The most well-known Blockchain application currently is the virtual currency Bitcoin. While the terminologies and concepts behind how Bitcoins are created, or "mined," the anonymous nature of the creator(s) of the platform, the volatility of the exchange rate between Bitcoins and established national currencies, make many people distrustful and suspicious of the value of the Bitcoin currency. However, the underlying technology on which Bitcoin is built, the Blockchain, has vast potential to disrupt the way transactions happen and how we verify information, and accordingly, how we trust that what individuals and organizations claim is true is verified as being true.
The concept of the Blockchain is a peer-to-peer decentralized database that stores an encrypted registry of assets and transactions, creating the potential for an ultra-secure, highly versatile way of verifying ownership, transactions and other information that requires independent verification. The possible applications of Blockchain are numerous and may fundamentally alter how a large portion of business transactions occur. This would, for example, enable consumers to verify supply chains of components used in the production of the goods they purchase, in turn enabling companies to verifiably demonstrate ethical supply chains and business practices to their customers. It would enable food producers to show fair-trade or organic ingredients and enable consumers to know the origin of their food. Beyond supply chain applications, it can enable distributed cloud storage, decentralized exchanges that facilitate transactions without an intermediary institution, the managing of digital identity, which reduces the possibility of fraud and identity theft as well as enabling applications such as digital voting, smart contracts that self-execute under predetermined conditions, and many other applications. In short, the development of the Blockchain will revolutionize transactions, enabling even the smallest transactions - like the purchasing of a song on a digital music service, to be easily recorded and verified.
While the Blockchain may give greater security for transactions - reducing one of the biggest threats to business today - the flip side to the verifiability of every transaction and data about transaction is that, consumers will demand greater transparency from companies as to their supply chains and hold them to higher standards of ethical practices within supply chains that they may not directly control.
As the transition to Blockchain occurs, there is the real possibility that consumers will adopt this technology for transactions faster than many incumbent businesses will. If this is the case then transactions may shift away from such businesses at a rapid pace, causing shifts in the market dynamics of many industries.
How will Blockchain impact your business?
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NASDAQ: Six blockchain applications