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IBM is a leader in blockchain research and developmentJung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

IBM has released a load of survey findings about banks, financial institutions and their enthusiasm for blockchain technology, with a headline figure of 65% that expect to be "in production" within three years. This is dramatically faster that initially expected, according to IBM.

Some 15% of banks and 14% of financial market institutions interviewed intend to implement full-scale, commercial blockchain solutions in 2017. Mass adoption isn't that far behind with roughly 65% of banks expecting to have blockchain solutions in production in the next three years.

The new IBM study, Leading the Pack in Blockchain: Banking Trailblazers Set the Pace is based on a survey of 200 global banks. A separate study, Blockchain Rewires Financial Markets: Trailblazers Take the Lead, is based on a survey of 200 global financial markets institutions.

Conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), the banking study revealed that more than 70% of trailblazers, or early adopters, are prioritising blockchain efforts in order to break down current barriers to creating new business models and reaching new markets.

These trailblazers are better positioned to defend themselves against all competitors, including those untraditional disruptors like start-up non-banks. For financial markets institutions, seven out of 10 trailblazers are focusing their blockchain efforts on four areas: clearing and settlement, wholesale payments, equity and debt issuance, and reference data.

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

Larger banks are leading the charge to embrace blockchain technology with trailblazers being twice as likely to be large institutions with more than 100,000 employees – not small start-ups or FinTech organizations. Additionally, 77% of these larger banks are retail banking organisations.

Trailblazers expect the benefits from blockchain technology to impact several business areas, including reference data (83%), retail payments (80%) and consumer lending (79%). When asked which blockchain-based new business models could emerge, 80% of banks surveyed identified trade finance, corporate lending and reference data as having the greatest potential.

The top barriers to success include regulatory constraints, immature technology and lack of clear return on investment.