Warren Buffett in his office in Omaha, Nebraska, on August 4, 2015 — (Photo by: David A. Grogan/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) Love it or hate, the biggest companies in the world just can’t ignore blockchain any longer. The distributed ledger technology that first let owners of the bitcoin cryptocurrency exchange value without a bank has forced its way into the research and development halls of the ten largest companies in the world.

Based on the Forbes’ Global 2000 list of the largest public companies in the world, published today, corporations as diverse as the largest in the world, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, investing giant Berkshire Hathaway, and computer giant Apple are all in various stages of exploring the technology. But that doesn’t mean they’re blockchain believers.

Most of the companies have been very quiet about their work so far, seemingly choosing to let smaller companies chase after step-by-step updates in media headlines, while they let scraps about their own project slowly trickle out, punctuated by the occasional trash-talk. Nevertheless, that each of the companies at the top of this list based on a composite score considering revenue, profits, assets and market value are exploring blockchain is a testament to how much the technology has captured the imagination of pretty much every industry.

At the very top of the list, for the second year in a row, is the imposing Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), with $165 billion in sales, and total assets of $4.2 trillion. After previously denying claims that the government-owned bank was working with the Tzero blockchain-powered stock exchange, we got our first glimpse at what the giant bank might actually be up to earlier this year.

In a patent filed with China’s State Intellectual Property Office, ICBC described an idea for using blockchain technology to verify digital certificates using a blockchain, instead of a trusted central authority, according to a CoinDesk report. While nothing else has been publicly revealed about the bank’s mysterious blockchain research, the plans are reminiscent of other blockchain efforts that seek to place stock certificates on a blockchain instead of in the safes of Central Securities Depositories around the world. Read more from forbes.com…

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