How companies are increasingly using blockchain technology
Blockchain has been around for a few years. During that time, it’s gone from being a new, somewhat nebulous technology understood and appreciated by a relative few to a tool that many companies of all sizes—including an ever-increasing number of the world’s biggest ones—and even several nations are now adopting.
By all accounts, the possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to how this technology, once considered mainly as an alternative way to conduct transactions online, can be used to improve the efficiency and transparency related to a number of business functions.
Veteran blockchain executives like Vancouver’s Kevin Hobbs have seen this coming for years. A longtime business leader, he’s publicly stated his belief that blockchain will change how business is conducted and make highly positive contributions to society in general.
He’s not alone in his beliefs.
Many others agree that the technology, which is still in a sort of experimental phase, will eventually go mainstream. Some industries in fact, are already on board.
“For financial services, blockchain activity began a few years ago and has been advancing through closely managed PoCs, pilots, and tests,” writes Ashley Lannquist, blockchain project lead at the World Economic Forum.
“Santander, RBC, JP Morgan, Citibank, BNY Mellon, American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Goldman Sachs among others are all conducting multiple blockchain-related efforts and have internal working groups or dedicated professionals focusing on blockchain technology.”
It’s not only the financial industry.
Car manufacturers are also experimenting with blockchain technology as a means to paying for parking tickets and highway tolls. This approach is part of a larger initiative run by a nonprofit consortium (which Lannquist co-founded) established in 2017 called the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, or MOBI for short. The consortium wants to make mobility safer, greener, cheaper and more accessible.”
“MOBI’s first project set out to create a Vehicle Identity Standard (VID)—essentially a blockchain-based passport for each vehicle that comprises a digital ledger of its history,” wrote Ben Griffin. “Unlike paper vehicle ID documents, a blockchain-based one can’t be lost, left incomplete or fabricated. A potential benefit is that when buying a used car, the customer can make a more educated guess on whether it is worth the asking price and if it’s likely to go wrong.”
Some believe that blockchain has the potential to change air travel, too. It’s no secret that major travel service aggregators like Expedia and Priceline are among the dominant players in the airfare booking market, but both travelers and airlines are subject to sizable fees and surcharges at a serious cost to both travelers and airlines.
Tech writer Joe Liebkind notes that Winding Tree, a blockchain-based startup, is looking to change this situation.
“With its LÍF token,” writes Liebkind, “Winding Tree seeks to connect travelers directly with service providers like airlines, hotels, and tour guides, minimizing associated fees for travelers all while reducing costs for service providers. The company’s clever use of smart contracts and the ERC827 protocol delivers better savings for all travel industry stakeholders while its nonprofit status assures there are no middlemen adding unnecessary fees to the booking process.”
Pretty much everyone who’s active in the blockchain industry is predicting positive change in the months and years ahead. Others are exploring how many industries will likely function more efficiently and effectively once the technology is in place. To quote the titles of two classic songs, only time will tell, and the future looks bright.