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Blockchain: Hype or Business Innovator?
Blockchain has created great hype in the market as the technology behind Bitcoin. However, its ability to accelerate operational processes and improve collaboration with partners offers much broader potential. But with few use case examples from industries outside of cryptocurrency, businesses are unsure how to implement the technology successfully.
Blockchain is based on distributed ledger technology and stores one, unchangeable version of a transaction. This helps maintain truth in data and establishes trust between participants – even when they do not know each other. As blockchain technology is decentralized, the geographical location of participants is also not important and companies can collaborate easily. So why isn’t blockchain more widely adopted as a trusted business solution?
Transparent but Secure
Many companies are hesitant to integrate blockchain into their business models as it appears challenging to implement the technology in a way that maintains privacy and security. However, while cryptocurrencies reside on a public ledger and can be viewed by anyone with an internet connection, blockchains can also be made private or permissioned.
In a private blockchain, a consortium has control over who has access to a ledger and can direct how transactions take place. A transaction is validated by the consortium, not the public, meaning it can be trusted. Additional advantages include speed, flexibility, and control. This is ideal for businesses looking to use blockchain technology in their operations or for smart contracts. In a permissioned blockchain, control of a ledger is also shared and the data is validated by multiple parties involved in the consortium. This prevents possibilities for fraud or falsehood while maintaining transparency. As blockchain technology becomes more secure, an increasing number of industries are likely to adopt it.
“To provide true business value, blockchain needs to be integrated into all relevant business processes.”
Automation and Adaptability
There is a promising outlook for the use of blockchain in the logistics and goods industry particularly due to its potential to automate traceability. Currently, a customer has to trust that the production history, origin, and expiry date of produce is just as the vendor claims. The vendor has to trust the wholesaler, the wholesaler has to trust the freighter, the freighter the producer – and so on. Automating traceability ensures verification and trust along the whole supply chain.
To provide true business value, blockchain needs to be integrated into all relevant business processes. This is easily facilitated by combining blockchain with other technologies – for example IoT or an IT solution such as SAP Leonardo. This adaptability broadens industry opportunities for blockchain as it can be used for digital identification, security of healthcare data, smart grids, and much more.
Innovating Blockchain for Business
At NTT DATA Business Solutions, we are open for co-innovation projects in the area of blockchain, and we are already detecting a lot of curiosity among our customers. NTT DATA Business Solutions is part of NTT DATA who joined the Hyperledger project early on. Developments from projects such as these will help create a portfolio of use cases that demonstrate blockchain as a trusted business aid. This should see blockchain technology adopted into many industries in the future.