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Majority of U.S. CFOs Don’t Expect to be Affected by Blockchain

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 1 min read

It would seem that many Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) believe blockchain and other fintech innovations will not affect their businesses.

Source: iStock/haveseen

Even those who do are slow to respond, according to a survey by the International Association of Financial Executives Institutes (IAFEI) and a group of partners including Duke University and Grenoble School of Management.

Although blockchain is widely expected to disrupt many business models over the next decade as a means of verifying ownership and allowing instant, secure, and low fee transactions, 78% of US CFOs expressed their disbelief in the possibility of their business being affected, according to the press release by the IAFEI.

Another 17% expect to be affected, although they have not adapted in response. Another 4% say they are working on blockchain adoption, and only 1% say they have already adopted blockchain. Apparently, only 3% have a professional understanding of blockchain.

European CFOs are slightly more advanced than their American counterparts: nearly 20% European CFOs say they understand blockchain technology well. This is a significant jump compared to the 8% who said they did two years ago. Asia boasts a total of 13% of CFOs with good understanding of the technology. Latin America also has 20% CFOs familiar with the technology, while Africa has 5%.

“The U.S. needs to wake up in the fintech space,” said Cam Harvey, a founding director of the survey, who teaches a blockchain innovation course at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. “China is doing nearly USD 10 trillion in mobile payments, while the U.S. is barely over USD 100 billion. Most of the big innovations over the past 25 years have originated in the U.S., but this time is different. There is a lot at stake and, right now, it looks like China will be eating our lunch.”

The survey generated responses from more than 600 CFOs, including nearly 300 from North America, 63 from Asia, 106 from Europe, 86 from Latin America and 47 from Africa.

USD 945 million was spent on blockchain solutions in 2017 and the spending is expected to grow on a robust rate, reaching USD 9.2 billion in total by 2021, according to the Worldwide Semiannual Blockchain Spending Guide, published by the International Data Corporation (IDC), a market intelligence firm.