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How many times in the last year have you thought about how you transact? You probably don’t think about the actual transaction process unless there’s an issue. After all, in a lot of cases all you do is click a button. You may have to wait a couple days to receive a newly-purchased item in the mail or for money from a sale to appear in your bank account, but it’ll get there eventually, right?
For anyone who’s had to deal with counterfeit products or payment delays, you know successful completion of a transaction isn’t guaranteed. Not to mention the fact that business-to-business transactions don’t always happen at the click of a button but often involve lengthy, paper-heavy processes and third-party intermediaries. For those seeking to disrupt their industry by changing the way people and businesses currently transact, blockchain is a game changer.
Blockchain in a nutshell
Blockchain is a transparent, tamper-resistant distributed ledger or database for recording transactions. Before the blockchain can be updated, the transactions must be verified by consensus from other parties on the blockchain. Everyone who is participating in the blockchain has a synchronized record of all transactions that have ever occurred. Thus, information can be shared quickly and cannot be changed without the network participants knowing.
If you use Bitcoin, you’ve already been interacting with blockchain technology, because Bitcoin transactions are recorded on a public blockchain. However, there are some key differences between Bitcoin and the blockchain technology used by businesses that you can learn about in this blog post.
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What can you do?
Opportunities for blockchain appear to be endless as the technology is adopted across various industries. Though it got its start with Bitcoin, it is not just a financial services technology. From establishing the provenance of goods in a supply chain to healthcare records, tax collection and digital identity management, blockchain can be used to increase transparency, facilitate trust among participants in a business network, and remove friction as assets are sold, traded or shared.
There’s nothing like a challenge…
When you have a “solve-everything” technology, there’s always the potential to charge ahead without analyzing the challenges and risks. While there are several attractive business advantages to using blockchain, it’s important to determine the best fit within your company and among your business partners. By participating in a blockchain workshop, you can explore the technology and its impact through proof of concepts and use cases in a low-risk setting.
At the same time, you don’t want your blockchain journey to end at the experimentation stage. A major obstacle to widespread blockchain adoption is the hesitancy to implement and push blockchains into production. Many of the clients I talk with are very interested in the technology and want to know how to approach it from a business perspective. They may recognize the benefits of blockchain, but are unsure of where and how to get started. There are many resources that can provide assistance, but reading something online is a bit different from talking with someone who can understand your unique requirements. With over 450 client engagements and more than 20 active networks, IBM has the experience to help you get your blockchain up and running.
Evolve your blockchain strategy
Working with blockchain requires planning. Even if you’ve been experimenting with the technology, there are a hundred and one factors to consider when you decide to move to production. Join me at the Blockchain Opportunity Summit in New York City on December 5 to hear executives discuss the strategies they’re using to overcome challenges in implementing blockchain. It will be a great opportunity to see demos of the latest innovations and get a behind-the-scenes look at how early adopters are applying the technology to their business operations.
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