Initially designed for the digital currency, Bitcoin, blockchain allows digital information to be distributed but not copied. Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared, encrypted — and continuously reconciled — distributed database. The blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location, the records it keeps are decentralized, transparent, and verifiable. Hosted by millions of computers simultaneously, its data is accessible to anyone on the Internet.
For a more detailed description, visit this article by Blockgeeks. Or check out this YouTube video.
So just what are blockchain’s potential benefits?
Blockchain’s relatively low cost, built-in audit trail, and security are important draws for businesses contemplating the use of blockchain technology. With this new way to verify and record transactions, blockchains are potentially valuable for recording and verifying a wide range of events and activities. Potential applications include medical record keeping, supply-chain management, transaction processing, pharmaceutical and food traceability, and voting, among other potential applications for which a secure and digital audit trail are important or valuable.
Because blockchain acts as a distributed ledger, the financial sector has been evaluating the technology for some time.
For years, Axoni and JPMorgan have been collaborating to test blockchain technology in order to enhance the efficiency of record keeping through its ability to comprise an accurate and verifiable record of every transaction ever made. While providing an auditable and irrevocable transaction history, JPMorgan has run a proof of concept for post-trade processing of over-the-counter swaps; and Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Citi and Credit Suisse have done the same for post-trade life-cycle management for credit default swaps.
Further, Australia’s stock exchange is now committed to switching to blockchain to power its transactions and operations. This is not surprising given the speed with which blockchain can execute and record transactions on an open, reliable and secure ledger. Individual companies are also exploring blockchain technology for financial accounting and management. Blockchain technology virtually eliminates human error and produces a robust audit trail, consequently it can streamline operations and free up valuable time and resources. Rather than maintain multiple, separate records, companies using blockchain technology can keep a single, verifiable register of all financial information and transactions.
Beyond financial services, other organizations that manage large amounts of data, sensitive information and complex transactions, such as accounting firms or insurance companies, are also exploring the benefits of blockchain, among other industries, including consumer products companies and pharmaceutical drug manufacturers.
Blockchain has the potential to reshape the design of business processes and how companies organize and operate, because it allows for efficient and decentralized transaction management while eliminating costly intermediaries. This could transform what it means to be a global company at scale, and it could redefine how all kinds of companies operate. As new operating models prove themselves, and create value in the marketplace, we can expect to see a growing ecosystem of blockchain-based innovators, platforms, and service providers develop across industry sectors.
In healthcare, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) give doctors fast, reliable and secure access to patient medical histories, prescription records, and past test results. However, most systems lack interoperability, making it difficult to access patient information from another location. In theory, a blockchain solution could solve this problem, and give patients control of their data, while also making it more accessible across different medical institutions for healthcare professionals. This is just one of the many potential applications and benefits of blockchain for the delivery of healthcare.
Making blockchain work for you.
At Cantina, we are keeping a close eye on blockchain and how it can be useful to our clients.
Across industry sectors and supply chains, business innovators and executives are exploring ways to use blockchain to disrupt traditional business models and processes. Many industry leaders have already achieved important benefits, including reduced costs, increased transaction speed, increased security, and traceability. In order to use blockchain effectively, we are encouraging our clients to identify potential use cases, and then research and prototype blockchain solutions before making significant investments in the technology. This approach can save valuable time, and it also helps to prevent costly mistakes, while increasing the likelihood that the technology will be deployed effectively.
In summary, we believe that blockchain has applications that extend well beyond cryptocurrency, and as with any emerging technology, we are encouraging our clients to explore its potential uses. For an organization to thrive in today’s rapidly changing market landscape it is critical that it tests new ideas, technologies, and business models. Blockchain, may or may not be a good solution for you and your business, but you’ll never know unless you test it. If successful, it could transform the way you operate and deliver products and services to customers.
If you’d like to discuss blockchain and how it can potentially benefit your organization, get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.