One of the most promising developments in the field of information technology, blockchain offers a myriad of solutions for secured, transparent and efficient business transactions. Analysts from Grand View Research predict that the blockchain market will enjoy a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 37.2% between 2016 and 2024. Meanwhile, analysts from IDC are even more bullish about the blockchain solutions market forecasting a five-year CAGR of 81.2% and total spending of $9.billion by 2021.
Many major companies and organizations are already working on research and development of their blockchain solutions. And there are also some who are already incorporating this technology into their processes. Meanwhile, small businesses are still tentative about implementing enterprise blockchain solutions. But as this technology continues to transform the technological landscape, businesses and organizations of any size need to keep up with it and soon adapt it as well.
Blockchain technology solves the most pervasive issues that hound companies – security, immutability and trust. This transparent peer-to-peer network allows direct transactions, cutting on costs, saving time, and ensuring efficiency.
To help you better understand how this technology works and can be of use to your business, here are some blockchain applications that you can implement in your business.
Tracing its roots in cryptocurrency, blockchain solutions offer a secured and affordable way of paying and getting paid. Businesses can benefit from the inherent properties of blockchain that include transparency, security and decentralization. It eliminates costly transaction fees and delayed remittance associated with intermediaries. Through blockchain, users can send money directly to their recipients. This is particularly beneficial for businesses that involve cross-border transactions. Transactions done through blockchain are also tamper-proof and auditable.
2. Loyalty programs
Blockchain solutions can be used by businesses to manage their loyalty programs and gift cards. These two marketing strategies are a regular part of marketing campaigns of businesses. With blockchain, small businesses can use the technology to manage loyalty programs and issue gift cards. Gyft is a specific example of service that uses the public ledger for buying, sending and redeeming gift cards.
3. Claims processing
Blockchain solutions can be developed to provide an efficient and transparent system for claims processing that is suited to your business. Claims processing entails a complicated process that involves going through fragmented data sources, fraudulent claims, or inadequate paperwork. All of these factors make conventional claim processing prone to error. With blockchain, insurers can set up a secured database of their clients for a more efficient claims processing.
4. Digital identity authentication
Security and efficiency are intrinsic properties of blockchain technology. Unlike the current password-based systems, blockchain-based verification systems require cryptographic signatures. These digital signatures provide immutable and non-tamperable identity that is unique to the user. To access data or make transactions, the customer must have the correct private key. Businesses can harness this feature of the blockchain to make their system secure from cyber attacks and fraud.
5. Supply chain management
Blockchain solutions can provide a real-time tracking and monitoring of supplies as they go through the supply chain. Supply chain sensors can be used on raw materials used for your product thereby giving businesses an end-to-end visibility of their production processes. With these sensors, you can track supplies as they are transported from origin to your warehouses to the consumers. Meanwhile, the blockchain serves as a ledger for storing and managing this smart information.
6. Cloud storage
Although cloud storage is already available to businesses, the monthly plans for storage are actually very expensive. Furthermore, current cloud storage is hosted by a provider which practically has control of your digital data. Blockchain offers a less expensive and accessible alternative. Storj is an example of a decentralized cloud storage network that businesses can use for their data storage needs.
Finally, blockchain is still in its infancy and we have yet to see its full potential. But as we continue to explore this technology, we discover endless possibilities of application in businesses. In the same manner as the World Wide Web has disrupted the 20th century, blockchain is seen to transform the way we do business. And as it continues to shape the information technology landscape and gain acceptance in the mainstream; small and medium-sized companies must be ready to incorporate blockchain into their processes.