalf of TAG) and Nishant Dass, Associate Professor of Finance at Scheller and Founder of The Blockchain Roundtable.
Ten years have passed since the launch of Bitcoin, which is the highest profile (and in the eyes of many, the most advanced) use case to date of blockchain technology. The Atlanta area company Bitpay was founded by Georgia Tech alumni in 2011 to help merchants accept Bitcoin as a form of payment- its success can certainly be credited with the birth of the blockchain technology ecosystem in Atlanta.
Most blockchain industry experts agree that further evolution of companies using this emerging technology will focus on roughly 90 different use cases applied across several major industries. The near-term momentum will be on cases that help users to realize costs savings, according to McKinsey & Company in its June 2018 paper, “Blockchain- Beyond the Hype.” This study goes on to suggest that industries such as agriculture, financial services, healthcare, property management, and the public sector will be the primary hot spots. Georgia is well positioned to play a significant role in the evolution of this space, given its status as a meaningful home to each of these hot-spot industries.
The TAG Blockchain Ecosystem Flash Report profiles over 20 companies leveraging blockchain technology to serve clients. Bakkt is a notable new local player, supported by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the Atlanta-based operator of the NYSE as well as several other futures and commodities markets. Bakkt raised $182 million in initial funding from investors including ICE, Starbucks, Microsoft, and BCG. Other notable early-stage Atlanta blockchain companies include Verady, Storj, Patientory, Yellow Card, HSBlox, Intuit Factory, Carmony, Provide, BitMinutes, Hayver, Supporter, Gramarye Media, Kava, Ternio, Mimir, TrustLogics, U42, Inxeption, and Citizens Reserve.
At Georgia Tech’s Blockchain Roundtable held in November 2018, several large Georgia-based corporations including UPS, General Electric’s GE Power division, and Chick-fil-A discussed their initial experiments with blockchain technology. Such mainstream interest demonstrates that traction extends well beyond the cryptocurrency segment. The ongoing initiatives of these market leaders will play a critical role in the sector’s evolution.
Stephen Pair, CEO of BitPay, also serves as chair of TAG’s Blockchain Working Group, which aims to further expand upon these initial efforts to foster growth and further reveal the depth of the blockchain ecosystem in Georgia.