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Based on the analysis, the entire total addressable market for blockchain will eventually hit $7 billion, though the analysts did not “attempt to put a time stamp” on it, as the technology is not yet widely adopted.
The potential beneficiaries could marry blockchain with existing cloud computing operations and improve supply chain operations, according to Bank of America research analyst Kash Rangan.
“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 said in a note to clients Tuesday. The estimates assume that 2 percent of servers will be used to run blockchain, at $5,500 per server, per year.
Blockchain is a software protocol that underpins cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Also called distributed ledger technology, it shares data on a distributed, secure, and unalterable ledger in a way that “databases have not been able to in the past,” Rangan said. Walmart became one of the first retailers to provide a near-term use case, and said last week it would require lettuce suppliers to upload data about their foods to blockchain within a year.
While it’s not being used in many other consumer instances yet, blockchain could improve existing parts of “software as a service” or SaaS. Microsoft’s Azure for example, could rely on what Rangan called “blockchain as a service” or “BaaS,” on its popular cloud computing platform.
“BaaS on Azure offers services such as smart contracts and other third party apps, and should benefit as use of blockchain on Azure increases,” Rangan said.
To be sure, Bank of America said there are a wide range of blockchain estimates out there, and its money-making ability is still unproven.
“Many blockchain use cases have been identified, but full products/services have not yet been built out and are not used in production,” Rangan said.