Blockchain technology has been tipped to revolutionize the payment industry. It has moved beyond being just the technology behind bitcoin, showing it has the potential to disrupt many different industries.
We’ve picked out four blockchain trends to pay attention to 2017.
At the moment, we rely entirely on banks and financial institutions to provide everything from authentication through to record keeping. But they're centralized, which means they can be hacked, and increasingly are.
Blockchain has the potential to eliminate the need for these centralized institutions to facilitate trade. It cuts out the need for a middleman, allowing you to deal directly with whoever you're sending money to, just like handing them cash on the street. All parties will have to off on transactions at the time they are sent to ensure they are accurate and the decentralized ledger ensures the records can't be altered.
IBM recently announced it was building blockchain technology that will be used by seven of Europe's largest banks, including HSBC and Rabobank, to facilitate international trade for small and medium-size enterprises.
Organizations are very concerned about cloud security. The growth and implementation of the cloud in many organizations has opened up a whole new set of privacy and security concerns. Decentralized cloud storage offers an attractive alternative. A decentralized ledger ensures organizations can encrypt and distribute files without worrying about them falling into the wrong hands - because only the owner will have access to these files.
Sia is an example of this in practice. Sia leverages the capacity of blockchain technology to enable distributed networks to reach consensus in a secure and trustless way. Its smart contracts ensure the encryption and transfer of data with no possibility for a third party to interfere in any way.
SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
The two most important issues in the supply chain in 2017 are transparency and traceability. A system built on a distributed blockchain ledger can record any item’s history and trace back every product to the very origin of the raw material used. Most importantly, no single party could manipulate the data to their own advantage.
For example, the ledger could identify all the parties involved, as well as the price, date, location, quality and state of the product and any other information that would be relevant.
IBM has already rolled out a service that allows customers to test blockchains in a secure cloud and track high-value items through complex supply chains.
Blockchain could also have a big impact on content creators who don’t receive fair compensation. For example, Imogen Heap, a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, is now putting music on a blockchain ecosystem called “Mycelia.”
The music has a smart contract that protects her intellectual property rights. She says blockchain helps the song to become a business. It's out there on this platform marketing itself, protecting the rights of the author, and because the song has a payment system in the sense of bank account, all the money flows back to the artist.
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