As blockchain continues to progress outside of cryptocurrencies and into the enterprise IT space, organizations are beginning to look for ways to leverage the benefits of blockchain. Let me stop right there. You’re probably thinking, “What benefits? It’s just Bitcoin.” While Bitcoin gets the headlines, as it should since it’s the top use case within the financial vertical and has a massive consumer-based following, blockchain is so much more than Bitcoin. It’s truly disruptive technology that will enable organizations to recognize massive efficiency gains and cost savings across all verticals, from communications & media, and transportation & logistics to business services and retail. Check out my video below where I talk about the top reasons why blockchain should matter to you.
So who’s leading the charge in the technology community and vendor space? How are organizations getting started? There are two primary avenues…
- There are the traditional IT vendors, mainly IBM and Microsoft (Google is right around the corner). They already have their own cloud platforms, a plethora of -as-a-service offerings, and massive customer bases. It’s only natural that blockchain-as-a-service gets added to the list (and already has been added). At IBM Think 2018 there was no shortage of blockchain announcements, including the announcement of a fingertip-sized computer to serve as a blockchain connector and the release of a new platform for developers and startups to build their own blockchain projects. At Microsoft Ignite 2017, multiple sessions were available around blockchain, where Microsoft’s blockchain vision was shared and current and potential use cases were presented.
- There are collaborative and community-based organizations, such as Hyperledger or the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. Hyperledger provides open-source blockchain technologies and collaboration between businesses and technology experts to further the development and implementation of blockchain frameworks and platforms. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance works to connect businesses to Ethereum experts based on the premise that Ethereum is the primary blockchain that supports smart contracts and has real-world production. In terms of memberships, both organizations have hundreds of members, with IBM being a premier member of Hyperledger, while Microsoft is tied to EEA. Additional enterprise IT vendors that are members to one or both organizations include the likes of Cisco, Fujistu, Hitachi, HPE, Intel, Oracle, and SAP (just to name some of the bigger names).
The blockchain space is still in its early stages, but as the technology becomes more widely available and the business benefits are proven out by the early adopters across verticals, I’m expecting a massive shift in how our businesses operate under the covers. And for the techies who want to learn about the technology itself, stay tuned for my next blog/video on the foundational pieces of blockchain technology.