It’s hard to talk tech these days without hearing about blockchain. While a lot of the buzz was initially about cryptocurrencies, the media attention overshadowed the huge amount of investment being put into various blockchain-related startups.
Blockchain has been compared to the early days of the internet in terms of how big of an impact it will have on nearly every industry from finance to food safety.
Companies keeping an eye toward the future already know that they should start preparing for the coming disruption. Here are some things you must do as your business determines how to best approach this new tech.
Blockchain is a distributed, immutable ledger that effectively guarantees the accuracy of the data included in the ever-growing chain. In blockchain, every individual party has their own “spreadsheet” with the same data that everyone else has.
This is significant because it can greatly reduce the cost and time associated with all sorts of transactions, contracts and other digital property transfers. It also mitigates a lot of the security and fraud concerns associated with these transactions.
It’s very hard (nearly impossible) to corrupt the data in a blockchain. As every party has a ledger, if one party tries to fraudulently change the data on their ledger, the blockchain will compare that discrepancy and invalidate it because none of the other ledgers reflect that data change.
Forecast for Your Industry
Cryptocurrencies have made it clear that blockchain will disrupt the finance industry, but it doesn’t stop there. Assess where blockchain might affect your business. Pay close attention to areas for which the fidelity of records is important and trust between parties may not be high.
Some applications are obvious. For example, a bank transfer might take several days, while a financial transaction in blockchain takes minutes or hours. Others are less apparent but equally as important – whereas determining the source of contaminated food in an outbreak used to take a week, it takes only a matter of seconds in blockchain. Not only does that save money, but it might even save lives.
Also, examine the role that third parties may play in your business. Blockchain saves money by eliminating the need for expensive third-party fees and transactions. Real estate transactions, for example, are bogged down with the human-intensive task of locating all the necessary paperwork, like plats and deeds. Real estate titles in blockchain will eliminate the time-consuming work involved in finding all these papers, and that savings in time means savings in closing costs.
Hire the Right People
After determining how your industry might be affected and what changes you need to make, it’s time to bring on the people who know how to do it.
Although it has been around for a few years, this technology is just starting to develop in a serious way. The theory behind blockchain is fairly simple, but the actual applications are extremely complex. While it isn’t a bad idea to have a company-wide seminar on blockchain, it’s going to take a lot more than a day for a novice to effectively understand and be able to implement the tech.
The demand for talent is growing faster than the supply, so you may need to take a specialized approach. Since searching for employees through traditional job sites may yield a lot of less-than-qualified candidates, consider using tech-specific staffing agencies to find blockchain engineers, architects, and strategists. Although there may be more cost upfront, the investment in finding the right people will pay off very quickly.
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