While blockchain is renowned as the underlying foundation for the crypto-currency Bitcoin, interest is bubbling up for blockchain across industries as entrepreneurs experiment with new use cases. Beyond financial services, healthcare IT sees promise, as does the Office of Finance for its record keeping and auditing needs. Beyond the benefits of blockchain is a reality to be faced by organizations: it’s another technology to manage in already fragmented enterprise environments.
As a CTO, I keep a keen eye on the new ways companies seek to harness the power of blockchain. According to GE, the marriage of the Industrial Internet and blockchain could have a huge economic impact globally and it forecasts that connected machines and the Industrial Internet could add $10 to $15 trillion to the global economy over the next two decades. With blockchain added to the mix, GE believes machines could order their own replacement parts.
What is blockchain and how can it be useful for businesses?
Blockchain is a public electronic ledger — with all the relevant benefits of a relational database. Unlike a relational database, however, it has some characteristics that make it significantly more beneficial for business-critical record keeping. It creates an unchangeable record of transactions; each one is time-stamped and linked to the previous one. Essentially, it’s a public ledger that securely and automatically verifies and records a high volume of transactions digitally. You can imagine that there are plenty of use cases for something that enables more secure and transparent monitoring of transactions.
One development to watch is in the area of supply chain management. Supply chains are a series of transaction nodes that are linked to move products from point A to point-of-sale or final deployment. With blockchain, as products move across a supply chain from manufacturing to sales, the transactions can be documented in a permanent decentralized record, thereby reducing time delays, costs and human errors. A recent entrant is Skuchain that builds blockchain-based products for the supply-chain finance market. And for Marine Transport International, blockchain builds trust in marine shipping with a ‘single version of truth.’
It’s still early days for blockchain for the enterprise and it almost feels like the Internet in the 1990s. At Magnitude, we’re watching out for new developments to help our customers harness accelerating data sources and connect to new technologies across heterogeneous environments so they can derive smarter insights.
What new ways or industries are you seeing where blockchain could be used? Let’s have a conversation – share your comments with me here.