Once upon a time, the words blockchain technology and Bitcoin were barely uttered I separate sentences. That is because Bitcoin gave birth to and relies on its blockchain to operate and provide decentralized peer-to-peer payments – without it Bitcoin is nothing.
Although Bitcoin needs blockchain to survive, the same cannot be said for blockchain technology. In fact, blockchain technology can be shaped and remolded for use in a wide variety of other industries. In these industries, blockchains have the potential to refine business processes and even change the way business is executed. Before we move on to the what, how and why of that – let’s recap on what blockchain technology really is.
Blockchain technology explained
The name “blockchain” gives a good indication of what these technologies are. They are a chain of blocks. Each block contains information and that information is added to the chain. These blockchains were actually invented in 1991 as a way to digitally timestamp documents, but their use was not adopted by the masses until Satoshi Nakamoto used it to create Bitcoin. In this instance, Bitcoin transactions were recorded on the blockchain instead of timestamped documents.
Blockchains were perfect for Bitcoin transactions because they are public ledgers accessible to all but editable to nobody. The decentralized nature of the blockchain is what made Bitcoin popular, further backed up by decentralized methods of holding Bitcoin in electronic wallets like the renowned Luno Bitcoin Wallet. It could be argued that the original use of blockchain was in fact for business purposes before Bitcoin inventors latched onto it.
So, how has blockchain technology gone back into the hands of business minds and how is it changing the way we do business?
Blockchain technology reinventing business
There may be many ways that businesses are specifically utilizing blockchains for their own purposes. Three of the overarching ways of using them are:
1. Accepting Crypto Payments
The first and most obvious use for blockchains within the business is to use it for its most-known purpose. Businesses are accepting crypto payments for goods and services now which helps them to attract consumers due to efficiency, security and the potential to swerve around additional fees. The growth of crypto regulations around the world has allowed businesses to get on board with crypto payments.
2. Enhancing Security and Data Protection
In a world that is constantly connected, businesses are even more vulnerable to hacks and data breaches. A single breach can cost millions and may even cost a company its reputation and customer base. Storing large amounts of data can be a concern for business but using blockchains to do it provides a stellar solution. Data and information can be stored on internal blockchains to provide a secure barrier against hackers.
3. Smart Contracts
Many businesses require middlemen and even lawyers to notarise contracts and their parameters. Ethereum’s smart contracts avoid the need for a third party by self-executing payments when agreed-upon tasks are completed between businesses. This saves businesses money and time, while also making sure criteria has been met before issuing payments.
4. Which industries are benefiting the most?
There are some obvious candidates to which industries may be cashing in on blockchain technology the most. The Fintech industry and the technology sector naturally gravitate towards blockchain because they are comprised of people who already understand it. However, that has not stopped other industries using blockchain to do business. Automotive companies are using it to prevent car odometer fraud and even the music industry is using it to prevent arguments over royalties.
Conclusion – But just the start!
This is just the start lien for blockchain’s presence inside the business world. The blockchain is still confusing and often misunderstood among business leaders who do not have the time to learn about complex technologies and how to make the most of them. Yet, as more blockchain-savvy entrepreneurs come to the fold and start utilizing blockchain solutions within the business, the more other businesses need to take notice and compete. Get set for more business blockchain solutions in the near future. This is just the beginning.