Blockchain researcher and cryptocurrency advocate Nele Maria Palipea said that only about 50 million people in the world used cryptocurrencies in 2018 – but thought leaders believe it can only get better from there.
McKinsey’s 2017 predictions claim that blockchain technology will see its potential realized within the next five years. Additionally, it asserts that by 2020, the world will see 10 to 20 deployed cases of its uses.
Deloitte similarly backed it up in a 2018 survey of more than 1,000 business executives. According to Deloittes’ data, a majority of respondents agreed that blockchain is a scalable technology that will see bigger adoption in the coming years. In fact, more than two-thirds of them believe that failure to adopt the technology will result in a loss of competitive advantage.
What exactly is blockchain, though, and how will it impact the way the world does business?
Blockchain applications that provide business value
Blockchain is the record-keeping technology behind its more well-known (or, at least, more discussed) application: cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Classified as a “distributed, decentralized, public ledger”, it stores and time-stamps information stored in “blocks” on a digital “chain” of public or private computer networks. And it is seeing various applications that provide value to enterprises, including:
- Using smart contracts to carry out the terms of any contract (an example of which is The Ethereum Project) without risks of downtime, censorship, interference, or fraud – for a fraction of the costs of most financial transactions
- Providing digitally permanent and transparent records that show product statuses to stakeholders at each stage of the supply chain
- Paying international or remote employees through cryptocurrency-based payroll services
- Electronic voting through globally distributed databases to facilitate fair and fast consensus resolutions among stakeholders
How blockchain can impact various industries
Blockchain technology brings a world of great potential to various industries, particularly the following:
Blockchain technology can streamline many tasks and processes that are central to the Accounting industry, such as navigating compliance requirements, managing multinational business operations, and ensuring accuracy and data security. A key example would be Prime Ball, which will feature Ethereum smart contracts to become the first decentralized and transparent lottery platform powered by blockchain.
Media and advertising
Click fraud damage is projected to amount to US$19 billion by next year, according to Juniper Research. Businesses that want to make sure that their media buying budgets generate profit and growth for their companies can utilize blockchains to track investments from the initial transfer of finances to the final publication of deliverables.
The Society for Human Resource Management says that blockchain technology can modernize hiring processes and functions, including verifying job candidates’ credentials. Additionally, it can be used to standardize payroll systems, especially for businesses with international employees.
IT and cybersecurity
Blockchain technology capabilities are driving interest from Lockheed Martin and the US Department of Defense, owing to their secure and transparent digital interaction record-keeping. As security risks get increasingly more complex in these digital times, an auditable and efficient way to track anything that happens over digital networks can help shape business landscapes in the years to come.
How to harness blockchain technology to drive business growth
- It doesn’t have to be fully disruptive for it to be of value to your business. Permissioned blockchains, as opposed to public blockchains like Bitcoin, can bring more immediate incentive, as they allow you to control what you share and with whom you share it while still optimizing security.
- Its biggest advantage to your business now is to cut costs related to operational efficiencies. As it removes intermediaries and overhead expenses associated with record-keeping, particularly those in financial services, government, and healthcare.
- Blockchain will be fully feasible at least three to five years from now. To optimize it now, harness its most promising use cases.