For as long as blockchain technology has existed it has played a ‘Cinderella’ role in the cryptocurrency story, the latter being the headline grabber. Any have overlooked the potential of blockchian as an advanced and evolving technology that could have many more uses.
Let’s start with the basics: blockchain is a a distributed database whose information is stored across every node running the network, and because of the distributed factor, it guarantees data stored within it is accurate and securely stored.
With cryptocurrencies, the blockchain guaranteed trust. For example with Bitcoin, one can accurately verify that funds aren’t spent twice, that its supply is limited, and one can see the history of transactions on the network.
Blockchain and supply chains
But as a distributed ledger, blockchain has many more use cases.
Francisco Rodrigues gives the example of IBM partnering with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to pilot a blockchain supply system for oil and gas production, while De Beers already uses blockchain to track diamonds on its supply chain.
It is already in use by government agencies and bigger businesses, as Johnny Lyu, CEO of KuCoin points out, saying that the use of blockchain is “commonplace among government agencies and businesses,” and giving the example of the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), a consortium that counts on the participation of major institutions including the Bank of China, DBS Bank and HSBC.
Blockchain answers consumer demands
Blockchain has many advantages for some industries, especially food and beverages where consumers demand transparency. Today the average consumer today no longer just cares about what they eat and how it should be cooked, but also considers where ingredients are sourced and how they’re handled. So, blockchain has a big role to play in logistics.
Sankar Krishnan, executive vice-president at Capgemini Financial Services, points out that blockchain technology is also “very ESG friendly,” referring to the environmental, social and governance standards which investors now pay more attention to.
Less room for errors with blockchain
Blockchain use also reduces the amount of data that has to be tracked. Without it every party involved either prints out information or exchanges it via email multiple times; a costly process with the potential for mistakes being made. These issues would be eliminated if transactions were processed on a blockchain.
So, if blockchain has many more use cases than crypto, why is it not more widely used? The brief answer is implementing enterprise-level software technology requires a significant investment. There may also be some stakeholders who are resistant to transparency. Adoption may be only slowly evolving, but its potential to revolutionize how some industries work cannot be ignored. Perhaps one day people will be saying that Satoshi Nakamoto’s best invention was the blockchain, not Bitcoin.