Why Corporates are Finally Joining the Blockchain Revolution

Blockchain technology is not just a thing of nerdy startups anymore with major business discovering its benefits.

Corporations around the world are adopting blockchain technology at a rapid pace to transform traditional business models, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. The penetration of Blockchain technology into the various markets has grown from an infant industry and is already making huge strides in the corporate world.

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, an extensive network of enterprises, startups, academics, and vendors that works to customize Ethereum’s blockchain technology for industry use already has over 400 members. Large blockchain investments that utilize the technology’s ability to increase transparency, security, traceability, and efficiency are giving rise to new projects and technologies that are transforming entire industries.

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New Platforms Continue to Pop Up

The eagerness of corporations to adopt blockchain technology is illustrated by the steady development of new blockchain platforms across a spectrum of various industries and sectors. The financial sector has long been a proponent of blockchain technology with several major financial institutions investing heavily into new ventures. JP Morgan, for example, has internally developed its own Ethereum blockchain platform Quorum to create an enterprise-focused version of Ethereum.

Ophir Gertner
Ophir Gertner

Quorum allows private transactions to take place within a group of known participants that have been given prior permission. The platform has already caught the attention of major corporations around the world, including pharmaceutical company Pfizer, who announced that it is developing a new blockchain platform powered by Quorum to prevent counterfeit goods from entering medical supply chains.

Other prominent financial leaders have also invested heavily in blockchain technology as of late. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) filed a patent for using blockchain technology to verify digital certificates instead of using a trusted central authority, and the Bank of America filed just under 50 blockchain-related patents to improve financial transaction efficiency.

Experts believe, that in the near future, blockchain technology will be utilized to create streamlined payment gateways and even today, a number of large corporations are working on improving payment methods for customers. Microsoft has secured over 40 blockchain-related patents for payment gateways, while Mastercard has filed over 30 such patents for technology that would allow immediate payments using recorded guarantees for customers. Also, the Bank of America and other financial institutions plan on introducing a service similar to that offered by Ripple to provide instantaneous cross-border currency transactions.

Blockchain-Powered Supply Chain

Due to blockchain technology’s ability to increase traceability with a high trust level, industries that rely heavily on logistics are also jumping at the opportunity to integrate blockchain into their supply chains. One notable example is IBM’s Food Trust, a food-tracking blockchain powered network that lets corporations trace food items at any point in the supply chain. IBM has gone through extensive testing and is shaping up to be one of the main providers of blockchain technology to key food industry players with the likes of Walmart, Carrefour, Nestle, Dole, and Unilever all joining their program.

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The expectation is that blockchain technology will greatly increase efficiency and improve logistics for suppliers around the world. After suffering e.coli and salmonella outbreaks in its supply chain in recent years, Walmart was quick to partner with IBM to improve its ability to quickly identify and trace outbreaks and reduce customer risk.

The food sector is just one example of a logistics-based industry that is joining the blockchain revolution. The transportation industry is also investing heavily in blockchain technology to improve its operations and cut down on costs. A testament to this commitment is the formation of BiTA, the Blockchain in Transport Alliance. The alliance was created by transportation and supply chain executives “for the development of blockchain standards and education for the freight industry.” Logistics giant FedEx recently joined BiTA in an effort to integrate blockchain technology into its daily operations.

In a Bloomberg report, Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith was adamant that investing in blockchain technology is a crucial step forward to improving services. “We’re quite condiment that it has big, big implications in supply chain, transportation and logistics,” he said when asked about the implications of blockchain technology.

Through blockchain integration, FedEx plans on creating a permanent ledger to resolve disputes between customers sending and receiving goods, store records on the blockchain, and allow customers to more efficiently track packages even when they are not in FedEx’s possession.

A Race Against Time

Blockchain technology is also disrupting the mobile industry with Huawei and Softbank (one of the worlds biggest investment companies) taking center stage. Huawei plans to use blockchain technology to reduce fraud and recently unveiled a hyperledger-powered blockchain service platform that allows clients to build smart contract applications. Softbank is developing a new blockchain protocol designed to replace the SMS text messaging system. It promises to feature an integrated way to send multimedia content directly via carrier networks rather than on mobile apps and allow P2P mobile payments amongst users.

The corporate world’s endorsement of blockchain technology has changed the way businesses operate and and major corporations are in a race against time to stay ahead of the pack.

Ophir Gertner is the Co-Founder of Smartologic Technologies, a blockchain advisory firm.

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