In 2018 Blockchain could already be identified as one of the technologies that was quite talked about globally, even Gartner, a leading IT consulting and research company, presented it within its Hyper Cycle or Hyper circle of emerging technologies with a good positioning in the quadrant of the peak of inflated expectations.
However, Blockchain to some extent is a somewhat unknown concept for most of the general population, because it is believed to be one of those topics that only experts or certain types of technologists know and master. We could even compare it to how people saw the Internet in the 80s, many knew that there was a new type of technology called Internet, but they were not clear about what it was, how to use it or if it was a technology exclusive to some universities.
However, over the years, the utilities, applications and developments that were created with the support of the Internet, gave rise to people to adapt much easier and faster, making the most of its incalculable potential.
Taking into account the above mentioned, we can compare that situation with the current situation of Blockchain, even for many people very similar doubts have arisen: what is really Blockchain, how can we use it in our organizations, can it only be used by banks or financial institutions? The answers to these questions are simpler than many people think. Blockchain is a technology that allows us to keep our information more secure, and it does not require a third party to ensure that a process, whatever it is, is valid.
It helps to have traceability of data, while providing privacy and transparency through “smart contracts” which can be applied as business rules that are responsible for executing an action automatically according to the “rules” indicated by the contract. More details on these features can be seen in the image below:
Now that the concept of Blockchain is clearer, let’s see what its uses are, because by understanding its characteristics, it will be clear that it can be used for anything that companies want to do, for example in cases of use at the health level, to have a unified record of users, to keep the traceability of the health status of patients and / or control of medicines or doctor’s visits.
It is also possible to implement it from an economic point of view, where it makes it possible to put banks aside to move money, without borders, commissions or intermediaries, without real traceability and without so many days of waiting for an international transfer to be reflected.
Another great use that is being given, for example by the company Walmart since October 2016, is the traceability of consumer products, where through this technology they managed to give tracking to the controls in the United States and pork in China, and with the support of IBM they managed to have greater transparency of the real state of their products in the farms, in addition to being able to obtain the complete detail of where each batch is and by whom it has been handled, which helps them to provide a higher quality product to their customers, avoiding diseases such as e-coli.
This process at Walmart was very successful and brought many benefits, to such a level that, by September 2018, only 2 years after its first implementation, they already had 25 products added to this platform and in order to interact with the Blockchain the farmers only had to know how to upload the information, they did not have to be experts in the technology.
As we have seen, Blockchain is a potential technology, it has demonstrated its potential with uses in different sectors, radically transforming processes to achieve very high levels of security.
Improvements will come, more use cases, it will become increasingly simple to understand its use and we will take away the fear of the unknown. So we must keep abreast of it and its evolution to take advantage of it in the best way in our organizations, as we do in Interfaz.
Resources: Capgemini (2016). “Blockchain: Real World Use Cases” | Gartner (2018). “5 Trends Emerge in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2018” | The Leadership Network (2020). “How Walmart used blockchain to increase supply chain transparency”