For the next few years, Bitcoin and blockchain were virtually synonymous. It wasn’t until around 2014, when Ethereum and other second generation blockchains were developed, that the concepts became truly independent.
So, what is blockchain, and why is there so much hype? How is it being used and what does it mean for you and your business? And is now the time for you to do something with blockchain?
Before we look at some specific examples, it’s useful to understand one particular aspect of blockchain… an aspect that makes it revolutionary and explains why everyone is getting so excited.
It’s all to do with the concept of trust.
The internet has made global communication extremely easy in terms of distributing information, but extremely difficult in terms of establishing the truth. In any commercial context, some central authority is required (the NYSE, a government department, a corporation, a central records office) to hold the master copy of information and be the final arbiter in any dispute.
This is a fundamental departure from the status quo and means commercial activity can now take place without the need for intermediaries and central authorities.
This presents obvious opportunities for dramatically simplifying business processes.
For example, by removing the need for trusted intermediaries, and even for transforming the value chains of whole industries.
Moreover, because the record is distributed, permanent and cannot be changed, it is extremely resilient to cyber-attack. Consequently, there is a high level of trust – not just between all the parties involved but also in the shared data itself.
And, in the insurance industry, EY have launched a marine insurance solution (using the Guardtime KSI blockchain).
Enabling IoT devices to participate in blockchain transactions opens up entirely new ways to automate processes across the supply chain:
So, what should you do now?
Whatever your business, you need to be learning about and working with these new distributed ledger technologies.
Yes, there’s a lot of hype surrounding blockchain, but this really is a case of no smoke without fire.
It is going to change your industry!
The time to get started is now and the best way to get started is to experiment…
If you’re still unconvinced by the potential impact of blockchain, I would recommend reading Blockchain Revolution by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott …or, of course, reaching out to email@example.com.