Why Now Is The Best Time To Embrace Blockchain Technology

from Forbes

This is going to be a bold statement: It’s time for your business to start embracing blockchain, the biggest game-changer in technology since the internet.

Blockchain, to those unfamiliar with the concept, is a hyperledger. This technology makes it possible for users to enjoy a transparent and distributed digital record of transactions while doing away with the need for a central database. By decentralizing data storage and enabling distribution of digital records, this technology provides transparency and allows users to transact with one another without needing a third party. With blockchain, everyone can manage their own data — from money to personal information.

Making data transparent, accessible and incorruptible can go a long way. Imagine what will happen when the average person has complete control over how their data is managed — there would be no need for third parties, which will drastically lower transaction costs, reduce waiting times and ultimately make services more accessible to people from all walks of life. This technology is about to change every industry’s practices, and early adopters will be sure winners.

More here.

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12 Responses to Why Now Is The Best Time To Embrace Blockchain Technology

  1. MBB October 12, 2018 at 5:38 pm #

    Blockchain is the newest hype word in business. It was popularized by the boom in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that use it, but it has implications across the board for business. Blockchain is a digital ledger that keeps track of all kinds of transactions. The transactions are shared with servers all over the world where they are checked for validity and then kept in records. Since the transactions are checked by all the servers for consistency, it is virtually impossible to counterfeit or trick the system. This makes it very secure for important information and also allows for data transparency. In terms of Bitcoin, that means that whenever a Bitcoin is created or bought, the transaction information is stored in the digital ledger and recognized by all systems in the blockchain as valid.
    Cryptocurrencies are not the only place that blockchain is being implemented. Another industry that has incorporated blockchain into its operations is the music industry. Blockchain has allowed more efficient keeping of deals between labels and distributors, making legal music easier for consumers to obtain. But blockchain is not without its challenges. One of the bigger challenges is community engagement. There needs to be a community of users that will support the move from traditional methods of record keeping over to the totally digital blockchain. It is important to maintain transparency with the community as to what you are doing and how you are doing it. Blockchain will likely see more and more implementation in industries going forward because of the many benefits that it offers.
    While blockchain shows a lot of promise, it may not be right for all industries. It does not solve all business problems yet and is still relatively new, which means that there is a lot of progress to be made in making it ready for the mainstream. With this in mind, I think that it is important for early adoption of this technology to grow because without that experience using blockchain, we will not know what needs to change or be added or removed. I can also realize the amazing potential that blockchain brings to businesses by offering foolproof tracking of data and security for that data too. When it is fully ready and optimized, it will definitely have a profound effect on business as we know it.

  2. Henry Steck October 12, 2018 at 6:50 pm #

    I work for the Stillman School’s Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF). We own Facebook (FB) and have for a while. The last twelve months have been a rollercoaster for FB stock and has led to serious conversations at the SMIF about selling. Since a rocky IPO at $38 in 2012, FB’s trajectory had been straight up. Like many other fast growing, Nasdaq-tech juggernauts, investors loved the name. At the start of 2018, it looked like we could be headed to $200 by year’s end. After touching $180, the stock now trades at $153. What happened?

    The Cambridge Analytica Scandal involving 87 million FB users earlier this year was the first log on the pile. Now with further, significant data breaches popping up, FB shareholders are faced with a dilemma: sell shares in anticipation of further setbacks due to cybercrime and potential regulation – or – to stay invested in what is still the world’s most popular and profitable social media platform.

    If we look at what is burning the world’s iPhone battery these days, it is likely to be Instagram.

    The most recent breach discussed by this NYT article, discovered in September, is the largest in the company’s history, involving the data of over 50 million users. In the wake of the CA scandal in March, this news also comes as FB and other tech giants are under the microscopes of US and European regulators for election manipulation and other regulatory concerns. Business insider reports that this recent breach could land FB a 1.41 billion Euro ticket from the EU. Other tech giants have already felt the wrath of European regulators. Google broke the fine record this year with a $5 billion-dollar penalty for preinstalling Google on phones. Those fines can add up to attack financials, and with lofty earnings expectations from investors they can hurt share price.

    Perhaps FB can undergo a similar transformation to Target. In Q4 of 2013 as Target was already struggling with waning consumer interest, news broke that the company had spilled data about 70 million customers. Fast forward to Q4, 2018, and we see a brand-new Target. The chain is surviving the Amazon-purge of brick and mortar retailers and has recreated the mystique of the “Tar-jet” image (dubbed by reporters) that it once had. How did target accomplish this? It brought in new leadership and scaled back operations, including leaving Canada entirely. FB is likely too wrapped up in regulatory confusion to be able to change as easily as Target, but maybe FB like TGT will eventually need some fresh leadership.

