Author: Johna Till Johnson, CEO & Founder
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past five years, you’re aware of the buzz around blockchain. Blockchain is a distributed transaction-management and validation scheme that forms the underpinnings of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin; it also has applications across a range of business functions.
A good way to think about blockchain is that it holds the potential to do for networks of enterprises and business ecosystems what ERP did for the single company. Or in another metaphor, it’s a bit like TCP/IP in that it provides a reliable, scalable, standardized common communications infrastructure. Blockchain provides a means of reliably recording and communicating transactions.
The evolution of TCP/IP provides some useful guidelines for how we believe blockchain will evolve. The first enterprise applications of TCP/IP happened within organizations, in parallel with the emerging Internet. Over time, these networks (private and public) interconnected.
Similarly, blockchain exists in the form of a collection of public chains used for cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others) and, in parallel, in isolated private or semi-private chains within enterprises, used for transaction settlement, asset tracking, and more. As time goes on, these use cases will converge, with private blockchain networks interconnecting across industries and eventually, across open networks.
The takeaway is that regardless of your stance on cryptocurrencies—love ‘em, hate ‘em, or ignore ‘em—it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with blockchains and how they work. Start thinking now about potential use cases in your business or industry, and when you’re ready, take the leap to rolling out a low- or no-cost deployment. Reading this report is a good first step.
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