Arguably one of the biggest buzzwords of 2018, blockchain appears complicated when actually it is not. Simply put, it is a digital ledger no one can disrupt and all relevant information is known to all parties involved.  It fosters a new generation of transactions that establish  trust, accountability, and transparency--from contracts to deeds to  payments.

Why this is important?

Industry Impact: Blockchain represents the fundamental transaction technology for large complex ecosystems.

Enterprise Impact: Blockchain has the potential to disrupt the core of IT and its major digital processing systems. The last time this happened was with package software.

Blockchain is the technology underlying Bitcoin, but it is independent of it.  When you look at the technology in action you'll find a myriad of possibilities ranging from:

  • Intercompany Transactions: Interdepartmental ledgers and transactions; shared resources and assets
  • Asset Management: Ownership registers; bill of materials 
  • Assurance and Compliance: Tracking certified conflict-free diamonds; title or ownership management 
  • Transaction Support: Bitcoin exchanges
  • Commerce: M2M / IoT and mobile

In the commercial world Barclays has launched a number of blockchain initiatives involving tracking financial transactions, compliance and combating fraud. Maersk unveiled plans for a blockchain solution for streamlining marine insurance.  When you look at governments Dubai, Estonia, and South Korea are all using blockchain for public safety, public records, and even business registration.  

For SMB owners there are a slew of solutions, growing by the day, that you can leverage to bring blockchain to the core of your IT infrastructure.

Provence enables traceability in the supply chain, and the story of where products came from.  The platform is free for producers, and there is a monthly pricing model for both small retailers and large businesses.

Chain partners with companies to build, deploy, and operate blockchain networks that enable breakthrough financial products and services. Chain offers enterprise licensing and is designed to be developer friendly. Claim Core powers both financial transactions and issuance.

Loyyal introduces interoperability to the loyalty and rewards and uses blockchain to manage dynamic issuance and redemption of loyalty points.  Tracking points can be a headache for both consumers and retailers alike. 

There are a growing number of conferences on this topic and this year, the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin is hosting its first blockchain conference.  Jim Schneider, senior FinTech equity researcher for Goldman Sachs; and Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety for Wal-Mart, will present the two keynotes.

In a world of increasing distrust and polarization, blockchain at minimum offers the transparency we crave, and it may just transform the way we conduct business.