Blockchain and Business- What You Need To Know
By Terry Brock for DSound & Steemit
We are seeing massive change in today’s business environment as never before. New technologies have emerged that will change the way we interact in business even more than we saw with developments in the internet.
These changes are being fueled by technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), drones, 3D printing, IoT (Internet of Things) and blockchain. Blockchain technologies have been around for a few years, but in 2017 we’ve seen blockchain emerge stronger than ever. It will affect business on a massive scale. Those who understand it and embrace it will prosper.
One of the best explanations I’ve seen is from Don & Alex Tapscott in their book, Blockchain Revolution:
“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
Blockchain is like a database, but it is different in that it utilizes a distributed ledger technology (DLT) rather than keeping all relevant data in one location. This increases security dramatically as the bad players would have to break into multiple (think thousands of) locations rather than one centralized location. Financial institutions, health care organizations, Shipping and transportation enterprises and others see blockchain as a significant way to not only increase security to but decrease costs while speeding up operations. Sounds like a pretty good combination, huh?
Think of it this way: When a transaction takes place there are certain data points along the journey. These are put together into a block of information. Each change in the contract becomes linked to the previous blocks of information. When we chain all of those blocks together, we get a blockchain. Each block has a link to the previous block. Part of the information contained will include the link to the previous block along with information for date/time and more about the transaction. Multiple parties can see the block, and it is immutable, it cannot be changed. This makes it more secure than a legacy system of keeping all data in one hopefully secure place.
The news has had far too many serious security breeches. This happens when a lot of valuable information is stored in a central location. This central location become the target for the bad players. We saw the problems with Equifax and their data breech that exposed the sensitive, personal information for over 143 million people.
A distributed ledger (blockchain) would have prevented this. Breaking into one computer or one system is a lot easier than breaking into many that are decentralized and widely distributed. The decentralized system is also more secure because to access the information, you have to have both a public key and a private key. The two-step verification system dramatically increases security.
In a recent Business Journals article I wrote about the benefits of smart contracts and referenced a video interview I had with Sergey Nazarov, CEO of Smartcontract.com bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/technology/2017/09/business-advantages-of-blockchain-smart-contracts.html Nazarov does a superb job of explaining not only the concept, but the business benefits of using smart contracts tied to blockchain technology.
The 1967 movie, The Graduate, sang the praises of one word of that day, ‘Plastics” pre-prod.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/1171401/Graduate-The-Movie-Clip-Plastics.html
Since that movie, many have summed up the trend of the future that they perceive as most relevant and important. In the 70’s it was computers. In the early 90’s it was “Internet” (with a capital “I” then). Today it would have to be, Blockchain. Blockchain technology is already changing much of how business will be done.
Blockchain eliminates the need for much of the “trusted person in the middle.” Instead of paying fees to various parties in a transaction, we can trust an objective mathematically-driven computer program to allow or disallow certain actions. Blockchain use has enormous applications for industries where data is required. Industries like real estate, medical records, shipping & transportation, manufacturing, and others can benefit greatly.
Recently I was the Master of Ceremonies at a large cryptocurrency conference for Nexus Earth where I was able to meet and introduce a lot of business leaders. One of the people who spoke was David North, the CEO of Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc., a leading global provider of technology-enabled risk and benefits solutions based in Iowa. He said that business knows about and is interested in bitcoin, however business is far more interested in blockchain. Yes, bitcoin is strong and will likely continue to be popular. Blockchain has even more appeal for business applications as Mr. North knows from the data-intensive insurance industry. This short video would be good for you and your executive team to watch to get insights on business use of blockchain. youtube.com/watch?v=CiwOhFlrCFU&t=220s
Smart contracts are revolutionizing how business is done. Think of a transportation contract. There are many check points along the way as goods move from the origin with manufacturing to the point of sale. A lot of important check points raise key questions along the journey. Were the goods made according to specifications? Were they packed appropriately considering weight, size, temperatures, etc.? When did they arrive at the port for shipping? How long should the trip take to the Panama Canal? When were they received at the dock in New York? Many other quantifiable check points occur through the journey right up to goods placed on the retail store shelf in New York City. A smart contract can keep all of those points in order and make payments conditional on the fulfillment of deliverables. The need for that trusted third party is eliminated. This saves money. This saves time. This increases security.
These are just the beginning. In the early 1990s we had precious little idea of how the Internet would change our lives. I believe we’re in the same situation today as we look at blockchain. Get to know it. Find the benefits for you in your business to leverage its technology.
As it relates to the 1967 movie, The Graduate, if I could take you out to “the pool” and put my arm around you, the word I would say to you for the future is, “Blockchain!” Get to know more about this technology. See how it can help your business gain a competitive advantage.
Please leave your comments below. I look forward to hearing from you. If you’re so inclined I would greatly appreciate your upvote and resteeming this so others can benefit. I look forward to hearing from you!
Terry L. Brock, MBA, CSP, CPAE
Member, Professional Speaker Hall of Fame
Certified Speaking Professional
2018 Recipient of the National Speakers Association's Highest Award, The Cavett
Master of Ceremonies
Professional Video Coach
Syndicated Columnist with Business Journals (43 papers across USA, 11 million monthly page views)
See some wonderful (!) videos on my YouTube Channel!
My TEDxBocaRaton presentation.
Former Editor-in-Chief for AT&T's Networking Exchange Blog
Former Chief Enterprise Blogger for Skype
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