I’ve made no secret about blockchain’s power to spur digital transformation. After all, it’s the perfect way to secure information—especially highly personal information—being transferred through cyberspace due to the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). But now, major cloud players like Microsoft, Amazon, SAP, and IBM have all introduced a version of Blockchain-as-a-Service to go with their cloud offerings. Companies have an easy, close to “off-the-shelf” way to incorporate blockchain into almost any process—from executing sales contracts to tracking products around the world.
In case you’re still new to blockchain, it’s the first native digital medium for value. It’s a way to trade with trust—pay with trust—and share with trust. Forget facial recognition—blockchain is value recognition. It can follow anything, anywhere—and verify its value every step of the way.
The Perfect Tool for a Collaborative Economy
It makes sense that blockchain was originally hyped for use in the financial industry. After all, money is the most obvious thing we value in society. But it didn’t take long for the creators driving today’s collaborative economy to realize blockchain’s value in protecting just about anything—from art, music, and writing, to blueprints, architectural sketches, and app coding. As such, it offers necessary peace of mind for strangers working, sharing, and interacting with one another in today’s world—be it via Lyft, AirBnB, Kickstarter or Upwork. Indeed, it could even be used to verify the way money is used in any charity fundraiser, foundation, or event.
It Builds Trust
Have I stressed the value of blockchain’s ability to instill trust? It can’t be overstated. In today’s economy, we have companies spread out around the world—sourcing parts and products from remote locations—buying expensive products from people they will never meet. In fact, the digital economy, including the global supply chain, is reliant on placing trust in people you will likely never know. What could help drive that economy more than a product that can help you trust those people unequivocally. There is no more doubting if they Louis Vuitton bag is real; if the product was stored correctly; or if the parts were built according to your specification. It’s the greatest gift to the digital economy I could ever imagine. Check out this article written by my colleague Shelly Kramer to learn more about blockchain’s promising role in the Industrial IoT specifically.
It Could Save Money
Indeed, the beauty of blockchain isn’t just blockchain itself—it’s what you can do with it. One of the best things: removing third-party vendors, verifiers, and managers that would typically take a share of your profit before passing it over. With blockchain, those verifications are no longer necessary. In music, that means royalties will bypass music labels and go directly to the artist. For contracting, that means no more need for notaries, investor verifications, and contract enforcement. It’s like a magic bullet to streamline your entire supply chain, and increase profits.
Caveat: Not All Businesses Need Blockchain
As much as I love blockchain, I need to clarify: it is not necessary for everyone. Yes, someday we may all be connected to our own blockchain of personal history, credit, healthcare, etc. But for small businesses that have little collaboration with the outside world, blockchain might be an unnecessary expense. After all, a magic bullet is just a bullet if you have no real use for it. Take time to carefully evaluate your company and its needs before making the investment.
We’ve barely seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to blockchain. It’s a technology limited only by our imaginations and our ability to understand it. BaaS takes us one step closer to benefiting from the power of blockchain by eliminating our need to know how to build and create it. Trust me: It could be the next big disruption—and even the biggest disruption—the world has ever seen.
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.