The backbone of Bitcoin – the blockchain – ensures that two parties can do a transaction without the intervention of third parties. A technology that is interesting not only for banks and insurers, but also for online entrepreneurs. What are the possibilities? Workshop puts it in a row for you.
1. Have you ever heard of the blockchain?
Yes: Good, you know that you can act fully automated and secure with the internet. And can record transactions with it.
No: With the arrival of coins like the Bitcoin, everyone around the world can trade without the intervention of banks, notaries and accountants. Thanks to the blockchain, a technology that is freely available and is becoming more advanced and more extensive. In 2014, three hundred million dollars were already invested in tech companies operating on blockchain. Investors such as Richard Branson and Peter Thiel also see the possibilities of this technology. Read it here anymore.
2. Do you know what it does?
Yes: Super, then know that it is possible to make digital information uncorreeable, an important property for safe trading.
No: A blockchain is fundamentally different from general ledger systems that are currently being used. In a certain sense it can be seen as a decentralized database of ownership: who owns what and who is owed to whom? Imagine you have a webshop, with blockchain a transaction can be programmed so that a payment is only processed when the package is sent. And vice versa: a shipment is only delivered when the payment has been made. You can see a number of scenarios here:
3. So not only suitable for banks?
Yes: Storing transactions securely, cheaply and effectively through blockchain seems above all a matter for banks and insurers. But appearances are deceiving.
No: This technology also offers possibilities for other sectors. For example, IBM and Samsung are already developing a washing machine that stores its delivery conditions in the blockchain. But it can also be used for notarial deeds, credit applications, mortgages, identification, digital assets, patents, compliance, currency trading, derivatives, insurance. Just like keeping track of products in the distribution chain, such as startup ThingChain does. A separate blockchain can be built for each application. Both corporates, VCs and startups are already experimenting with it .
4. Do you know whether your company is suitable for the use of a blockchain?
Yes: Top. Because in principle every company can use blockchain technology.
No: It does not matter for the blockchain whether a unit represents value in euros, another currency and whether or not you own it. Each unit can be individually identified and programmed, which means that you can give it specific properties. Such as the right to loyalty points or someone’s identity and credit status. Through which a customer can quickly identify, pay and be able to collect and spend his loyalty points.
5. Do you know where it can yield you?
Yes: Nice, you know that blockchain can make the current work process and the underlying systems work more efficiently.
No: By automating your workflow you need much less bureaucracy, which saves a lot of work for accountants, controllers and the organization in general. A company can thus keep a better grip on the expenses. For example, by programming budgets for salary, machines, materials and maintenance, so that money is earmarked and can not be spent on other things. That saves personnel costs.
6. Is the revolution already here?
Yes: Blockchain technology already exists. It has been tested, it has been proven to work and it is used. Even in the music industry .
No: The extent to which it is applied is still very limited. If we compare it with the rise of the internet, we are now just in 1995. But this is the moment that many companies invest in this technology or are going to do that. Many FinTech companies, startups and software experts, such as The Linux Foundation, are working on their own spin-off. We will hear a lot more about this next year.
7. Do you know what can go wrong?
Yes: Well then you know that good security of your blockchain database is a must.
No: The Bitcoin initially had problems with hacks, because some databases were not properly secured. You also have to make sure that you know exactly what you want to use a blockchain for. It is – as often – a means and not an end in itself. So look for processes that can be done more efficiently and where a blockchain is of added value and also be critical of it. Read here more about it.
8. Know how to start?
Yes: Then we do not have to say anything more. Good luck!
No: Sit down with your developer or your IT department and discuss what is possible. With the software of the Bitcoin you can quickly develop your own applications. Or take a look at the online projects Ethereum and Blockstream .They are working to develop good standalone blockchains. A good programmer can, in principle, make adjustments to a blockchain database within a few weeks.
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