After a nearly unbroken series of price improvements throughout 2017, cryptocurrencies are finally beginning to settle in. Although the total market cap remains more than $200 billion higher than it was at the start of last year, 2018 is primarily devoid of the significant price shifts that characterized the previous year.
In contrast, the blockchain, long overshadowed by crypto’s prolific growth, is enjoying a unique hype stage as it accrues endorsements from government officials, industry leaders, and independent thinkers. Although it gained notoriety as the decentralized ledger for cryptocurrencies, the blockchain is certainly capable of much more than that.
As Deloitte’s blockchain division concludes, “Amid a media frenzy surrounding bitcoin…prescient technologists and business leaders recognized that the real story was not the scandals swirling around Silk Road or Mt.Gox, but, rather, bitcoin’s technology endoskeleton, blockchain.”
In other words, When The New York Times dubbed the blockchain more valuable than Bitcoin, they aren’t criticizing Bitcoin. They are praising the possibilities afforded by this new technology. The primary conduit for this value-add is through business and enterprise integration.
With that in mind, how can businesses practically integrate the blockchain into their existing workflows, and in what ways will it benefit those that do?
Decentralized Decision Making
Agility, collaboration, and consensus characterize the modern work force. In some ways, these qualities are more of a philosophy than a tangible reality. Especially for large companies, it can be difficult to determine consensus or to make company-wide decisions based on that information. As a result, company-wide decisions are often made by just a few people with access or opportunity.
The blockchain makes businesses more democratic. Platforms like DAOstak divide organizations into small groups that determine majority decisions. The blockchain effectively manages data, so DAOstak can implement a Holographic consensus model that presents all sides of a business issue and allows teams to develop meaningful concurrence.
The blockchain can create cohesion among disparate groups, which has a positive effect on morale, productivity, and sustainability.
In the digital age, all companies are required to have robust networks to power their businesses. However, this infrastructure is costly and vulnerable to many of the hacking schemes that are making headlines this year.
The blockchain’s decentralized network is significantly more effective in thwarting conventional hacks than standard, centralized systems. For example, DDoS attacks, which rely on overwhelming a centralized server with requests, are rendered useless because, with the blockchain, there is no centralized server to attack.
In their 2018 Joint Economic Report, The U.S. Congress touted the blockchain’s security features and encouraged continued growth in this regard. That’s an essential step for the blockchain, and businesses should be taking note. Platforms like Ethereum allow companies to launch decentralized networks with a high degree of reliability and security.
In addition, the blockchain can be used to enhance the security and usability of enterprise level cloud storage solutions. By encrypting information and securing it with a decentralized network, companies can increase the viability of cloud computing while creating better platforms for their customers.
The blockchain originated as a p2p payment solution, so it naturally has a plethora of finance-related applications. For large companies, especially those with international employees, using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to complete payroll obligations can be a cost saver in several ways.
The Society for Human Resources Management tends to agree. In their report on blockchain technology, the institution concluded that “Global payroll can be costly and often delayed because of the many intermediary banks and third parties involved in the process. Blockchain’s ability to simply and standardize payments by eliminating the middleman may make it attractive to payroll managers.”
Platforms like Bitwage allow companies to develop decentralized payroll solutions that can make a significant impact on their bottom line.
One of the blockchain’s most talked about features, smart contracts, can build efficiency and reliability into the business world. Whether businesses integrate supply chain management into their consumer workflow or they are coordinating with freelance or advisory employees, smart contracts are a dynamic part of the blockchain experience. They function like a digital escrow service through which predetermined actions are automatically executed when certain stipulations are met.
Smart contracts establish a trustworthy business environment, so all relevant parties can perform their jobs with confidence that they will be compensated for their work. This is especially important for business-to-business relationships.
In total, the blockchain is impacting businesses in some compelling ways. From decentralizing the decision-making process so that companies can build consensus to creating better networks for cloud computing, payroll, and smart contracts, the blockchain is the next frontier for businesses development. In a very real way, the companies that pursue it now will be the ones poised to embrace the decentralized future in the present.