  3. Henry Steck October 12, 2018 at 6:52 pm #

    Whoops, posted this on the wrong one! Apologies!

  4. Eyal Kleiman October 16, 2018 at 10:16 pm #

    Blockchain technology is fascinating and the concept is one that is promising for individuals security and control of privacy. I briefly spent some time trading cryptocurrencies and I know that blockchain technology is a key component to that. The idea that there is a decentralized system where trading can occur and there is no need for brokers or third parties is truly something amazing and freeing. A big problem with individuals trading is that if you have a trading account through lets say TD’s think or swim program, they require a minimum $25,000 in your trading account to be considered and allowed to day-trade. If one does not have that type of capital in their account, they are limited to three trades per week. That is incredibly limited and is frustrating for those traders who do not have that type of capital to trade with. With blockchain technology, we no longer need a broker or a minimum in our account to trade with. Not only that, there is an added layer of security and anonymity provided by blockchain technology which is reassuring.

    A problem that the article talks about is the fact that these ICOs have had trouble getting off the ground. ICOs are initial coin offerings, like an IPO of a company, but for a cryptocurrency. These ICOs all claim to do different things using various forms of blockchain technology. Unfortunately, because this is such a new type of technology, many of these ICOs are just scams. It is a fake product made to look nice in an effort to attract people to invest in it before they launch. The majority of people investing in this type of tech are not protected well enough from being scammed. It is tough to scan through dozens of ICOs to find one that seems legitimate enough to invest in. Only with tangible evidence will a company using blockchain technology be successful.

  5. Warren Vetter October 19, 2018 at 12:51 am #

    Before I read this article I never have heard of Blockchain technology. I soon found out that it should be a necessity to have if you are an everyday internet user. With the ability of hackers today none of your personal information is safe on the internet. Facebook recently got hacked again and more profiles and personal data were broken into. People also do not realize that there is usually a third party on most websites tracking your every click or transaction. What Blockchain technology does for everyday people and business owner is that it blocks third parties from following your every move. Blockchain also lets the internet user keep track of their personal data and all transactions that have been made. Blockchain technology will not only protect users from their personal data being hacked, but it will also lower transaction costs, reduce waiting times and ultimately make services more accessible to people from all walks of life.

    Although Blockchain technology seems like the perfect security system for online users there is, of course, its challenges. The challenge lies in turning that engagement into education and a good sounding board for feedback. The major issues lie within the lack of a tangible product that solves real-world problems, little engagement with the community, and lack of transparency. To continue, another major issue that consumers have the blockchain technology is that at times it can be hard to trust it. Dishonesty can easily burn out a supportive community. All in all, blockchain technology is something all companies should look into because it will help them earn the trust of their employees and if there was to be a hack into their databases everyone will be protected.

  6. Abhimanyu Sood October 19, 2018 at 9:57 pm #

    What Blockchain technology is simply a clever way to get many different persons to create one common version of something when doing things on the internet. Single versions of things are important for uses like finding out if Alice paid Bob and only Bob for that pizza (and whether she didn’t copy her money and also pay someone else). It is highly valuable due to the fact that in the pre-blockchain world, there was no way to get multiple persons to create something singular, and so we would usually have to put our trust in one person or representative (e.g. a bank) to create and maintain the singular versions of things we needed. Trusting one representative is costly as they can then charge us money to do things at prices that may not be fair. They can also manipulate the thing that we’ve entrusted them with to suit their whims and fancies, potentially in a way that hurts everyone else. This old way of doing things is also very inefficient since different groups of people would choose different representatives to maintain singular versions of the things important to them, making it very difficult to interact between groups. I think the best example is in banking. If you send money to a friend, you usually have to use your bank, who then sends it to your friend’s bank. The ledger of your bank will show the money being taken out. The ledger in your friend’s bank will show the money being put in to his account. But without a bank, how would you send money over the internet? Instead of “trusting” the banks to do the work, you can use a public blockchain, which doesn’t rely on trust of any entity except the blockchain itself. It’s a distributed ledger that is made in a way so that if a fraudulent transaction is attempted, or someone tries to “spend” the same token-of-value twice, the blockchain will by public consensus reject the transaction. It’s a form of “trustless trust”, and does not need big institutions like banks to work.

