Is Blockchain Right for Your Business?
At times of technological change and innovation, it can be a daunting task to decide which technologies to adopt. Companies don’t want to fall behind their competitors but they also don’t want to focus resources on a technology that will fail or become irrelevant in the future. In 1995 companies rushed to implement a technology that we now know would change the world — The Internet. Today, businesses are looking at blockchain as the next generation of business solutions.
What is Blockchain and What Changes Does it Represent?
Most people have been introduced to blockchain through cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, the term is still relatively new and sometimes cryptic. Blockchain is still considered to be a niche subject reserved for exclusive tech circles and only recently has there been more awareness from non-tech businesses and the general public of the capabilities of blockchain applications. This current perception has added to the mystery and the subject is often difficult to discuss without having to go into complex concepts. We believe that the simplest way of explaining the implications of blockchain technologies is to explain the problems that it solves:
Transparency — In an era of data manipulation and fraud, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with corporate transparency. Secrecy among the business world used to be a trick-of-the-trade but companies like eBay, Airbnb, and Uber introduced new systems that accelerated the process of public information sharing and gathering such as their mutual rating system. This information can be used to coordinate efforts and to make people accountable to others.
On the other hand, too much information can also hinder decision making within a company. However, blockchain applications can be developed to find a balance between public and private information. Platforms like NEM allow companies to deploy both types of ledgers from an easy to use interface. There are sectors within a company that would benefit greatly from greater transparency. i.e. supply chain, identity, and data management.
Privacy — Every day there are more cases of major data breaches and hackers stealing the information of millions of individuals. Data providers are vulnerable to hackers, bugs, and human error. When a database is breached, the intruder may have complete access to all the data on a server. Blockchains allows individuals to verify and exchange digital credentials without the risk of exposing private data unintentionally. The information stored on a blockchain is secured through state-of-the-art cryptography and its this same level of security that most businesses find attractive.
Centralization — A decentralized system is one in which lower components of an network operate on local information to complete global tasks. On the other hand, a centralized system is one in which a central power exercises full control over all the lower level components of an organism. Due to the ability to self-organize, decentralized systems have great advantages over their centralized counterparts.. We can see a decentralized system in the natural world when we look at a colony of ants.
Instead of being directed by other ants or being told where to find food, ants rely on the direct or indirect information and perception systems to collectively complete a global task. Most blockchains are inherently decentralized and their implementation can help improve other shortcomings of centralized systems such as lack of interoperability, redundancy, and single points of failure.
Can my business benefit from blockchain?
Even though blockchain applications bring great promise, they can be restrictive and difficult to maintain. Companies have the option of launching private blockchains, which they control, or public blockchains, which they do not. This means that there is always an element of trust placed in these systems.
Not all businesses should launch a blockchain. However, beyond launching a cryptocurrency or ICO, there is a range of applications, industries, and businesses that would benefit from the implementation of blockchain systems.
This is the industry that will be impacted the most and the fastest by blockchain and distributed ledgers. If you’ve used a bank in the 21st Century then you have experienced first hand the inefficiencies of the banking sector. Not only do blockchains allow instant p2p payments, they also allow autonomous commercial transactions and agreements with the use of smart contracts. By eliminating the added costs of a middleman to escrow transactions, blockchain and smart contracts will change how businesses transact.
Some use cases for blockchain systems in the financial sector include governance, remittance, share trading, digital assets, clearing & settlement, and accounting & auditing.
Due to globalization logistics management has evolved from a local affair to an incredibly complex operation. It’s remarkably difficult for the consumer to know the true value of the product they are purchasing. In addition, current systems create a lack of transparency with regard to where products originated and which middlemen might have handled them along the way. The inefficiencies are apparent as we try to connect the dots between supplier and vendors.
Public blockchains are able to record data across multiple nodes. Once the data is recorded, it can’t be tampered with or removed. Additionally, they can be easily tracked by anyone with the right transaction information. This makes them highly transparent and decentralized. Ultimately, blockchain systems can increase the efficiency and transparency of any supply chain.
Some use cases for blockchain systems in the logistic sector include governance, auditing, regulation & compliance, product tracking, and supply chain management.
Even though healthcare isn’t the first industry that comes to mind when we talk about blockchain, it is one that is riddled with inefficiencies. One of the most obvious problems is the lack of security. A few days ago on September 13, 2018, a Ransomware attack breached over 40K patient records in Hawaii. The healthcare sector continues to be a profitable market for hackers.
Applications can be developed for the medical sector that is powered by blockchain for the purpose of storing medical records, managing consent, and clearing micropayments. Blockchain puts the power back into the users’ hands and gives them complete control over their data. It could even improve the level of care given to patients. Additionally, a breach is less likely to expose other user’s data when using blockchain systems.
Some use cases for blockchain systems in the healthcare sector include medical history tracking such as genetic profile, demographic, and past treatments. Another example is of a blockchain based identity to provide patients a level of privacy when getting treatment and making payments.
I want to launch a Blockchain, What do I do?
The first step prior to launching is to consult with an expert to determine if your project is well-suited for blockchain implementation. You can reach out to one of our specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will walk you through the entire process.
Below is a list of our services:
Application development (wallets, explorer, SPV, and faucets)
DEX Implementation / Atomic Swaps