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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

3 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.