  7. Daryna Chumak October 19, 2018 at 10:39 pm #

    Blockchain is a breakthrough technology that makes it possible for the users to get involved in digital transactions in a decentralized system. Before reading this article, I heard of block chain for the first time this past summer during my accounting internship. A management level employee gave all of the interns a presentation on blockchain. At first, we were explained what blockchain entails, the current uses, the future potential uses and we had time to ask any questions we might’ve had. As this article explains, blockchain’s potential benefits are the ability to make data transparent, easily accessible to everyone, and incorruptible. The whole idea of blockchain is based on trust and transparency. One of the big areas for use and development includes electronic contracts, since blockchain had the ability to eliminate third parties. However, blockchain faces a number of practical and logistical challenges, which may prevent it from making a fast break though within the business and consumer markets. The main challenge revolves around the fact that the end users of block chain lack the education in order to trust the decentralized system, and as the article explain in trust is one of the two main components that blockchain is based on. Additionally, a lot of the business users are potentially limited to what extent they may implement blockchain into their operations due to the regulatory restrictions and opposition by the end users who, as mentioned above, might not have the appropriate education to support the business urge to move to blockchain services.

    Personally, I see the potential for blockchain to eventually be a standard procedure of the business’ operations, because businesses have the funds to educate their employees and implement new technology in order to increase efficiency. However, I do not see blockchain becoming of everyday use to the every day individuals due to the limited awareness and training in blockchain.

  8. TylerP October 28, 2018 at 2:29 pm #

    Like the article mentions, the time is now for companies to realize the potential that is blockchain. The best known application of blockchain is Bitcoin, or the first cryptocurrency. It has been around for almost ten years now and yet, most people are still confused over how it functions and whether it’s safe to use. Entrepreneurs cannot afford to be that unaware of blockchain’s possible implications on future markets and opportunities for growth.
    Blockchain technology, if stripped of all the hype, operates in a way to be very similar to the web. Like the internet, blockchain has a protocol that sits on top of the internet and can be used to build applications both native and hybrid. However, it is important to note that blockchain is still in its very early days. Whereas there are millions of developers writing web apps in Java, there are just about 5,000 programmers who are blockchain experts. This of course, does not mean that blockchain has been put to the side so to speak. Tech experts from around the world agree almost unanimously that the technology is on its way up. It just takes time to perfect the implementation of such new technology and it takes even more time to find ways to aid the efficiency of businesses. Banks, as one might recall, didn’t do a whole lot with the internet for the first 10 years of its existence. They introduced online banking and brokerage, allowed us to pay bills from home and that’s about it. This lack of innovation on their side caused a rise of finance-tech startups such as Paypal, Alipay and Prosper. Each of whom were able to find ways to exploit the Internet to deliver cheaper, faster and more convenient financial services. It can be argued that in time, the same thing is going to happen with blockchain. Innovative entrepreneurs and software engineers will utilize the elements of the technology that banks and large companies neglect and present either completely new services to people or provide more convenient and safe alternatives to the existing ones. For this reason, more entrepreneurs and programmers must embrace blockchain and use its potential to further their own brand or business.

  9. RyanL October 29, 2018 at 12:01 am #

    In this article by Stephen Brett, CEO and co-founder of Inmusik, he states that blockchain is the “biggest game-changer in technology” since the internet. Although I would consider this a hyperbole, I firmly believe that the inception of blockchain has changed the way many corporations conduct their business functions, in regards to improving daily operations and performances of complex financial transactions. An advantage of implementing blockchain technology is the transparency and accessibility of data, as mentioned in the article. Relating to the investment banking industry, verifying clients and counterparties is crucial, or else fraud and money laundering could become rampant and generate significant losses. Blockchain technology, with its cryptographic protection and ability to share consistently updated records with other parties, can help mitigate the risk of engaging into transactions with criminals and help authenticate/track clients’ identities and their respective histories.

    Another important aspect of blockchain that Stephen Brett mentions is that it can help reduce costs, which is beneficial at both business and individual levels. Regarding tax implications of cryptocurrencies, the IRS considers them as property; similarly to real estate, stocks, and other securities. Potentially, an investor can receive deductions if he/she incurs an overall net capital loss which can lower his/her overall taxable income, or an investor can receive favorable rates depending on how long the security was held. Additionally, there is no central intermediary that confirms or manages transactions. Small businesses can utilize smart contracts to avoid paying fees that otherwise would have been allocated to banks and lawyers, as well as increase the operation speeds for individual transactions.

  10. Brendan C November 9, 2018 at 10:50 pm #

    Before reading this article, I was not aware of the broad application span blockchain technology has. My previous understanding of blockchain technology was that it was mainly for supply chain purposes, but this article highlights its potential use for a wide span of industries. I definitely think blockchain technology has potential utility for the future, however, I have slight skepticisms that this technology will not be the answer for all companies. The article cites that “with blockchain, everyone can manage their own data – from money to personal information,” which is not always beneficial in every circumstance. Placing the responsibility of managing large amounts of raw data solely on a company is a difficult and costly task to successfully manage. Changing hardware and information system software is not as difficult as getting employees to accept and adopt the new technology and procedures.

