Blockchain could change business the way the Internet did, says the RTP-based exec leading Big Blue’s cryptocurrency efforts.
Blockchain, the distributed database that keeps records free from tampering or revision, is at where the Internet was in 1993 and ripe for new uses, IBM’s BlockchaIn, Offering Director John Wolpert, told the CED Tech Venture Conference Tuesday.
Described is by IBM as “a technology for a new generation of transactional applications that establishes trust, accountability and transparency while streamlining business processes made famous by bitcoin, but with uses that go far beyond that digital currency.”
Wolpert, who recently moved to the Triangle from San Francisco, said Blockchain reduces the energy needed to forge intra-company relationships “for almost anything.” It can, he said, reduce the cost and complexity of cross-business processes. In it, anything of value can be tracked and traded without needing a central control point.
“In Blockchain, everyone has control, but no one is in control – your peer is an equal participant in the network,” said Wolpert.
It also means “fewer disputes and faster settlements.” It lets company’s settle invoice disputes in a quarter of the time otherwise required, 10 days instead of 40 on average, for instance.
(Watch a video primer at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0P7NM7d-ps )
A recent report from Juniper Research pointed out how quickly cryptocurrency is growing.
“The emergence of Bitcoin and an array of alternative cryptocurrencies (‘altcoins’) has been a true phenomenon of the past 7 years or so,” Juniper said.
“In that time, billions of dollars’ worth of these currencies has been traded on the dedicated exchanges that have sprung up to support them, while a number of merchants now support bitcoin as a payment option.”
Nearly $300 million was invested in bitcoin startups in the first half of 2016 alone, Juniper added.
How it works
Essentially, Blockchain lets company’s share a ledger across the network, which only authorized parties can join.
IBM’s Blockchain website (http://www.ibm.com/blockchain/what_is_blockchain.html) explains, “A blockchain has two main concepts. A business network, in which members exchange items of value through a ledger, which each member possesses and whose content is always in sync with the others.”
IBM is already working with “a bunch of companies,” Wolpert said.
Blockchain is a technology for a new generation of transactional applications that establishes trust, accountability and transparency while streamlining business processes. It is a design pattern made famous by bitcoin, but its uses go far beyond. With it, we can re-imagine the world’s most fundamental business interactions and open the door to invent new styles of digital interactions. It has the potential to vastly reduce the cost and complexity of cross-enterprise business processes. The distributed ledger makes it easier to create cost-efficient business networks where virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded—without requiring a central point of control.
The application of this emerging technology is showing great promise across a broad range of business applications.
For example, blockchain allows securities to be settled in minutes instead of days. It can also be used to help companies manage the flow of goods and related payments, or enable manufacturers to share production logs with OEMs and regulators to reduce product recalls.