June 20, 2018

The Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin

Blockchain technologies have been made popular by the creation of bitcoin, but how exactly can a blockchain benefit an enterprise? A blockchain provides an immutable store of facts. This model delivers significant value in the face of regulatory oversight by providing irrevocable proof that transactions occurred. Some even refer to these uses of a blockchain as enterprise resource planning (ERP) 2.0.

The foundational pieces that comprise a blockchain model are already in place in one fashion or another within most enterprises. They have not, however, been pieced together with the required technology components to produce the benefits of a blockchain. There are three main components required to deliver these benefits: a shared distributed ledger, smart contracts, and consensus....

These three components individually exist in some fashion in different parts of an organization, but they have not been assembled into something as well-packaged and overarching as a blockchain. Ledgers exist within accounting systems, smart contracts or FaaS exist within production software environments, and consensus algorithms exist in many places, including within expense reporting systems.

The key for an enterprise is to focus not just on the blockchain concept or isolated blockchain technology, but to understand how to integrate a blockchain’s key components into their environment.

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