It has been proven time and time again that history repeats itself and this saying becomes even truer when we see how the blockchain is getting an insane amount of attention from all the industries in the world. Just like getting your business on the Internet was the most important thing in the late 1990s, getting your business to use blockchain in some of the other forms holds the same (or even more) importance. Whether companies and businesses understand the implications of blockchain or not, almost all the industries will be disrupted by this technology. To stay head-to-head with the competition, everyone must discover the true potential of this revolutionary technology.
What is blockchain?
IBM’s report gives a good elevator pitch for Blockchain, “Blockchain is a shared, distributed ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible – a house, a car, cash, land – or intangibles including intellectual properties like patents, copyrights, or branding. Virtually anything of value can be recorded on the blockchain network, reducing the risk and cutting costs for all the parties involved.”
It can record transactions in an immutable manner which means that once put on the blockchain, they cannot be altered. In essence, it is a trustless and decentralized network to record anything of value which can be verified by the entire community
Proponents of blockchain believe that blockchain can be used to collect taxes and votes in the future, thereby, reducing significant costs. Blockchain will especially shine when it comes to industries and processes where trust is a problem and thus financial fraud will be significantly reduced. Immigrants will be able to send money to areas where access to financial institutions is limited.
What Industries blockchain can disrupt and how?
The first industry that comes to mind without question is the banking and payments industry. We often see people go crazy about the price of Bitcoin and other currencies and they seem to make it to the news highlights every day. Though this can provide good marketing and promote wider adoption, it is not beneficial as such. The main idea behind this revolution is instead the parallel financial system that the technology has set. It has created a setting where people do not potentially need banks. In his Ted Talk, William Mougayar throws light upon how the banks have made us believe that we need their trust in our financial system to work correctly. With the advent of Blockchain, this is certainly not the case anymore.
Through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which run on the blockchain, people can make payments across the globe with minimal fees. This is especially important for people in countries who do not have proper access to banks. Talking about banks, primarily big names such as JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Barclays have now shown a positive stance on the blockchain.
The real estate industry has a lot of paperwork and red-tapism, which makes it a perfect industry for blockchain to disrupt. All of this paperwork is not required once blockchain is adopted to smoothen the process. Smart contracts can easily be created on platforms like Ethereum which are programmed in a way that releases funds only when all the requirements and conditions are fulfilled. It can also help in reducing fees, which otherwise goes to real estate agents and thus people would not have to pay for a service that can be automated. Ubitquiity, which, according to its website, is “The first blockchain-secured platform for real estate record-keeping”, is working in this area.
The retail industry is another one. Can we imagine e-commerce without Amazon or eBay? Yes, with blockchain, we definitely can. Blockchain can help people to buy and sell stuff in a peer-to-peer environment without the need for intermediaries like Amazon and can cut the related fees too. The most popular platform made in this sector is Open Bazar which promotes peer-to-peer e-commerce without any transaction fees or listing fees.
The supply chain management industry also has a lot of loopholes like wastage of time, labor and the products themselves. For example, the agricultural and food supply chain is often credited with tonnes of wastage of fruits and vegetables just because of poor management systems. The blockchain can track every aspect of supply chain management from manufacturing until the end consumer and possibly till final disposal. Vechain Foundation is already helping Shanghai Waigaoqiao Direct Imported Goods Ltd to track the smallest details about the liquor which is imported by China from other places.
Can Uber and Lyft go out of business due to blockchain? Surprisingly, yes. Blockchain has the power to connect drivers and users on its network without the need for any intermediary. Drivers and users can act as nodes on the network and payment can be executed by way of smart contracts. Drivers that claimed to be exploited by ride-sharing companies can now be relieved whereas users can also get significantly fewer prices. Thus, it makes the system better for all stakeholders.
Last but not least, the creative industry and artists can also benefit from this technology. Artists can put up their work on the blockchain and charge money from users to view it or else issue their own tokens to their fans for giving them attention. This can prevent artists from being exploited by intermediaries as well as build a much stronger brand and community as the fans will then be financially involved in the success of the artist
State of Blockchain Developers:
- There are firms like LeewayHertz and AgileLab that provide blockchain development services to clients but still, space is far from the level of maturity that we have seen in other platforms and languages.
- The demand for blockchain developers is growing and is bound to grow in the future as well. Thus it is anticipated that the supply will also increase as the technologies become more stable and there are credible resources for people to learn from.
- Mastercard Ireland hired blockchain developers last month to facilitate business-to-business transactions and we will see many other traditional businesses hiring blockchain developers when they realize that it’s a time for them to innovate.
- Blockchain development right now is what developing a website looked like when the Internet just came along. Nevertheless, as the development becomes easier and has mass adoption, we can expect much more innovation in the sector.
Having stated the various applications of blockchain in business, it is up to the business owners and managers to figure out what problem can they solve for their users as a part of their current business models through blockchain. There is a lot that blockchain can do for you if you think about small roadblocks in your business processes and try to solve them with the technologies at hand.
It may also mean that a significant portion of the business model has to be changed in order to adopt this technology but in most cases, the choice to use blockchain can pay-off in the long run since, in a rapidly changing business environment, businesses who don’t innovate and adapt are the ones who are crushed!