Is Blockchain Disruptive in B2B and Beyond?

by Steve Murphy 0

b2b

This posting from the B2C (Business 2 Community) business blog site visits the topic of blockchain with a view towards the real world applications. However, the overriding theme is that of protecting data and individual (or business) privacy.

As the underlying technology behind the brightest cryptos, like Ether, Bitcoin, and Monero, blockchain innovation is poised to prove itself as something far more exciting than just a new way to buy and sell goods – it has become a symbol for freedom, transparency, and fairness. Right now, data is considered the most precious asset of all, and yet it exists in an ephemeral state, capable of disappearing or changing at any time.

The general awareness and understanding of blockchain has grown while the super-hype stage has subsided during the past 12 months.  However, outside of certain ‘bought in’ sectors (such as financial services, logistics, venture capital, etc), blockchain technology is still broadly assumed to have a linear relationship with bitcoin (or cryptocurrencies) and no other business application.  This piece addresses some attributes of blockchain that are broadly applicable across the business in general, and how that might impact individuals. One example that will interest banks is:

People will save money. Through more instant and direct transactions comes less cost. An unchangeable ledger maintained by a number of decentralized sources could force the traditional institutions like banks to change how they operate in order to still be relevant. Consumers who come to enjoy the cost savings and convenience of direct transactions may not accept the fees associated with traditional banking and account management. 

So back to one of the more interesting observations, which is that of data privacy and a populist view that “information will return to the people”.  Anyone with a Facebook account should indeed be hyper-aware of this factor, but one might observe that it is greatly ignored by the masses.  Just go into your smartphone apps and see how many you did not realize that you had…better yet, take a look at the information your ‘settings’ allow them to access.

As we have reminded readers for a couple of years now, the sobering fact that blockchain has scalability issues. We predicted that some of these would be overcome by 2018, and a few real B2B products would begin to arrive.  That appears to be occurring in the trade space, so we shall see.

Of course, blockchain technology still suffers from some weaknesses. According to Pease, the “number one issue being its lack of skilled developers.” Without them, Wilkinson reminds us that “blockchains are still too slow and cannot handle the volume needed for mass market adoption.”

Blockchain is still a nascent technology in need of scalability and interoperability solutions. But given the unbelievable solutions it proposes to implement, for people and their precious systems, organizations must continuously innovate to survive and thrive, and cannot afford to decline the challenge.

A good read.

Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commerical and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group