Source: Looking beyond the hype of blockchain: A business guide – The Block

Blockchain has long been a buzzword that has been drifting throughout the technology space with little understanding for those not in the know. However, in 2018 a lot more is understood about the technology and the mainstream has finally started to recognise its potential. With countless successful business cases due to the implementation of the blockchain, the technology has built quite the reputation for itself. Examples of integration have become apparent in the not-so-obvious industries rather than the usual updates from the fintech companies. Revolutionary developments in the marketing and advertising industry, as an example, has left many business leaders with the craving to integrate the technology as part of their own endeavours.

However, blockchain is a very complex technology and it’s important decision makers understand what it is, how it works and how it could affect a business before jumping on the ‘bandwagon’ and implementing it without research.

Blockchain was originally introduced in 1991 to prevent tampering of digital documents. However, due to a limited uptake it wasn’t till 2009 when bitcoin came into the picture and launched blockchain to where it is today. What makes blockchain so revolutionary is its ability to encrypt and secure data once it has been recorded; making it very difficult to tamper with. This singular aspect makes the technology particularly attractive for many industries who value security as a priority.

Despite the praise blockchain has received over the past few years, a large number of projects still fail, who have set out to reach their objectives using the blockchain. It is not a case of the blockchain not being ready, the technology is very effective and works. The problem therefore lies with those in charge of the implementation, and this usually comes down to a lack of understanding of their business needs as well as the technology itself.

Improving collaboration with blockchain

Firstly, a business should look to analyse its own situation to pinpoint which parts are in need of attention or reinvention. Collaboration within a business is usually an area of interest to refresh as businesses continue to look for ways to innovate and increase employee productivity. In this case, blockchain technology has the potential to provide the perfect solution to achieve enhanced collaboration.

The blockchain doesn’t disrupt databases, but it disrupts how databases get synchronised between each other. A single ledger of transaction entries means that both parties involved have access to the document in question simply. The coordination and validation efforts therefore become straightforward because there is always a single version of records. By improving the collaboration between records, without compromising security in the slightest improves workflow and productivity. After all, employee productivity is paramount to a successful business, without it organisations lose creative innovation which impairs their ability to stay relevant, competitive and profitable.

Stay secure with blockchain

The next thing to consider would be the most threatening aspect to your business – data security. However, if the most threatening aspect is a cyber data breach which has the power to expose sensitive customer information then blockchain would seem an ideal solution. Blockchain technology provides a business with complete control over how, when, what and who can access company data.

The blockchain technology in this case, will allow a business to collaborate effectively and efficiently, securely sharing trusted data with full auditability and accountability without a second thought. Company confidence when handling its customers data will also prove profitable in terms of competing with rival business who perhaps don’t have the same level of security in place.

Payment processes with blockchain

Blockchain technology first gained notoriety because of the use of cryptocurrencies in 2009 when Bitcoin integrated the technology to completely revolutionised the way currency is handled online. It is also a pivotal point where blockchain established itself as a major player in the industry and since been well renowned for its integration. The third and final guidepoint therefore refers to the transaction of secure payments.

Once the payment process in a business is perfected, this can open up new sources of liquidity for the business. A blockchain-run payment processor would provide companies with nearly instant, diverse ways to use their cryptocurrency assets, allowing for improved liquidity and decreased liability. Afterall, streamlined payments improve internal efficiency and automation. And as more companies adopt crypto and blockchain technology as part of their payment processes, exchanging between other businesses is also going to become more effective and streamlined.

Just like any innovation, little was understood about blockchain when it was first introduced but has since been recognised for its ability to disrupt other areas in ways it was far from intended for.

2018 seemed to be the year of this widespread implementation and ‘hype’, and it’s important, as a business, to look beyond the craze and understand what the technology could really enhance your daily operations. Increasing internal collaboration, the protection of sensitive customer data and the process of secure payments are just some of the ways in which businesses can evaluate their own situation and decide whether the implementation of blockchain will be the technology to revolutionise your process.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more at the Blockchain Expo World Series, Global, Europe and North America.

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