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What's happening in blockchain - July 2017

mikeshaw747

The trust machine

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21677198-technology-behind-bitcoin-could-transform-how-economy-works-trust-machine

A wonderful article from The Economist on what blockchain is - a trust machine between two parties that don't (and shouldn't) trust each other.  Land registries, for example. 


The promise of blockchain for the insurance industry

http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/the-promise-of-blockchain

Blockchain has huge potential to enhance insurers' business models, but is also being used by digital start-ups to attack it. Hence the imperative for incumbent insurance providers to look into the technology.  

blockchain-car-crash.png

For example, blockchain can be used to hold and reuse KYC (know your customer) check information required by regulators to prevent money laundering.

Or, blockchain can be used to create smart insurance contracts for travel cancellations or delays.


Can blockchain create a world without middlemen?

https://hbr.org/2017/03/the-promise-of-blockchain-is-a-world-without-middlemen

The blockchain threatens to take out the middlemen, when those middlemen are used to build mutual trust between two parties.

Cutting out middlemen decreases costs, decreases transaction "friction" and increases transaction speed. Supply chains often contain a number of middlemen.

The number of partners in a supply chain is often limited by the cost and friction of middlemen and thus, blockchain may be able to create a more open market for supplychain partners because linking a new partner to your supplychain would be inexpensive and frictionless.


How blockchain could help emerging markets leap ahead

https://hbr.org/2017/05/how-blockchain-could-help-emerging-markets-leap-ahead

Much has been made of the potential for blockchain technologies to open up new vistas for business and society. HBR argues that blockchain has the potential to help developing nations leapfrog more-developed economies. We have already seem something similar with the adoption of 3G networks in countries like Kenya and South Africa - they didn't have landlines, but they skipped that technological step and went straight to mobile.  Another example is the adoption of quality control techniques and just-in-time manufacturing in Japan after the second world war. 

This article lists a few examples of nascent uses of blockchain. For example the Dubai Blockchain Strategy envisions moving all government documents onto blockchain. Another example is the use of blockchain in "the internet of agreements" where trade agreements are encoded and enforced using blockchain. 

blockchain-happenings.png


Using blockchain to sell songs, digital music and 3D printer designs

https://hbr.org/2016/05/the-impact-of-the-blockchain-goes-beyond-financial-services

How blockchain could be used to sell music from artists directly, sell digital art directly or sell designs for 3D printers directly. Blockchain could be used any time anything of value needs to be exchanged between two parties that don't have a trust relationship.

For example, a company now allows artists to build contracts into their songs. This then allows artists to sell directly to consumers without going thru a label. This idea can, of course, be applied to any artists' work - digital art, films or designs for 3D printed objects. 

This article talks about these examples in more detail and goes on to present a future where collaboration between individuals or groups could be enabled by blockchain. 


From fine wine to lotteries: blockchain tech takes off

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35890616

This article lists other ways in which blockchain can and is being used by a plethora of blockchain-based startups.

For example, your health details could be held in blockchain and you could authorize their use by a healthcare professional, or your personal coach, but not your insurance company.  

Another example is fine wines. The history of a bottle of wine from IoT sensors could be recorded and accessed thru blockchain so that a potential purchaser could be sure of the wine's "lineage". 

blockchain-finewine.png


What blockchain means for the sharing economy

https://hbr.org/2017/03/what-blockchain-means-for-the-sharing-economy 

This article looks at how blockchain can be used to create social sharing networks without central control.

It looks at companies that provide a similar service to Facebook, but without any central platform. Micro payments are made to post messages, but contributors earn back micro payments as their contributions spread across the network. 

Or, marketplaces like eBay have been created without a central authority, with transactions going thru blockchain. 

Or, a car pooling system has been created but with no Uber or Lyft in the middle. Again this system uses blockchain to mediate transactions. 

The article warns against letting "the giants" take control of blockchain, thus getting rid of the promise of the technology to give us communities without "the giants" acting as controllers.

blockchain-caffenero.png


Blockchain will transform customer loyalty programs

https://hbr.org/2017/03/blockchain-will-transform-customer-loyalty-programs

Loyalty programs have proliferated across travel, retail, financial services, and other economic sectors. The average U.S. household participates in twenty nine such programs.

For consumers juggling an array of loyalty programs, blockchain could provide instant redemption and exchange for multiple loyalty point currencies on a single platform. With only one “wallet” for points, consumers would not have to hunt for each program’s options, limitations, and redemption rules.

Of course, the larger loyalty programs may opt to go it alone. However, blockchain will allow groups of smaller players to band together to compete. 


Mike Shaw
Director Strategic Marketing
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

twitter.gif @mike_j_shaw
linkedin.gif Mike Shaw

Mike Shaw
Director Strategic Marketing

twitter.gif@mike_j_shaw
linkedin.gifMike Shaw

  • Digital_Technlogy
About the Author

mikeshaw747

Mike has been with HPE for 30 years. Half of that time was in research and development, mainly as an architect. The other 15 years has been spent in product management, product marketing, and now, strategic marketing. .

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