The blockchain industry has changed a lot since 2017. In the market's nascent days, people primarily invested in blockchain through digital currencies — such as Bitcoin — and security tokens. These kinds of investments could be lucrative but came with a great deal of risk.
Today, that narrative has changed. Everyday investors can now participate in the blockchain growth story via listed companies, many of which have been developing blockchain products at breakneck speeds.
Selling blockchain means profit
For many listed technology companies, adopting blockchain technology is a no-brainer. Blockchain can be utilized to build cutting-edge tools, and these tools can increase operational efficiency, reduce operational costs, and simplify advanced supply chains.
That's why we're seeing more and more technology giants create and market their own blockchain "packages" or BaaS (blockchain-as-a-Service).
Such products target enterprise customers interested in blockchain technology, and as the market has grown such technology has become incredibly lucrative. While North America is still the largest market for BaaS, the Asia-Pacific region is the fastest-growing market. The overall BaaS market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15% until 2024.
That is great news for investors in Asian markets. Here, I'll take a look at two companies innovating with blockchain, with both being market leaders when it comes to BaaS.
Hong Kong-listed Tencent Holdings Ltd (SEHK:700), a Chinese online gaming giant and messaging operator that owns the ubiquitous WeChat, started working with blockchain technology in 2017.
Tencent announced plans to build a suite of blockchain services dubbed "TrustSQL". TrustSQL will be a BaaS platform. The company has also signed a letter of intent with American-based Intel, with the goal of developing blockchain-integrated solutions together.
And targeting enterprise customers is a good play for Tencent. With its dominance in the Asian market, Tencent has a wide network of enterprise customers to market too. Beyond that, it should be fairly easy for the Chinese giant to acquire new customers as an interest in blockchain technology picks up.
Other corporations have also seen the value of providing this kind of cutting-edge service. In America, IBM has been investing heavily in its blockchain service Hyperledger, with Quartz estimating that IBM's annual investment in blockchain technology tops US$160 million a year.
Another Asian company chasing blockchain profits is Korean giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (OTC:SSNLF).
While Samsung is approaching blockchain from two angles, with both a cryptocurrency and an enterprise tool, the enterprise tool is what investors should be taking note of. Samsung announced its enterprise-focused blockchain tool Nexledger in 2017.
According to Samsung's website, Nexledger Universal will provide "standardized service API by integrating a wide variety of blockchain consensus algorithms."
This sort of platform will allow enterprise customers to use Samsung's blockchain platform when developing their own blockchain-based tools. Through this platform, Samsung would be able to court enterprise clients in Korea and beyond.
It's more than apparent that blockchain technology is here to stay. The overall market is anticipated to be worth US$23 billion by 2023 – a value that will only increase as more corporations embrace blockchain start-ups and develop their own blockchain tools.
That considered, it makes sense that corporations are trying to profit through their own BaaS tools. Both Samsung and Tencent have an early start infiltrating this market. Their vast networks allow them to target a range of enterprise clients.
So if you're looking to profit from blockchain (without cryptocurrency or security tokens), then established companies like Tencent and Samsung offer you a great avenue to access the market.
A version of this article originally appeared on our Fool Asia site. For more coverage like this head over to Fool.hk.en.