Six elements of ‘blockchain’ that will change your business activity

El Economista

21/11/2018

By Luis del Barrio, Director of Marketing and External Relations of The Mail Company

Blockchain is becoming a business technology in itself. Defined as a global and distributed database, formed by other levels of interconnected block chains and designed to avoid their modification once a data has been published, using and linking with the previous or subsequent blocks, we still do not know until where it will take us, but the experts already predict how Blockchain will affect our business activity in the form of new technological processes.

1. Much more than a cryptocurrency
Bitcoin, so far, is the first and best known use of Blockchain. However, the cryptocurrency is just one more application of a technology that has already been used in voting, in food safety and even in shipments and expeditions, among many other sectors. Companies like Walmart, IBM and Amazon are already experiencing with Blockchain. The debate about Bitcoin – whether or not it is a bubble or a fashion – is eclipsing, perhaps deliberately, the advances of this technology in other fields.

2. Intelligent contracts and certificates
Still many companies consider that Blockchain has a complicated implementation or possible failures that make its use and traceability difficult. This consideration is causing its general adoption to be delayed, but Blockchain has proven to be very useful in the creation of smart contracts and certificates. Another issue is that its writing is complicated and that the market does not yet have sufficient supply of specialized professionals in Blockchain.

The expansion of Blockchain and its scope as a disruptive force of the future will be determined by the way in which it is democratized and its use is servified. For example, the company Iolite allows anyone to write an intelligent contract by converting any oral agreement into code using an algorithm developed in open source.

3. Supply Chain
During 2017, partly due to the effervescence of Bitcoin, numerous projects based on Blockchain arose. A year has passed and many of these initiatives are still pilot tests that do not shed light on how this technology works and, above all, how to monetize it. The commercial implementation on a large scale will come sooner or later, and will have an extensive use in processes of supply chains and participation of intermediaries.

There are already initiatives in this aspect, beyond the cryptocurrency. An example is RunCPA, the first digital marketing platform based on Blockchain, which already has more than 5,000 participants, and which applies the cost-per-share method. Advantage? A total transparency of each transaction and companies can track the movement of any product, reducing risks and costs… and having more information about the customer.

4. Blockchain, edge computing and IOT
Do you know the term of Edge Computing? It is a type of technology that will soon apply both in the industry and in the business, which will provide much more autonomy to both devices and management solutions, making them more “ready”. But how? AI, with self-learning capacity? Much simpler, simply with redistributing and adapting the role of each element of the current infrastructure. And that’s where Blockchain and cloud computing come in, of course, allowing applications to be developed anywhere, moving the knowledge that now runs in data centers – where a single owner provides the developer of the application with all its virtual environment – to other places where the infrastructure is not owned by a single interlocutor but by all those who use it.

5. Greater security in the origin of data
As its name suggests, this is a chain of blocks through which companies will know what data is being processed, who has created or manipulated them, when and where they were created… and how the owner of that data has the right to their organization over them. A hypothetical “data source service” will allow the software developer to add devices to the network and track each part of their data, allowing others to access them, always with their express permission. A service that can be provided through the intelligent hiring of which we have spoken previously.

6. A new management and not only technological
We are wrong if we think that companies will only need Blockchain experts in their IT departments or systems. No. Business management should consider Blockchain as it does now with digitalization or the cloud. It is true that we are now limited to an early adopter curve. Its use, result and monetization is still being studied. We also do not know in which sectors it will be more efficient. It seems that the financial sector is leading the way by applying Blockchain technology to its services and using it to secure assets and launch new models of trade and exchange.

Companies are hiring engineers and technicians who master technology at different levels. In the next two or three years we will see a much more widespread use, especially as Blockchain’s services and business solutions become more widely available.