Few have missed the buzz around Blockchain over the last few years. But now we are seeing that it is much more than buzz; the number of real use cases based on the technology is growing, and an increasing number of organisations, across a range of industries, understand how to utilise its benefits. This subject was discussed during Centigo UK’s Blockchain inspiration breakfast seminar the 31 October, where business profiles and Blockchain enthusiasts gathered to gain insights from the industry, hear about live use cases and engage in discussion.
Alexander Danson, consultant at Centigo and thought leader within Blockchain, started the morning by presenting the potential of Blockchain technology and the challenges facing widespread adoption. Alexander described that we have only touched on the possibilities when it comes to value created from Blockchain, and that we during the coming years will see an exponential increase, as the technology is adopted. To achieve this value, there are challenges that the industry needs to overcome such as regulatory immaturity and governance of the technology between companies. There is also a need to start to collaborate even more in ecosystems of organisations to speed up innovation further.
Alexander also described how you can get started already today by evaluating whether your use case is suitable for Blockchain or not through the Oxford Blockchain Framework and exemplified this through We.trade, a Blockchain solution for secure and transparent trade.
Saba Shaukat, Director of Blockchain Products and Marketing at Sentient Design Lab, continued by presenting how Blockchain technology can be used to help us meet the United Nation’s sustainable development goals. She presented a use case featuring a holistic and transparent platform that supports sustainable investments. The platform enables all types of investors to follow the impact of their investments, including multiple stakeholders across multiple territories. For instance, if you send goods to a region with poverty you can through their solution ‘lock the goods into a Blockchain’, to secure that it reaches its target, follow up and measure the impact and return of the investment. This way you can ensure that the sustainable investments really make the difference that is needed.
Oliver Oram, Founder of Chainvine, was the final presenter and focused on current Blockchain use cases in a range of industries, from wine to law, illustrating the advantages of their product, Intelligent Commodities. A product used by clients such as K&L Gates (Intelligent Contracts) and Stena Stål (supply chain). Oliver began by asking the audience if they remembered the horse meat scandal from 2013, a scandal where leading grocery retailers took the blame for foods which were advertised as beef but were found to contain horse meat and other undeclared meat. Oliver described how Blockchain is an important tool, which can help prevent such scandals happening in the future.
Oliver explained that, whilst Blockchain cannot replace trust, it can help reduce the cost of trust. Chainvine has supported many similar use cases, such as for wine and other goods, to provide full transparency throughout the supply chain. However, Oliver’s opinion is that it is a question about 20% technology and 80% process – as with all technology, if not used properly, Blockchain will fail. A trained team that understands the new ways of working is required and change management measures cannot be underestimated.
The last agenda point during the morning was an open discussion and a chance for the audience to ask their questions to the speakers. An interesting discussion point that came up was the challenge to get started, especially when there are so many Blockchain protocols out there. The speakers argued that the starting point for this is not the technology itself, but the actual context and use case. For instance, if the use case requires on-chain payments the recommendation could be a different technology compared to if the use case calls for smart contracts. Many Blockchain protocols are also open source and can be built upon in a way which is protocol-agnostic, allowing you the flexibility to switch protocol in the future if required.
During 2018 projects have started to go live, enabling Blockchain protocols to be tested in the real world. You can analyse the choices made in these initiatives and learn from their mistakes and successes when choosing the proper technology for your use case. Furthermore, existing technologies will improve, for example, solutions are being assessed in open-source communities to reduce energy consumption for verifying transactions; the proof-of-work algorithm used in Bitcoin’s protocol is often criticised for its high energy use.
Are you interested in learning more about Blockchain or discuss the opportunities for your business? Centigo can offer different levels of consulting and advisory – both in strategic perspectives as well as implementation. We can also guide you in navigating possible technology vendors. Get in touch to discuss our Blockchain-starter package!
Contact Henrik Löfgren: firstname.lastname@example.org