The past decade, and the swift rise of cloud technologies, have transformed nearly every part of our lives. How we eat (Postmates), how we date (Tinder), and even how we send each other money (Venmo) have changed.
These nascent technologies have all but wiped out incumbents who have been too slow to respond. More recently, another new technology — the blockchain — has emerged. While initially focused on cryptocurrency, it is now enabling organizations to become more efficient and save costs in how they do business.
The blockchain has the potential to disrupt any industry sector, leaving in its wake a more effective system where people get to own the value they create. Imagine each of us having our identity on the blockchain. When a person conducts a transaction, it shares only a fraction of the data required to execute it, and securely stores the information. In this manner, individuals get to control their data and monetize it if they like, or not.
Ownership as we know it is about to change. Using the blockchain, a person can store all information (financial, property, even music) in a permanent, immutable format. But what does this mean in practical terms?
Essentially, the blockchain records events in a database. Once added to the database (the blockchain), the data cannot be removed or altered in any way. This essentially creates a verifiable, permanent record. Fundamentally, the blockchain is protected by complex mathematical rules making it more secure by multiple orders of magnitude than what came before it.
Its potential to disrupt the business-to-business payment market is also significant. The blockchain delivers a frictionless way to conduct payments, overcoming the complicated processes of the past. It removes the need to pay with checks (which are costly to process), decreases the risk of labor-intensive and slow manual processes, and increases productivity by automating the time needed to process invoices from weeks to hours or even minutes.
Of course, the technology itself is just one part of the equation. To unlock the true potential of the blockchain, an organization must work with a solutions provider that delivers the mechanisms required to effectively implement it, whether this is on a transactional basis (for business-to-business payments) or based on smart contracts (in the insurance industry for example). By working with the right provider, a business can ensure its continued success by embracing the disruption facing industry in the most effective way possible.
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