Banking and financial markets are adopting commercial blockchain solutions more rapidly than initially expected, with about 65% of banks planning to have blockchain solutions in production in the next three years, according to two studies by IBM.

The study gathers data from IBM study "Leading the Pack in Blockchain Banking: Trailblazers Set the Pace that is based on a survey of 200 global banks, and a second IBM study "Blockchain Rewires Financial Markets: Trailblazers Take the Lead that is based on a survey of 200 global financial markets institutions.

Of those surveyed, 15% of banks and 14% of financial market institutions said that they plan to implement full-scale, commercial blockchain solutions in 2017.

Over 70% of trailblazers, or early adopters, in the banking study said that they are prioritising blockchain to break down existing barriers to creating new business models and reaching new markets.

In the case of financial markets institutions, seven out of 10 trailblazers surveyed said that they are focusing their blockchain efforts on areas of clearing and settlement, wholesale payments, equity and debt issuance, as well as reference data.

The study further unveiled that larger banks are leading the charge to embrace blockchain with trailblazers being twice as likely to be large institutions with more than a hundred thousand employees. Also, 77% of these larger banks are retail banking providers.

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Further, 83% of banks said trade finance, corporate lending and reference data had the greatest potential with blockchain.

Meanwhile, 56% of respondents said that the biggest impediment to success in this regard was regulatory constraints, while 54% cited immature technology, and 52% cited lack of clear return on investment as the biggest challenge.

IBM Banking and Financial Markets global industry general manager Likhit Wagle said: "There are many advantages to being an early adopter of blockchain technology.

"To start, first movers are setting business standards and creating new models that will be used by future adopters of blockchain technology. We're also finding that these early adopters are better able to anticipate disruption, fighting off new competitors along the way."