By Saunthra Thambyrajah
2018 will be the year of the enterprise blockchain in both the private and public blockchain space.
To understand why this is the case, let’s look at
- the benefits blockchain technology brings to the enterprise,
- the tech companies that are beginning to offer blockchain technologies
- and the number of cryptocurrencies that have emerged in the last year that offer enterprise solutions.
This is an extract from another article I wrote about blockchain in the enterprise. In it David Pinski, chief strategist financial services – Centre for Social Innovation at Hitachi explains why blockchain has captured the attention of so many people.
“It’s a distributed ledger which means that it has storage reliability and will continue if anything happens to the organisation, it is immutable meaning that records can’t be deleted and are almost impossible to be altered, there is consensus as all parties agree to the transaction and business logic is integrated (such as stored procedures). I say almost impossible to be altered as if you alter one hash transaction it will get overwritten if it does not match the data in other blocks,” explained Pinski further.
To put it simply, blockchain technology provides organisations with the ability to
- remove financial and legal intermediaries,
- incorporate timestamping capabilities to maintain integrity
- anti-tampering features for data consistency and accuracy
- tie-ups with existing data and apps
- and the ability to reimagine business processes.
All the while creating significant time and cost efficiencies when conducting basic business processes such as managing contracts, the supply chain, payments, data storage, web hosting, registering intellectual property, maintaining customer records and managing enterprise collaboration applications.
And to help organisation’s do this, many may be able to turn to existing technology partners. Companies such as IBM, Hitachi, Oracle and Microsoft have all announced blockchain initiatives – Microsoft with it’s Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) offering on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, IBM has it’s IBM Blockchain offering and Oracle recently announced it’s blockchain cloud platform at Openworld 2017 held in San Francisco this month. Hitachi works closely with the HyperLedger blockchain consortium to develop blockchain solutions for the enterprise.
HyperLedger is an open source collaborative software development approach to build blockchain frameworks and platforms and focuses on the enterprise space. IBM, Intel, NTT Data, NEC, and Huawei are other big names that are members of the HyperLedger consortium. The Hitachi group recently announced an internal pilot project, with Mizuho Financial Group, to develop and test a blockchain platform to manage its own supply chain.
It will be interesting to see how many of these tech companies succeed in transforming themselves into leaders in the blockchain arena.
After all, if you follow the transformation roadmap set out by Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High Tech Products to Mainstream Customers, if the new business accounts for more than 10 percent of the company’s performance, then it’s well on the way to a successful transformation.
Businesses can also turn to a host of enterprise solution cryptocurrencies, if that suits them better. Cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, NEO and QTUM offer smart contract services.
Ark is a enterprise solution provider with a wide variety of services that also offers clients the ability to connect to other blockchains using their SmartBridge technology.
Creating a bridge to other blockchains seems to be a common theme. ChainLink, a very new cryptocurrency that is undergoing an ICO currently, is a blockchain middleware provider that connects smart contracts on other platforms to an organisation’s apps and data. It bridges the gap between the corporate solution and the blockchain.
Then you have cryptocurrencies such as Siacoin that provides cloud storage solutions, Patientory that’s a specialist in blockchain solutions for the healthcare industry and helps organisations store, manage and control access to their data, Substratum that provides a decentralised web hosting service and Lisk which specialises in building decentralised blockchain applications.
So far I have avoided any mention of cryptocurrencies that deal with payments or banking but I believe banking solutions also fall within the scope of enterprise solutions and rates a mention. Ripple is a blockchain framework that connects banks, payment providers and companies and it’s main purpose is to facilitate cross currency payments quickly and at a fraction of the price that it costs today. Expect to hear a lot more news about Ripple as the company’s SWELL conference kicks off next week in Toronto.
This is just the tip of the iceberg and illustrates the breadth and scope of development in the enterprise blockchain space. Expect to see many more tech companies entering the fray and more enterprise solution cryptocurrencies emerging in 2018 and beyond. I’m also looking forward to hearing about how organisations are using blockchain technology in the coming years.