Updated: Jan 20
Cryptocurrency has changed the nature of digital payments both at merchant and user level. It may change the dynamics of human interactions in future as people are moving towards iMoney. However, Blockchain which is the technology underlying Cryptocurrency offer some exciting use cases that can take the face of the business to the next level.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is an open shared distributed decentralized ledger that can register all the transaction between parties (nodes) in a secure and encrypted way. Imaging it as an open database that all parties and all participants have access to the transactions all the time. This means faking the data and manipulation of information is near to impossible as there is no centralized authority holding or controlling the transactions.
Blockchain by itself will enable transactions to move around and enable parties to exchange value (like exchanging iMoney, I pay you iMoney for an exchange of a good/service and we move on). What makes Blockchain interesting for businesses is the concept of Smart Contract which needs special attention.
What is Smart Contract?
Smart Contract is another concept in Blockchain which simply means "if" something happen, "then" do something about it. So it means that if some conditions met, then lets take some actions about this. By design, this simple capability can open up new wave of opportunities and use cases for businesses in a way they could have never imagine. The level of automation is beyond the existing platforms, which means now businesses can automate tasks that they could have not done in the past.
Most of these use cases has been tested by some businesses on their back end. Services such as Payroll, HR, Finance etc. But the possibilities are endless with some level of exceptions.
Smart Contract has some limitations by design that make them unusable for some businesses and use cases which I will highlight later in this post.
Let's discuss some viable use cases.
Smart Contract and Sales Automation
During all these years in my career, I saw lot of organizations that are dealing with some fundamental problems with their Sales operations. Specially, then the sales actually happen. We all saw this scenario that when the buyer raise Purchase Order (PO) against a provided quote, a series of problems and challenges just start. When raising Purchase Order, Operations from Seller should manually place order on the backend, enable and activate licenses, cinform different parties inside seller organization, open up tickets for Professional Services or Support for installation of product or service, making sure engineering and Quality Assurance teams are across this opportunity etc etc.
There are whole another challenges from the buyers side as they may never implement the purchased solution as thy may simply forget about it! If the people inside buyers organization simply change their roles and the focus is shifted to another area, simply the purchased solution may never come to reality which is a lost value for buyers.
Organizations are living and operating in silos that the flow of information between different BUs are sometimes hard or even impossible.
Imagine if there was a platform between buyer and seller (in a B2B scenario) that as soon as Purchase Order is raised by buyer, a whole set of notifications and action items are running automatically among buyer and seller BUs to inform all parties that this purchase has been completed and create the whole set of actions for them in their existing ERPs, CRMs or Licensing platforms. So no deal will lost its value and we are error proofing organizations and making sure the right action item is assigned to the right people which brings more efficiency.
Smart Contract and Smart City
I am not going through lot of details as there are lot of good reads on this:
A Blockchain-Based Approach to Smart Cities
· By Ben Algaze
And here is another useful read:
Blockchain – Train of Innovative Thoughts Transforming Smart Cities
In a nutshell, Blockchain will bring full visibility and transparency to the citizens and increase the level of trust between people and the leaders.
The Limitation of Smart Contract
Here is a great article on the whole subject including some of the myths around Blockchain:
The Smart Contracts performs, no matter what. As soon as you put Smart Contract in place, it runs forever!! No matter how the situation is changing, your smart contract runs for ever and there is no stop. This will be great for more use cases but not all.
In addition, running smart contracts will cost money and needs to receive payment to be able to support the electricity and power behind the node
This will limit the adoption of Blockchain and of course, it makes it very attractive for those specific use cases . . .