How fast is this Blockchain thing going to take over?
Well that was fast, relatively speaking, we’re talking about Blockchain of course. Ever since Bitcoin hit the scene a few years ago there has been massive skepticism and concern over the use of crypto-currency, primarily by governments and multi-national businesses that fear the loss of control to the public. Of course the Millennial generation has embraced this new frontier fairly whole-heartedly, with 92% of them firmly expressing their distrust of banks according to an early 2016 white paper published by Facebook IQ.
While many people in the general public still don’t really understand what Bitcoin or crypto-currency is, or the technology behind it. But suddenly major corporations are embracing blockchain technology at a record pace, not necessarily for currency related issues but for other applications which can greatly benefit from the superior tracking abilities it enables.
Normally an internet-based survey has about as much of a chance at being credible as a polling organization during the 2016 presidential election cycle (zing! ouch!). However, when that survey is done by Deloitte one tends to give it the benefit of the doubt to some extent. The survey in question found that 12% of big businesses, defined as a business with at least $500 million in annual revenue, have already deployed blockchain projects. Not considered them, not looking into them, but already deployed them. And that number doesn’t count a large number of others who said they have plans to do so in the coming year.
For what? That’s the question. The answer, in a nutshell, is transactions. What kind of transactions remains to be seen in the bigger picture, but many of the companies surveyed recognized that blockchain technology is capable of improving systems operations by either reducing costs, increasing speed, or both. Just as many understand the superior security features of the technology, and about one quarter of them see the blockchain as a way to generate new business opportunities and create new revenue streams.
Get Your Blockchain Here
So once you understand the potential for the technology, how do you go about implementing it? That’s essentially the question IBM has attempted to answer with their IBM Blockchain, their own version of the blockchain which they released earlier this year. It’s more than a blockchain though, it’s an ecosystem built around a blockchain meant to help other businesses and individuals develop their own blockchain-based businesses.
From another perspective, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne might see this technology as a way to replace, or at least complement, the stock market and/or the banking system. This is an area where the pushback is seemingly insurmountable, but Byrne’s just played his first hand by selling 126,000 shares of his company’s stock over the internet through the Bitcoin blockchain in what he called a “Sputnik moment”. In other words, it was largely symbolic but was still a small step in the right direction, according to him and many others. The legality of the sales made the whole thing much messier than one would expect from a blockchain transaction, but it happened nonetheless. Now, onward to the future.
There are lots of people who have toyed with seeking out a job in crypto-currency technology in general, but have pulled back because of all the stigmas and the reluctance of “major” corporations or organizations to embrace it. These are no fringe groups here. It may be time to get on the blockchain train (can I coin that phrase?). It appears to be pulling out of the station.