Energy giant BP would consider partnering with blockchain startups that are doing initial coin offerings, and it's even tested tokens internally, an executive said Wednesday.
Speaking at the Blockchain Expo in London, Julian Gray, the technology director for BP's digital innovation organization, voiced a common theme: non-financial enterprises are perhaps more open to open-blockchain innovation that their financial-services counterparts.
"We haven't done anything with public chains yet. But that doesn't mean we won't. We have done proof of concepts using tokens internally, transferring value."
Inside BP, he said, there's a lot of education that needs to be done. But there is a handful of people at the company, formerly known as British Petroleum, now who realize that blockchains, even the open kind, are not merely "hacker territory."
Gray said that while his own innovation department is robustly funded, he is open to working with others that have gone the ICO route.
"Would we partner with people who are doing this stuff? Yes, I think so," he said. "Not right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if we did."
The session moderator, Lewis Cohen, a partner at the law firm Hogan Lovells, said it was interesting to hear someone from a company like BP say this.
While the financial services industry has shown a lot of resistance to anything having to do with ICOs or public chains, that's not the case in the wider enterprise world, Cohen said, where he's found players are more amenable to the token route to funding innovation.
"This technology is out the gate and it's clearly going somewhere and at some point we will interact with it."
Speaking to CoinDesk after the panel, Gray said: "I have been looking at this for a long time and I don't believe in taking the view that ICOs are terrible, like we have heard from many people.
"However, I would stress that is my view - and not necessarily the view of BP," he said.