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S&P 500 executives are dropping blockchain buzzwords less on earnings calls and during presentations to analysts and investors. Analysts are also asking about it less.

Expand chart
Data: Analysis of FactSet corrected transcripts; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Why it matters: The hype was just that. The odds of a company turning blockchain “headlines into reality” are slim, as Forrester Research predicts.

The prospect of incorporating blockchain technology or cryptocurrency into businesses excited investors and drove up share prices temporarily — just look at Kodak, beverage company Long Blockchain, or Hooters franchisee Chanticleer Holdings — so it's no wonder executives wanted shareholders to know that they too might get in on the new technologies.

  • At the peak earlier this year, “blockchain” was mentioned 173 times, according to an analysis of company transcripts by Axios. The number has since fallen as much as 80%.
  • Bitcoin was never as popular. Dropping that word or “cryptocurrency” was most common in the first quarter of this year — with a mere 68 mentions.

Bitcoin can’t exist without blockchain, but one is clearly less controversial than the other. If you buy the way IBM sells it, the benefits of blockchain in business include "reduced time," "decreased costs" and "alleviated risk."

  • Cryptocurrency, meanwhile, has loud critics plus a reputation for volatile trading.

Two corporate examples:

  1. IBM, which is responsible for over 70 mentions of "blockchain" in the first quarter of 2017, is throwing a lot of cash at the technology, with a 1,500 blockchain-specific staff. It even recruited Walmart.
  2. Then there's technology consulting company DXC Technology. Executives there dropped "blockchain" five times during a May earnings call, without offering any concrete plans of investment. The company hasn't mentioned it in the two earnings calls it has held since then, and did not respond to a request for comment.

Yes, but: That doesn't mean in all cases companies' that bought into the blockchain or bitcoin hype haven't followed through on their announcements.

Go deeper

48 mins ago - Technology
Column / Tech Agenda

The new digital extortion

Shoshana Gordon/Axios

If you run a hospital, a bank, a utility or a city, chances are you'll be hit with a ransomware attack. Given the choice between losing your precious data or paying up, chances are you'll pay.

Why it matters: Paying the hackers is the clear short-term answer for most organizations hit with these devastating attacks, but it's a long-term societal disaster, encouraging hackers to continue their lucrative extortion schemes.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC mask guidance sparks confusion, questions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The CDC's surprise guidance last week freeing the fully vaccinated to go maskless sowed plenty of concerns across the country— even earning the "Saturday Night Live" treatment for all the questions it spurred.

Why it matters: With plenty of Americans still unvaccinated — and without any good way to confirm who has been vaccinated — some experts worry this could put many at increased risk.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: Israel-Hamas aerial bombardments enter second week

A ball of fire and a plume of smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave, early on May 17. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

Israel and Hamas continued aerial bombardments into Monday morning, as fighting entered a second week.

Why it matters: The worst violence in the region since 2014 has resulted in the deaths of 197 people in Gaza, ruled by Hamas, and 10 in Israel. 58 Palestinian children and two Israeli children are among those killed since the aerial exchanges began on May 10, Reuters notes.