Why blockchain might be your next big resource

Why blockchain might be your next big resource

Are you thinking about how to leverage blockchain technology in your enterprise? According to IBM, the majority of the world’s large corporations are either in the process of establishing blockchain technology or actively exploring the idea of implementing it. Any organization that wants to remain competitive should start thinking about blockchain today.

So, what is blockchain?

Blockchain is, as Computer World UK explains: “A way of storing information…in a distributed way: sharing it between many parties; thus, doing away with the need for a trusted central server.” The blockchain can only be altered if the majority of the users agree to the change. Information added to the blockchain can never be removed. This creates what Computer World UK calls a “definite, verifiable record of digital events.”

Blockchain for supply chain management

For this reason, Blockchain technology can increase transparency in any supply chain. Deloitte reports:

“Blockchain driven innovations in the supply chain will have the potential to deliver tremendous business value by increasing supply chain transparency, reducing risk, and improving efficiency and overall supply chain management.”

This can be applied to any industry in which goods are transported. The oil and gas industry could provide greater transparency, and blockchain could drive farm-to-table tracking in the food and agriculture industries.

However, blockchain is reliant on strong connectivity as a backbone. If blockchain is to be successfully deployed for supply chain management, all regions would need access to high-speed internet.

Blockchain for smart contracts

Blockchain technology can be used to build transparent and secure contracts such as the insurance contracts that American International Group, IBM and Standard Chartered Bank are working on. IBM says the technology is ideal for contracts because:

  • It offers the ability for all users to view pertinent contract details
  • All activity relating to the contract is recorded
  • No single party can alter the contract without the consent of the other parties

Smart contracts will need to be accessed via the internet, which means secure network infrastructure will become more important than ever.

Fibre optic infrastructure, when built and managed correctly, provides the highest level of security. Axia’s secure connectivity is managed by a state of the art facility that offers best in class reliability and resiliency.

Blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT)

In a Forbes article, Blockchain and the Internet of Things: 4 Important Benefits of Combining These Two Mega Trends, Bernard Marr, identified four advantages of using blockchain with IoT technology:

  • The record of digital events can be used for oversight. Any anomalous activity in an IoT network can be tracked, understood, and fixed. It’s possible that blockchain and IoT convergence will become a necessity at some point. 
  • The encryption in blockchain will mean that the data will be trusted by all parties.
  • IoT networks can work in partnership with smart contracts to trigger payment upon completion of predetermined actions, such as delivery of goods.
  • Blockchain can improve the security of an IoT network. 

Marr also points out that the decentralized nature of blockchain means it may become a necessary component of IoT infrastructure because it creates a large amount of redundancy, which can function as multiple backups.

Blockchain, AI, and machine learning

In his article, Artificial Intelligence And Blockchain: 3 Major Benefits Of Combining These Two Mega-Trends, Marr points out that “AI and blockchain are made for each other.” He writes that encryption in blockchains can safeguard mission-critical data such as health records or proprietary business information.

A blockchain records all transactional data which can enhance businesses ability to use AI, and businesses are already increasingly using AI and Big Data to make decisions. Meaning that businesses can trace the processes that an AI system used to arrive at a decision.

The downside to blockchain

Blockchains can consume a massive amount of energy. The original blockchain, which underlies Bitcoin, for example, is developed by “mining” using specially developed computers. The process involves the machines trying multiple combinations of code until they hit upon the right one, which requires a huge amount of energy-consuming computing power. In fact, if bitcoin miners represented a country, they would rank 61st in the world for energy consumption.

One solution is to put AI to work on blockchain encryption. Machine learning and AI would improve their encryption skills over time as they “learn” the code. This, argues Marr, will reduce the energy consumption of blockchain technology.

While there are still issues to resolve with blockchain, it’s clear that this technology will one day be part of numerous business processes. To be prepared for its arrival in your industry, make sure you have infrastructure such as fibre optic internet in place.

For more information on our secure fibre connectivity solutions, contact your Axia salesperson at sales@axia.com or 1-866-773-3348.