    This article communicates the potential drawbacks in implementing blockchain technology, which are mainly caused by the transparency and trust issues. An article from The Wall Street Journal provides a good analysis how the potential for blockchain technology resembles that of “the cloud” when it was first introduced (https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-blockchain-will-survive-even-if-bitcoin-doesnt-1520769600). The cloud has enabled businesses and industries to adopt new cost-effective processes as a result of greater storage capacity lower costs. If blockchain technology can successfully collect precise data at a reasonable cost, then it certainly has potential to spark economic growth. However, in both articles, there agreed skepticism concerning the possibility that this technology is not the complete “revolutionary” answer, but rather an “incremental” step in developing the complete answer. From a logistical standpoint, this technology can accurately track and provide real-time data related to the flow of merchandise. From an accounting and finance perspective, this capability provides real-time information related to inventories and transactions, providing an easy process for reporting accurate information. And most importantly, blockchain technology provides management with the ability to make improved decisions based on precise, real-time data. These types of innovations help businesses thrive and help generate economic growth, so I am certainly interested in blockchain’s future.

  11. Douglas Tkac November 30, 2018 at 4:35 pm #

    Before reading this article, I had no clue as to what “blockchain” was, nor what its true purpose was. After taking the time to read and see what exactly blockchain would change and the innovation behind it, I am completely on board with the concept for plenty of reasons.

    Blockchain, to simply put it, simplifies the way that data can be accessed and kept track of without needing a potential third party. This can affect and aid most, if not all businesses and industries, with the author of the article Stephen Britt describing his personal experience with blockchain and how he saw the benefits first hand, recalling “With more people having access to released music, my company uses blockchain to augment what already works. Blockchain will not only allow listeners to access music legally, it will also make royalty payments transparent for rights holders, labels and distributors” (Britt, 2018).

    However, there is a reason as to why all companies have not jumped on board: the target market.

    The target market is one of the most important aspects of business as a whole, in my opinion. If your target market has some type of flaw in it (too small, too big, different demographic), some business will crumble and fall to the ground easily. Specifically, I think that companies that have older ways of operating (as well as a more-inactive community) might not get into blockchain for at least a little while, if it all. Blockchain thrives only if your community is active and supportive, which would back up what Britt observed earlier. The reason blockchain worked so well for his industry is because the music industry these days through streaming sites (SoundCloud, Apple Music, Spotify) is booming with big artists and smaller independent ones trying to make a name for themselves. With a company that operates with an inactive community or that has operated for years in the same way, this will not work for them, as the community will not care or will be confused as to what is going on and what changes the company has ultimately made.

    Blockchain benefits the big companies and industries making noise today, but if you are part of a company that is part of an industry on its way down, blockchain might not be the best idea.

  12. Amanda Nitting December 7, 2018 at 7:45 pm #

    Prior to reading this article, I was not that educated on the concept of blockchain technology. This technology “provides transparency and allows users to transact with one another without needing a third party” (Brett). One of the first examples I thought of was Bitcoin. A few years ago, Bitcoin which is a cryptocurrency emerged and had quite a lot of attraction by the public. Since blockchain technology requires honesty and for people to have complete control over their data, that would in return lower transaction costs. As this technology becomes more and more popular, that will change how industries operate. Technology as a whole has led to the unimaginable to happen because even at one point there were those that have doubt on the internet. Now the internet controls that way the world gets ordinary tasks completed to be able to communicate with others from all different countries.
    Since blockchain technology involved the removal of third parties such as having a bank assist in the transaction between two parties that will cause people to lose their jobs. Although this might occur, the idea that a new and potentially bigger market could come forth from this will save jobs. Establishing trust and transparency in the market is not an easy task since those two factors normally take time to create. This is one of the downsides and benefits of this technology because if the risk of doing this helps the people that they will be able to see the good that results of it. However, if corruption and dishonesty happen in ICOs and fails for that reason, that will ruin some of its reputations. This has been the case for some ICOs and causes hesitation in people from making this transition. The other difficult thing about blockchain is being able to market it the right way that will make investors want to take the risk in putting their money into the ICO. Although right now, there are more people who think that this blockchain will not make a big emergence are underestimating its real capabilities. As I stated at the beginning of this comment, I have never heard of the term blockchain but I have heard of bitcoin. This just shows that even if there is not a huge fan base yet, it does not mean it is not possible. As the amount of ICOs makes their presence wider, the people will most likely respond positively to it because they will realize that they would have more control over their how their data is managed. In a world where data is constantly being tracked and analyzed with no regulations could also make blockchain more appealing.
    Overall, right now blockchain technology is a big risk but with that being said, it could produce big gains. The most naïve thing to do which this new technology is to try to completely rule it out when over time it could be a reality. Instead preparation and getting educated on how to interpret ICOs and blockchain technology in all perspectives is the solution. This way if it does become the upcoming way of doing transactions, one is not getting blindsided.

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