BlockChain is a difficult technology to grasp at first and takes a bit of time investment and some technical ability to get to the bottom of how it works. Whether you spend a few minutes watching a video, or dive deeper into it, the questions that I hear most often, relates to how and why should I get into BlockChain? How will it affect me?
Here is a 500ft view of what it will change.
Decentralized, distributed databases will change how you communicate with others. Technically this means what kinds of API you develop and expose and how you interact with your partners and those above and below you in the supply chain.
Your business is invariably dependent on assets, whether its currency, equipment, documents or code. All assets, where knowing who owns it, is vital, will be placed in a block chain. If you need to ensure one copy of the asset exists (no double spend) or keep track of a contract of sale, or require immutable auditing and transactional data, it will be placed in a block chain.
Governance, regulators, compliance, securities, assets and insurance alongside your marketing, like loyalty and reward programmes, will all be placed in a block chain.
Block chain will speed up B2B interactions, exposing unchangeable data, completing verifications and granting approvals will evolve to a quick process. For example, getting a loan will be quicker than ever before.
If you have a business that deals with identities, KYC and personal data, you will have block chain solutions knocking on your door really soon. A new digital identity concept is already in motion, with a few companies offering solutions already.
Sending and receiving money is changing. The cost of sending will be reduced, the time it takes to get your money will be reduced. The transaction, not a copy of the transaction in an excel file, but the real transaction will be in your digital wallet, that you control.
Currently the financial value of BitCoin is $41 billion and growing. There are more and more vendors accepting bitcoin as payments. If you want to accept bitcoin, give us a call and we will help you get started.
Where and how your data is stored. Internal private data and public data will be better partitioned, including contracts, personal information, privacy and integrated data. The wider concept of security includes authentication, auditing, transparency, accountability and more.
In a way, it brings Digital Signatures to the transactional world.
New voting structures, transparency and accountability in the public domain? Possibly. Vote Tokens are almost the Hello World of block chain ideas.
Rights management and copyright control. Music, poetry and movies are all going to be controlled by digital asset management within a block chain. Multi signatures for multiple owners, commision and royalty splits as well as contracts.
Larger problems solved
Consider what big scaleable and distributed business models like airbnb, amazon and bitcoin required in software, hardware and maintenance to achieve their dominance. Hundreds of servers, duplicate private databases, customer interactions of accounts and statements. BlockChain helps with many distributed issues out the box and in a few years, most businesses could scale much more easily.
It’s important to note, that not all ideas for block chain are going to make it, but companies are going to try really hard to map block chain to anything..
When can you expect these things to change?
- Property exchange in the blockchain comes online in England, Wales and Ireland.
- IBM launches Supply Chain software on HyperLedger (blockchain)
- Abra wallets become mainstream
- Loyalty cards begin
- Scammers become pests
- Various Software packages and solutions begin achoring bits of data into block chain
- IBM together with 7 European banks come online
- South African banking blockchain comes online
- Integration with your Bank Account
- Ethereum Ether overtakes BitCoin in value
- Digital Signatures kick in
- Messaging and email systems begin
- More crypto currency exchanges open
- Accounts and Bookkeeping software are investigating
- Not just startups, but established business offer solutions
- Regulators step in
- Digital Identity solutions kick in
- Digital Signatures become mainstream
- Loyalty cards kick in
- Insurance, Asset Management kicks in
- Stock trading begins
- Accounts software kicks in
- Data Miners, begin selling apps that view and organise your data found in block chains
- Alliances begin, private chains are bought and sold and integrated into larger chains
- App stores are now seriously utilizing the chain
- Customers are requesting to pay in crypto currency
My timeline is based on my research on the topic. It is possible that I am putting a little positive thinking on it, but even if I am a few years off, government will slowly enforce digital identities, driver license, tax and others into a block chain, its only a matter of time. Banks were at first critical, but they are now embracing. With the tide turned, expect a lot of solutions coming your way.
Will it crash?
It is likely that the value of BitCoin will go down, dip and then spike. It’s also likely that rumours, scandals and other setbacks could occur. However, the currency is not blockchain, so even if the currency collapses, the value of block chain technology remains. Other currencies will fill the void. The upward trajectory of crypto currencies is staggering, despite a rough start. Perceptions of the technology may faulter, but its much like the credit card. Can you remember when the majority of consumers where concerned about using banking and payments online? PayPal started a mini revolution in how money could work online, HTTPS brought security, VISA and MasterCard stepped up their services and now its second nature. We all use online banking.
PayPal took arguably 10-12 years to become mainstream. The first genesis block on BitCoin (first transaction) was in 2009. BitCoin Central became the first recognized bank in 2012. In 2013, BitCoin moved more money around the world than Western Union. We are now approaching its 9th year, and many think that within the next 5 years, the value of BitCoin is going to skyrocket.
Where do I start?
I believe that in 2017-2018, forward thinking companies will begin their journey with change and then growth strategies. The changes will be led by analysis of their processes, perhaps integrating block chain in order to make efficiency and speed in their workflow possible. There are a number of possible roles block chain can play, so the forward thinking company will need advice and invest some research into what areas would be best suited for their businesses. It is likely, that minor tweaks in internal, B2B and or B2C processes, that include block chain will offer productivity gains, which will facilitate their growth.
Every aspect of your life will be affected. At the very least you need to begin learning about it, but there is value in evaluating your business against the new functions arriving soon. A simple bit of research, perhaps update your GAP analysis and get a feel for what your competitors may be doing. The speed and efficiency of new Web 2.5 (SaaS, cloud, API) together with block chain 1.0 will provide your competitors with a strong advantage.
Or it could be you with the competitive advantage.