Regardless of whether you own or accept bitcoin, the technology that makes it possible will soon impact your business. Blockchain is a secure and entrenched series of transaction records represented as nodes along a broken chain.
Each node in the chain references all the other nodes, not just a single node. Therefore, no transaction or record can be changed without all other nodes being notified, making it an extremely secure system.
Examples of blockchain’s potential impact
Blockchain could be used to replace intermediaries in a number of industries. For example, expensive and time-consuming title searches in property sale transactions because ‘smart contracts’ and personal financial information will have all been recorded along the blockchain.
It could also certify transactions between businesses or create entries in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications, eliminating the need for third party payment validation.
As a result, lawyers and other professional services providers will be among the hardest hit, as blockchain may eliminate bureaucratic, regulatory, or other processes. It can also be used within computer systems to ensure data requests are legitimate and not a security breach.
Blockchain’s long-term influence
So, how does blockchain compare to other disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things?
“The scope of disruption that blockchain represents is much bigger,” says Mark Smedley, Vice President for Financial Services Solutions at cloud services provider Oracle.
This is chiefly because it will allow businesses to reduce their costs and remove friction from customer transactions. Consequently, areas of immediate impact include land management, title ownership, law enforcement evidence, B2B transactions, healthcare records, and IT security.
Adoption of blockchain-enabled apps and processes from millennials will also accelerate its influence according to Joel Cherkis, Group Vice President for Infrastructure, Education, and Health at Oracle.
“Millennials will install anything that makes their lives easier,” he says. “It will be up to the industries to figure out how to implement this.”
But simply buying into technology solutions won’t protect businesses from blockchain’s industry disruption, as Smedley explains:
“Don’t adopt technology for technology’s sake. Adopt it because you’re moving toward a strategic goal. You need a strategy that includes business-model change and technologies that enable that strategy. If you put that framework together, then the future becomes achievable”