Of the 10 largest listed companies in the world, 8 are blockchain masters and build a wide range of products using distributed ledger technology originally popularized by Bitcoin. Those blockchain fans are so absent: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Tim Cook’s Apple. The 4,444 survey results are based on Forbes’ annual list of the 2000 largest public companies in the world, based on sales, earnings, assets, and market value. The bottom line is that half of the top 10 companies on the list are included in the Forbes 50 Blockchain of the Year. The number one company on the list is once again the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which is owned by the Chinese government. The bank now has 30 blockchain apps that can track healthcare, charitable donations, and more.
Although Apple (ranked No. 6) and Berkshire Hathaway (ranked No. 3) have both publicly ventured into blockchain, their work seems to be at an early stage and on the defensive so far. Are you giving up the technological revolution?
It is most surprising that Apple almost completely ignores the blockchain. He created all the smartphone and tablet industries, and led the connection of these devices with the global economy through products such as Apple Pay (with 500 million iPhone users) and Apple Card issued by Goldman Sachs (26th in the world in 2000). .. Last year, former Goldman Sachs executive and Bitcoin bullish Raoul Pal may be excited to speculate about what it means if Apple transfers part of its $200 billion in funds to Bitcoin. The previous year, Apple Pay VP Jennifer Bailey provocatively stated that cryptocurrencies have “long-term potential.”
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The only reliable evidence of Apple’s work in the blockchain field is patents and SEC documents. In February 2016, Apple applied for an early blockchain patent that uses blockchain to “mark” time on digital documents so they can be more accurately tracked and can help prevent fraud. Five years ago, this patent caused a sensation in the media, but now IBM (ranked 60th), Xerox and other companies have applied for similar patents, and the project is almost as white bread-like as blockchain. In a world dominated by open source technology, this may be just a defensive measure.
In 2019, Apple submitted a report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission detailing its “support” for the development of blockchain guidelines for the responsible nonprofit business alliance, which is a supply chain alliance. global that aims to eliminate its sales materials used to support the war effort. In the past three years, there has been no public disclosure of Apple’s involvement in this matter, and the company has not responded to multiple requests for more information.
It is tempting that Apple hired Jeff Bronikowski, the former head of new technology at Warner Music Group in February 2020, who assisted Warner Music in the early use of irreplaceable tokens, including an investment in Dapper Labs. Recently valued at 2.6 billion U.S. dollars. Bronikowski has also been exploring how fans can tip their favorite musicians with cryptocurrency. Apple has ignored repeated requests for clarification on whether Bronikovsky continues to have these interests in Apple.
There are several possible possibilities as to why Tim Cook and Apple may abandon blockchain. First, Apple Pay aims to solve many of the problems that cryptocurrencies solve, including slow transactions and difficulty in making retail purchases on a global scale. Although payment channels like PayPal and Square have accepted Bitcoin, they also allow customers to buy and hold assets, more as an investment tool rather than a means of payment. Apple may be cautious about this. .
Second, for better or worse, Apple has established its own name on a closed network. Microsoft (No. 15) is a great leader in blockchain, and they made a fortune by writing software that can run on any number of interchangeable hardware vendors. As we all know, Apple products are difficult to disassemble and cannot work well with other products. These features are inconsistent with the open source spirit of the blockchain. Chapter
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If Apple’s lack of blockchain work is surprising, then frankly Berkshire Hathaway has some even more shocking relationship to it. Respected Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett called Bitcoin “rat poison squared”, and in May, his right-hand man Charlie Munger declared that he “hated” the success of Bitcoin, calling it “with the interests of civilization against it.” .
However, in April 2018, Richline Group, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Jewelry, made a big splash. IBM announced that it would work with jewelry giants Asahi Refining and Helzberg Diamonds to use blockchain to track the flow of gems and ensure they are not from past conflicts. of the financing of the mine. Since then, there have been few signs of the plan and an IBM spokesperson confirmed that it no longer exists.
In December 2019, ShelterZoom, a New York-based smart contract company, announced a partnership with real estate brokerage firm Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Professional Realty. They intend to transfer the real estate documentation to the shared ledger. Efforts to reach ShelterZoom for updates were unsuccessful.
Although Apple and Berkshire Hathaway are completely different companies, they have at least one thing in common: near hegemonic power and control over multiple levels of their supply chain.
Blockchain represents the power to open shared networks for public use. Many of the world’s largest companies have embraced the effectiveness of moving workflows to these distributed ledgers. But Apple and Berkshire Hathaway appear to be the opposite. They are so large that they created and thrive in their own independent solar system. Unlike using shared networks to save money, these two giants just need to rely on their own gravity to allow others to keep doing things the old way.

By Peter

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