Blockchain is already a central part of many business operations around the world, but despite its importance in our global markets, many still are unaware of how it works or its true capabilities.
Blockchain can play many different roles for your organization, and it offers a unique advantage in those roles with regards to saving and storing data and demonstrating value across companies and industries. Creating a business strategy that envelops all of the different benefits that blockchain can create within an already sound, analytically driven structure will give companies strong advantages over their competitors.
Blockchain technology has many different steps and is extremely complex in the details of its operations but its basic purpose can be deduced much more simply. It is a shared ledger of transactions that protects each transaction stored there through the use of a digital signature, or hash, that is generated upon the logging of another transaction and is unique to each individual record. The specific details of every record are logged using algorithms that search the web for every external documentation of a particular transaction and then find a consensus which is written and then locked into the chain. The hash is automatically created immediately after; it is impossible to change any of the information in a blockchain record without the hash being updated.
The strategic uses for blockchain are numerous, as you would expect for a technology that standardizes digital processes in a world that is becoming increasingly more reliant on those processes. Blockchain provides a unified source of information that can also identify the creator of that information. And while not yet at its full potential, blockchain investment has been growing rapidly as use cases become more diverse and more evolved.
The first use cases for blockchain actually were related to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and other online tokens, and because those currencies boomed right as blockchain was becoming more commonplace, blockchain became associated rather strongly with them. That association was to blockchain’s detriment, to some extent, because it limited the way people thought about what we can see now as a transformative technology. As use cases continue to emerge, and we build out our business operations to include blockchain as a core competency, blockchain will become more well-rounded.
The basic use cases we already have for blockchain are numerous, with the benefitting industries including:
- Finance, through transparent governance systems, secure technology infrastructure, and the digitalization of financial processes that would bring lower costs and lower risk
- Energy, through increased process efficiency, easier distribution, and automated payment and billing
- Healthcare, through better data privacy, faster information sharing, and better drug authentication
- Entertainment, through the protection of digital content and intellectual property, and easier distribution of content across media franchises
As with any new technology or mainframe, it takes time to catch on and become more popular on a multi-industrial or multi-national level. Questions about blockchain have evolved from how useful it can realistically be to how much disruption it will eventually cause. Organizations have a responsibility to themselves and to their clients and stakeholders to start investigating the extent to which blockchain can ease and improve their operations and business models, and then to find ways to begin the integration of blockchain into their corporate infrastructure.
And because of the connective nature of blockchain, like any other technology that enables people to share with one another, such as telephones or the internet, its value grows as more and more people use it. As artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to drive us forward, the need for reliable and secure data will become more pressing. Blockchain can act as the platform upon which the transformation of the business world through data-driven analytics can occur.